If I was asked to describe Pixar films in one word, that word would be infallible. Starting with the revolutionary “Toy Story”, Pixar has taken animated films to places that even Walt Disney couldn’t have ever imagined. This is accomplished through the perfection of Disney’s biggest rule: putting the story first.
While this sounds simple, most animated films drop the ball and decide to cater to kids rather than everyone in the family. Pixar, on the other hand, chooses to tell stories that are not only easy for kids to understand but that tackle mature themes and enable adults to connect to their inner child. In the case of their tenth feature “Up”, this concept is taken to new heights (I swear no pun intended).
“Up” starts off with a young Carl Frederickson watching a newsreel featuring his idol, explorer Charles Muntz. Muntz is world famous and beloved until a skeleton of a bird he found in Paradise Falls, Venezuela is thought to be false and Muntz is considered a fraud.
He vows to go back to Paradise Falls and not return until he captures the live bird. On the way home from the theater Carl meets Ellie, who like him adores Muntz and they both plan to one day follow him to Paradise Falls. Their friendship turns into love and we see their life together told through a very emotional montage that is deeper than 99.99% of live action romances on screen. Carl and Ellie never made it to Paradise Falls due to different circumstances in everyday life and eventually Carl is alone.
Carl, now seventy and voiced with curmudgeonly perfection by Ed Asner (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “Elf”), is retired from his job of selling balloons and fights with everything from arthritis to the developers trying to take his home. After an altercation with a developer, Carl is forced to leave and go off to a retirement center. Carl does not take this lying down and decides to just take his house with him using all of his left over balloons.
But Carl is not alone. Junior Wilderness Explorer Russell is a stowaway who inadvertently comes along for the ride. Russell is trying to earn his last merit badge for assisting the elderly which a reluctant Carl allows him to do. They make it to Paradise Falls and then we’re treated to some incredible visuals and amazing action sequences.
Once they’re at the falls they experience several adventures that include talking dogs (who basically steal the movie) a bird that could have come straight out of a Dr. Seuss story, and an encounter with a very bitter Charles Muntz.
I highly recommend this film because it will make both kids and parents laugh, and at times, cry.
“Up” will no doubt cruise to a Best Animated Feature Oscar and will be at least nominated for many more (it opened the Cannes film festival and you know those people are tough).
I also recommend seeing this movie in 3D if you can; it’s a lot of fun. And of course with all Pixar films the audience is treated to a great animated short.
If you’re not into this kind of film may I suggest you go see “Drag Me To Hell” from the director of such classics as “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness” as well as the Spider Man movies.
Thanks as always for reading and stay tuned for next time as I party in Vegas and wake up with “The Hangover”.
Remember you can check out these wonderful films at Edwards Cinema.