29
May
2009
Review: Up
Review: Up
Sam
Pixar just doesn't care. It does not give one shit. This new movie UP was just the biggest middle finger they could give to every Disney marketing executive. So here's the pitch, an old man named Carl Fredrickson (Ed Asner) goes on a balloon adventure with a boy scout named Russell (Jordan Nagai) who accidentally joined him on his journey to South America to fulfill his late wife's wish of having a house there. Oh yeah the movie starts with maybe the most devastatingly sad (but beautiful) sequence of an entire life in a Disney movie (I cried, like tears cried. Deal with it.).

After being told he had to leave his house which he built with his late wife, Carl decides to embark on this adventure by floating away by attaching hundreds and hundreds of balloons. Carl is a balloon salesman so that's how he got that many balloons. OK? Carl discovers Russell was on his porch so he comes along for the ride. What started Carl and his wife Ellie's obsession with going to South America was the adventurer Charles Muntz who is introduced at the beginning of the film in a well made sequence of a newsreel in the 30's. Carl and Russell go on a wild adventure and meet some really great characters in Dug the talking dog (well, his collar talks) and Kevin who happens to be an extremely rare bird. Both Dug and Kevin are played for laughs and they both succeed. Of course things aren't easy for the crew to get to the special spot called Paradise Falls. Turns out Kevin is being hunted. Hmmm.

I know the plot doesn't sound like much but I don't want to give too much away because I know the millions of people who read this blog would be oh so upset. But it actually works very well and is not as thin as it seems.

When judging a movie I try to keep it simple separating what I liked and what I didn't like. Honestly, I can't think of anything I didn't like. Director Peter Docter did a magnificent job at making me care for these characters. Who knew an old man could carry a Disney movie? But the film packed so much of an emotional punch it was almost shocking. Thinking about this, I realized this isn't Disney, this is Pixar. Disney is the company that made Bolt and will be releasing the not anticipated at all adaptation of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Pixar made Toy Story and Wall-E. Before the film started I saw a preview for another Disney movie called G-Force. It's a collaboration between Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer. It's about guinea pigs who are also spies. Genius! There was also a preview for the new Ice Age movie where they meet dinosaurs. Anachronism! So then I saw UP and was actually moved to tears in the first 10 minutes. Is there anyone else making these movies?

The animation in this film really shows how Pixar is the dominant force in more than just storytelling but in artistic merit. I always look for what Pixar is working on and improving in each movie. In this movie the small details like how balloons floated in air and how dogs walked and ran were brilliant and just showed how they're a step above everyone else. The storytelling is also incredibly well done, using flashback to start the movie which really ties many of the things in the film together. Amazingly, Pixar was able to make a movie that kids could enjoy that was about growing old.

Confirmation of what I already knew was given to me by people around me in the theatre. A couple of adults behind me (no children with them) were laughing throughout the movie. One of the six little kids in front of me gave her review of the movie as soon as the credits rolled saying, "This was the best, longest movie ever!" And some good for nothin' teenager, likely early high school age, said, "This was so sad. Disney movies aren't supposed to be this sad!" He was right. Thank god Pixar doesn't give a shit.

A

Note: Another great thing about Pixar are the shorts before the movies. For UP it started with a short called Partly Cloudy, which was cute and funny. Basically every Pixar short ever.
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