Up (2009): United States – directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Rated PG by the MPAA – contains a little cartoonish violence and some exciting/scary themes
The first ten minutes alone will probably make you cry. This prologue is by itself absolutely amazing, and in fact a little better than the rest of the movie. It does lend quite a bit to the main character, though, and creates a greater emotional impact later on. I almost cried a couple times.
But then there’s all the laughing, too. It has possibly more laughs than any other Pixar movie. Some of the jokes, I felt, were a bit more along the Dreamworks line of animation, by which I mean rather juvenile. However, despite some shifts in tone, the film stays together quite well. And I really did laugh an awful lot; it was quite an enjoyable experience.
With the story Pixar probably took another risk. That’s what their critics said when they did a movie about a rat who cooks and a robot who doesn’t talk. Here we have a curmudgeonly old man who attaches balloons to his house in order to adventure down to South America. You see, he and his wife had always longed to go adventuring since they were small children idolizing Charles Muntz.
Muntz claimed to have discovered a lost world in South America, a plateau containing weird creatures (direct homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World). Anyway, along for the balloon ride is a small kid, Russell, who’s just a Wilderness Adventurer trying to get his last badge by assisting the elderly. At first Carl (the old man) isn’t particularly pleased with the idea, but eventually he changes his mind and begrudgingly befriends the boy.
The story contains some slightly odd elements, such as talking dogs (though it’s explained as a special collar they wear), a giant bird that likes chocolate, and a crazy evil old man. Some of the elements don’t mesh as well as they might have, but like I mentioned above, the emotional elements are superb and there are lots of laughs.
I’ve been pretty harsh on it in some respects, but that’s only because it’s Pixar. It’s a very good movie, and I’d probably place it in the middle of Pixar’s pantheon of films, maybe slightly above the middle. It’s not the masterpiece that Wall-E was, but how could they possibly follow that up with something just as great?
In any case, everyone should see it. It’s got some more mature and adult themes than most of Pixar’s films, and actually has a little bit of blood that’s red. It is, once again, a little different than most films, and even a little different from other Pixar films, but it is also, as usual, a winner.