Up, Pixar’s 10th animated outing to date, stars Carl, an elderly gentleman voiced perfectly by Ed Asner. Now that Carl has gotten up in years, he decides that he should undergo one last great adventure- the one he’s always dreamed of but never ventured on. So he rigs up his house with balloons and sails away unaware that Russell, a local boy-scout-esque character, has joined him for the ride.
Within the first four minutes of Up, there’s no question you will be emotionally invested. Pixar always does such a good job of enabling its audiences to feel and empathize with its characters, and this is no exception. By the time Carl’s montage showcasing his life has concluded and you are brought up to speed, you will understand his every action and be rooting for him for the remainder of the movie.
As usual, it should come no surprise that the visuals are gorgeous, the dialogue is exceptionally solid and the humor is top notch. You will laugh out loud at the jokes, and fall in love with the exotic creatures and characters. I love that Pixar tries out a completely new creative direction with every film, and Up continues this streak beautifully. Also, Michael Giacchino’s score is lovely as he uses the waltz themes to set the mood.
There is an issue though that I must address about the film, and this is something directed at parents. I don’t have kids yet, but when viewing these films I do try to think about how my nieces and nephews would respond to them. To be blunt, I found the antagonists of Up a little unsettling. If I were to describe the action to you in words, I think many might contend that there have been far worse situations presented in previous animated films. For some reason however watching the suspenseful sequences of Up surprised me with their intensity.
With this in mind, I do want to point out that Up is in fact rated PG, and considering that most Pixar are films are G, parents might want to note this before bringing the wee little ones along for the ride.
When I saw Wall-E a year ago, I walked out unimpressed. The day after I watched Up, I watched Wall-E for a second time since that initial viewing and I found I loved it. I relay this in my review for Up because looking back, I think the reason I had a negative reaction to Wall-E originally was because it surprised me and threw me off guard. It just wasn’t what I was expecting and so my initial feeling wasn’t positive. There’s a definite chance that the same thing is happening with Up- that is, what I disliked about the film (the “scary” parts) were simply unanticipated.
So in trying to keep that in mind, I do strongly recommend Up. I think the heart, emotion, stunning animation and message do outweigh everything else, and it should be viewed on the big screen for (almost) all ages.
Final Grade: A
By Christopher Troilo
Originally Posted 5.28.2009
I completely agree with you about bringing small children to this because they are likely to ask some questions during the film. Better to watch it on DVD without the kids (and you will enjoy it). At another time watch it with them so that you will be prepared for any questions that might come up.
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