Saturday, May 30, 2009
Movie Reviews: UP
Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. From the Academy Award®-nominated director Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.), Disney•Pixar’s “Up” invites you on a hilarious journey into a lost world, with the least likely duo on Earth. “Up” will be presented in Disney Digital 3-D in select theaters.
Cast: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson, Jordan Nagai, Delroy Lindo
Director: Pete Docter
Opened May 29, 2009
Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min.
Rated PG for some peril and action
Genres: Family-Oriented Adventure, Children's/Family
I can’t think of a studio that has a better and more impressive track record than the creative dynamo that is Pixar. Ourside of Cars, their weakest entry, each of their films have been excellent or just plain spectacular. Last year’s Wall-E was a marvel and an accomplishment that would make pretty much anything any thing else look very ordinary, even from Pixar. Up more than maintains those high standards and it also shows Pixar’s continued ability to tell incredibly heartfelt and emotional stories in an animated setting. With the opening of the film director Pete Docter takes us delicately through the main character’s life long love story and that handles weighty issues such as the couple’s inability to have children to the wife’s eventual death. The montage is told only with images and music but it’s done with such style and effectiveness that it’ll probably be the images you remember much later down the road. Once we are introduced to Carl Fredricksen, voiced excellently by Ed Asner, we feel the character’s loss and his loneliness. Asner does a wonderful job of conveying sincerity in his words in a way that it’s nearly impossible to not connect with Carl. Newcomer Jordan Nagai voices Carl’s stowaway 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell and does a wonderful job giving his bulbous shaped character an excellent sense of childlike innocence and naivety. Anser and Nagai work well off each other and their characters are perfect foils for each other; Russell is dealing with a similar sense of loss. Christopher Plummer rounds out the voice cast as the great South American explorer and adventurer Charles F. Muntz who inspired Carl and his wife Ellie as children. Muntz’s character is limited to the third more action oriented act but Plummer does a wonder job of giving Muntz a crazy Ahab sensibility. Pete Docter’s direction is well handled and the movie flows lyrically from scene to scene. The visuals are beautifully realized and are a real treat for the eyes especially if you see this in 3-D. The character design is sufficiently distinctive but you can’t help but feel like they borrowed some ideas from The Incredibles. Scripting is solid and the jokes and slapstick are fun if at times a tad predicable. Up really is another step forward for Pixar and their ability to tell a well grounded emotional story in fanciful setting in an enjoyable manner is simply unmatched.