Thursday, July 21, 2011

Up (2009)

An Ultimate Pixar Film

- Disney/Pixar has been the most consistent film institution when it comes to making entertaining films. Sure, they slipped a bit with Cars (2006) and Ratatouille (2007), but they shot right back to the top with WALL-E (2008) and here again with Up in 2009.

May the Up puns commence: Disney/Pixar continues to "Up"grade! Up is "Up"roarus entertainment! A s"UP"er film! Up is an "Up"per cut of an adventure! This Disney/Pixar film "Up"stages the summer blockbuster competition! Up is "Up" there with the best from Disney/Pixar!

All shtick but all true - Up is one of the finest motion pictures from Disney/Pixar since their 1995 feature film debut.

The Disney/Pixar films have delivered some out-of-this-world imaginative main characters in the past: Toy Story (1995) is about toys that are alive, Monsters Inc. (2001) stars two of the most lovable monsters ever, Cars features talking cars - every main character in a Disney/Pixar film has been a character out of human fantasy. The situation is different in Up however, this film is about one Carl Fredricksen, a seemingly average slightly-cantankerous retired elderly man, and an enthusiastic Boy Scout Russell.

Carl's retirement could be going smoother however, he is a widower and the trees and fields that once surrounded his home have been replaced with shops and skyscrapers. Since the passing of his wife, Ellie, Carl feels a massive hole in his life - Ellie wanted so much to travel to Paradise Falls in South America, just like her and Carl's childhood hero Charles Muntz, and for years had a scrapbook she was eager to fill with photos of her journeys there. Carl decides that he is going to fill that hole and get away from it all by attaching thousands of helium balloons to his house and take off to Paradise Falls to fulfill Ellie's dream (and most 80-year-olds just want to sky-dive for a thrill!). The trip takes many unexpected turns however as Carl finds the over-eager Boy Scout Russell stowed away on his front porch and the two of them bump into storms, talking dogs, and a creature they can only call a "snipe" as they travel to and through Paradise Falls.

Up is a wonderful animated adventure. Carl and Russell bond, have fun, get into danger, and enter into other such entertaining escapades! While the film does include excitement, humor, and adventure, one thing I did not expect the film to carry was its powerful emotional component. Up is probably the most moving Disney/Pixar film because while there is adventure and fun, the film is primarily about Carl's love for his wife and this part of the story pulls out the tears out of the audience like a magician pulls a series of tied-together handkerchiefs out of his sleeve. When my wife and I saw the film for the first time, she cried so much that the only tissue that she had with her was sopping wet and destroyed beyond all recognition by the end of the movie. But the tears that the audience cries are good tears, coming because we relate to Carl's undying love for his wife, and show how much of an effective and powerful film Up is.

CBC Rating: 9/10

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