Pixar Scores another Winner with Up
IN SHORT: WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE THIS MOVIE? If you can handle seeing a kids movie, then go buy a ticket right now!
After a series of summer disappointments (mainly Wolverine and Terminator Salvation), we finally have a movie that people will thoroughly enjoy. Pixar has an almost flawless track record, ever since they burst onto the scene with Toy Story; they have been the top animation studio with amazing movies like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and last years Wall-E. Up is not Pixar’s best, but mediocre work for Pixar is still better than most other family movies out there. Up is carried by its very loveable characters, stunning animation, and surprisingly deep, touching themes about losing a loved one, childhood dreams, and adventure.
The movie starts with our protagonist Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) as a child who is infatuated with the adventures of his hero, the explorer Charles Muntz. He soon meets a girl, Ellie, who loves adventure just as much as him, and as time fast forwards Carl and Ellie get married. Their lives are played out for us in a beautiful montage, until it comes to an end with Ellie’s death and Carl becoming a grumpy old man. Carl struggles with moving on and soon decides to set out for Paradise Falls, which his hero Muntz discovered, and was also the dream of both him and Ellie to go explore together. By tying millions of balloons to his house to fly away, Carl’s adventure begins, and he soon discovers a stowaway by the name of Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai), an 8 year old junior wilderness explorer whom Carl finds extremely annoying. Thus they begin a magical journey to the tropical Paradise Falls, full of giant birds, talking dogs, and of course adventure.
The general plot of Up is surprisingly simple, but Directors Pete Doctor (Monsters Inc.) and Bob Peterson create such wonderful characters that are able to carry the movie, despite the simplicity. This movie feels a lot like Wall-E, they both are about characters that we can connect with immediately, and have a surprisingly mature theme throughout, Wall-E’s was Love, and Up deals with moving on after losing a loved one. Up surprisingly doesn’t feel like a comedy. It definitely has its fair share of funny moments (especially the talking dogs), but it is driven by its characters instead of jokes, which gives the movie a lot more value by not relying on cheap gags. The world of Up is animated in a magnificent fashion, with vivid colors and extraordinary detail in every shot.
This movie, however, is not perfect. The story is a little weak. Paradise Falls has an air of mystery around it throughout the movie, but the mystery was never explored, and combined with the lack of depth for the villain, we are left with a slight feeling of unfulfilled potential. Another possible weakness is the movies maturity, which may alienate the younger kids, but it does have its fair share of laughs and action sequences to satisfy them. Also, I saw this movie in 3D, and it did enhance some scenes and draw the more into the scenery, but I am sure it would be just as good in 2D as 3D.
Overall Up is another triumph for Pixar. The loveable characters and amazing animations more than make up for the shallow story. While not as good as last year’s Wall-E, Up is a creative and fun adventure that is definitely worth seeing, and the best movie of the year so far.