The best picture of 2009 wasn't a movie about giant blue aliens with a plot stolen from DANCES WITH WOLVES. Nor was the best picture of 2009 a low-budget film about a military bomb squad in Iraq. Both of these movies are good movies. However, neither can compare to the elegance, beauty, and simplicity of UP.
Though there are other characters in the movie, UP is the story of Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner). The first fifteen minutes of the film touchingly tells the story of Carl's life. He grew up wanting to experience adventure, married the girl of his dreams, and together they lived a very happy-though sometimes bittersweet-life. By the time the opening sequence has concluded, we already have an appreciation for Carl and a longing to have known even more about his deceased wife, Ellie.
Carl is old, but he's also determined. Skyscrapers and strip malls surround the old house that he and Ellie so painstakingly restored and though the land developer has offered to pay Mr. Fredricksen handsomely for his home and property, he refuses to sell. However, in the end, through a careless act on Carl's part and a huge wrangling of the judicial system by the developer, Carl is forced to sell his property and ordered to move. But, good old Carl is stubborn and sets about turning his entire home into a giant airship through the use of thousands of helium-filled balloons. When the men from the retirement home come to take him away, Carl leaves them behind as he flies up, up, and away.
Carl thinks he's alone as he begins his journey to see Paradise Falls in South America, the dream destination he and Ellie always wanted to go. However, there's a stowaway aboard on the front porch, a Wilderness Scout named Russell (Jordan Nagai) that Carl thought he had gotten rid of by sending on a snipe hunt. Carl reluctantly agrees to take Russell with him, but on the condition that Russell will go home once they reach Paradise Falls. But the journey to paradise is filled with all kinds of strange and even dangerous adventures: terrifying heights, thick vegetation, talking dogs, rare endangered birds, and an ancient explorer bent on capturing his prey no matter what the cost.
Unlike 2008's WALL-E, UP doesn't have an agenda. Instead, it's a story about one man's redemption. Carl is a good man who lived a good life, but the death of his beloved Ellie not only turned him crotchety, but caused him to lose his way. It takes the unbridled honesty and passion of a child to get Carl back on track and face what he could become, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). Of course, if that's not enough for you, UP also features all kinds of comedy for all ages. Kids will love Dug and the rest of the talking dogs. Adults will appreciate the zingy one-liners Carl delivers. There are also all kinds of allusions throughout the movie (e.g. the dogs in the airplanes repeat lines taken directly from STAR WARS).
UP has great characters, moving story, and witty dialog. Simply stated, it's the best movie of 2009.
The regular DVD includes the shorts "Partly Cloudy" and "Dug's Special Mission". "Partly Cloudy" features a stork sent to deliver dangerous baby critters. The stork longs to have a regular delivery like the other storks, but in the end realizes just how important his job is. As a side note, in watching UP you can catch a glimpse of a few of the clouds from "Partly Cloudy". "Dug's Special Mission" illustrates what happens to Dug immediately preceding his discovering of Carl and Russell in the Jungle.
Up has certainly reached new heights and depths in the cartoon industry. As a film, it is colorful (remember those balloons?) and full of potentials and possibilities (a flying house, eh? not bad at all!). My first impression when I began watching the animation of the two main characters Russel & Carl is that hey, they both looked rounded and 3 dimensional. I like the rounded feel to the faces of these characters, very likable, very real, very cute! I have the urge … more
Once again, Pixar has succeeded in creating a film that is intended for the parents as much as for the kids. UP joins a long list of Pixar movies that adults enjoy just as much as children. Don't get me wrong. The kids will definitely love this movie. It has: talking dogs colorful balloons the most exotic bird since archeopteryx But there is so much for the parents in this one. The opening vignette is a tale of love, life, and … more
Over the years, PIXAR movies have excelled in sprinkling in moments of deep emotion within all the inventive fun. I remember particularly well the sadness when Jessie the Cowgirl sings about her long lost owner in TOY STORY 2 or the final moment of MONSTERS INC. when Scully sees Boo again (the one moment makes watching the whole movie worthwhile...not that it wasn't already). WALL E certainly had many touching moments. But Pixar's new UP has them all beat. There are some … more
All of us have acquired a fondness for CGI-generated animated features ever since the days of “Toy Story” and Pixar studios together with Disney have crafted several amusing animated movies based on a simple yet effective crowd-pleasing formula. While I am not exactly a huge fan of the Pixar’s works, I have found some of their animated features quite impressive such as “Monsters Inc.”, “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”. So how does Pixar’s … more
Carl Fredrickson (Edward Asner) is an adventurous, young boy, who meets a girl named Ellie who shares his same passion. Once they are older they fall in love, and get married. They had once planned to travel to a lost land in South America; however, when Ellie dies Carl becomes a grouchy old man with a hard heart. He is being forced to stay in a retirement home for hitting a construction worker, so he comes up with the plan of tying hundreds of balloons to his house and flying away to the lost … more
Up is similar to most Disney/Pixar films in that it is enjoyable for people of all ages. It has humor, but it also explores themes such as love and loss, parental neglect, the pursuit (and letting go) of childhood dreams, and even inferiority and the bullying that can take place within a group (as portrayed by Dug, a dog who is seen as one of the lower-ranking members of his pack). While several Disney/Pixar films contain more mature themes (Finding Nemo demonstrates the … more
It's been a long time coming for us Brits, but Up is finally here, and I'm glad to say it's been worth the wait. With every new film they release, Pixar somehow manage to add more and more depth, not just to their visuals, but to their stories too. Now less concerned with zany characters, elaborate action set-pieces, saccharine sweet moments and over-cooked visual bravura, Up is perhaps the studio's most human, most poignant, character driven movie to date. Such is the brilliance … more
Awesome beginning and loses its gas after the halfway point. The film had a very strong emotional first half but then it falls to the usual contrived devices that we've all seen before. It had some nice elements to it (seniors fighting) but the plot was riddled with holes too. 3.5 Out of 5 Stars See the full review here.
Pixar has become the most dependable studio out there for producing reliable films that don't simply continue to raise the bar in animation but set a level of excellence in storytelling that puts most live-action movies to shame. 'Up' represents another change in style, as significant as Wall-E's shift to photorealism, intricate camera effects and darker themes. It effectively blends moments of tragedy with almost slapstick humor, while showing that their understanding of story structure and pacing … more
I'm not a die hard fan of animated movies and I usually like them vs. loving them. But I'd heard great things and had lots of folks recommend it as an awesome movie so I went ahead and rented it. My overall thoughts: I like the idea of an animated film about an adult. The story of the man who went on an adventure in his lawn chair has always intrigued me and I loved his simple philosophical reason for his trip, "You … more
Up is a comedy adventure about Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner), a retired 78-year-old balloon salesman who meets and later marries a girl named Ellie. Growing up in a small Midwestern town, Ellie has always dreamed of visiting South America. Unfortunately, she died before she got a chance. In hopes of fulfilling his promise to Ellie, Carl uses 10,000 balloons to make his house fly and sets off for South America. He unknowingly takes a chubby eight-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell along for the ride and the duo match up for one thrilling adventure around the earth.
The film is directed by Pete Docter (the director of Monsters Inc.) and features voices of Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer and Jorgan Nagai. Up premiered by opening the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, which was the first animated film to do so. The film has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and grossed over $683 million worldwide, making it Pixar's second most commercially successful film, after Finding Nemo.