Wednesday, June 10, 2009


What's up with UP?

Well, the corner of your mouths for one. This is a movie that does a few things like make you laugh, tug on your heart strings, satisfy your eyes all while teaching you the lesson to sit back, slow down and enjoy what you have in life.
Often original stories like this just don't stand up to live action pictures. Instead they can only be realized effectively in this very open venue of animation and CGI. Its not that these Pixar creators can ignore acting, directing, casting and story, but they are afforded a little poetic licensing in starting with a blank slate and creating a whole world where typical constraints can be ignored or glossed over. What is however unique about this Pixar movie is because of the setting and story line it had to deal with live action challenges. It was set in a real world setting and dealt with the burdens and mysteries of human interactions and all of life's complexities.
I have to tell you when I saw the trailers I wasn't convinced that I was going to like a movie about an old man who escapes his life in a helium propelled house. It kind of sounded to ordinary and not what I've come accustomed to in the Pixar universe. I imagined that who I assumed was the main character would be a hard sell as an interesting lead. I asked myself, how was Pixar going to entertain me with this one, without the crutch of an imaginary world full of creative possibilities, like the sea, toy, bug or monster world. Well I think they accomplished this by initially relating us to the old man by telling a back story that made him a real boy of wonder that was lost in love, imagination and finally loss itself. Then after dealing with that we were thrust into the more comfortabme world of pixar in an adventure to an all-American quest for entertainment, heroism and the escape and human need for closure. And of course, like in life, when you finally get there its a little disappointing and you wonder why you longed so to get there.
So in retrospect, I can turn my initial scepticism around and instead wonder how exactly Up will capture children's attention as opposed to us hardened grown-ups. That's funny, I just called myself a grown-up. I did see this with my 9 and 5 year old, and although I am sure they were mildly entertained, it not like they have been talking up or carrying on about it. Given that I dropped $90 on this experience its a little bit of a downer.
To be fair though, this picture is truly an impressive accomplishment, and the story and supporting characters are interesting, real and likable. While I sat there in the dark of the theatre with my upgrade from goofy 3D glasses I thought that this might be the kind of movie I could just as easily take my parents to. So the selling point on that is that its a really accessible movie. Fun for all.
The visuals as always were amazing, however it saddened me part way through the movie that I was taking this 3D spectacle for advantage. I noticed kids taking there glasses off, as I think the typical literally in your face theatrics of arrows and objects flying off the screen where absent. Like everything else about Up it steered away from these cinematic crutches and stayed true to a real grown up story seen through the venue of animation.


  1. I have very little desire to see this now. I was expecting a humour filled diversionary tale for the kids that adults could enjoy as well, but all I am hearing are parents talking about it in a positive light. I do not wish to watch a movie full of heart tugging anything and I am sure that portion of such will bore my kids to tears. Childhood should be about fun and excitement and wonder, not educating them about loss. That is a bridge that should be crossed as needed, not prepared for at the age of 6.

    All that being said, SQUIRREL, I will end up being forced to see it sooner or later. Methinks rum snuck into the theater will make the girly bits tolerable. ;)

  2. Its got some of that serious adult stuff, but it still delivers some action and comedy (mostly in the second half). I will concede though that as it stands against the other Pixar films it will definitely be seen as the most serious.