Reviews of Up
Displaying all 15 reviews
É fato que nos últimos anos vêm surgindo no mercado diversos estúdios extremamente competentes, com ótimos trabalhos em diversas técnicas de animação. Enquanto a Pixar reinava absoluta com seus clássicos modernos, longas como “Shrek” e “Era do Gelo” chegaram de mansinho e também conquistaram seu merecido espaço.
Mas não adianta. Mais de 10 anos se passaram desde o primeiro longa da Pixar (Toy Story, 1995), e são eles que continuam a nos surpreender. A cada novo projeto, um tema original e uma inovação tecnológica. Foi assim com os brinquedos em “Toy Story”, com os pelos em “Monstros SA”, com o fundo do mar em “Procurando Nemo”, e por aí vai. E, se no ano passado eles pegaram todos de surpresa com a ingenuidade do robozinho Wall-E e todo o espaço sideral, esta foi a vez de jogar os fãs às alturas. E foi exatamente o que eles fizeram!
“Up – Nas Alturas” conta a história de Carl Fredricksen, um simpático senhor que passou a vida toda ao lado de sua esposa Ellie, sonhando em explorar a América do Sul. No (excelente!) prólogo da animação, acompanhamos rapidamente toda a relação entre Carl e Ellie, desde crianças, quando se conhecem, até a morte de Ellie, já bastante idosa. Percebemos também que a “promessa” nunca foi cumprida, e agora Carl vive sua rotina diária solitariamente na mesma casa em que moravam como casal. Porém, prestes a ser enviado à força para um asilo, o senhor Fredricksen faz sua última tentativa de cumprir a promessa que fez à falecida esposa. Para isso, amarra milhares de balões no telhado de sua casa, e parte para a tão sonhada viagem.
E se adotar seres humanos como protagonistas já tinha sido explorado em “Os Incríveis”, Up eleva ainda mais à perfeição e traz o céu como inovação, algo brevemente explorado no ótimo curta “Parcialmente Nublado”, exibido antes da sessão.
Ah… a perfeição! Um capítulo à parte em qualquer projeto que envolva o nome Pixar. Com 10 projetos em quase 15 anos de vida, quase nada se repete, com excessão da continuação Toy Story 2, lançada em 1999. Cada novo projeto traz um tema totalmente inédito e inexplorado pela produção, deixando nós fãs sempre curiosos pela estreia.
Mas tudo bem. Quando eu saí da sessão de “A Era do Gelo 3”, estava hipnotizado pelas maravilhas criadas por Carlos Saldanha. Mas não adianta. Quando se sai da sessão de uma animação com o selo Pixar, o nível é jogado lá para o alto, e te faz relembrar porque eles continuam sendo os melhores. E não é apenas pelos gráficos. As histórias, personagens, gags, tudo funciona perfeitamente para deixar “Up” muito superior até à filmes com atores de carne e osso.
PS: Preciso tirar o chapéu para a dublagem da versão brasileira de Up. Eu nunca gostei de assistir à filmes dublados, e ultimamente só tenho feito por falta de opção. Mas Chico Anysio conseguiu construir um Carl cheio de emoção. Além dele, destaco também a dublagem da Ellie (quando criança), que ficou muito boa.
Não deixem de assistir à mais esta obra-prima da Pixar. E que venham os próximos lançamentos!
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Dizem que para uma música ser boa, ela precisa lhe causar arrepios e fazer brotar lágrimas em seus olhos. Se a mesma “teoria” valer para filme, então Up é um absurdo de bom!
O que pode ser um problema, já que a cada novo filme da Pixar, fica mais difícil estabelecer uma ordem de favoritos do estúdio. Afinal, até hoje não sei dizer se prefiro Procurando Nemo a Os Incríveis; ou se Monstros S.A é melhor que Ratatouille. Simplesmente não consigo – e sofro por isso.
E, acredite, Up tem qualidades suficientes que podem colocá-lo no meu “TOP 5 Pixar”. Algo que percebi logo na sequência inicial do filme, que é uma das coisas mais lindas que o cinema já produziu (aquele que não se emocionar, pode muito bem enfiar uma faca no coração que provavelmente não vai sentir nada). Mas isso são só alguns minutos de uma produção absolutamente maravilhosa, em todos os sentidos.
O primeiro filme do estúdio em 3D não poderia ser outro: como o título entrega, a maior parte de Up acontece nas alturas, o que é um prato cheio para o ganho de profundidade oferecido por aqueles óculos mágicos. Seu visual é arrebatador (luzes, texturas, movimentos: tudo é fantástico) e, diferentemente de A Era do Gelo 3, nada pula da tela gratuitamente. A tecnologia está lá para ajudar a contar uma história.
E que história! Esqueça o excesso de acasos e o fraco vilão: Up é sobre amor eterno, sobre vida e morte, sobre amizade e esperança (por mais piegas que isto soe). E, para mim, o mais fascinante no trabalho da Pixar é a capacidade de seus animadores e roteiristas em desenvolver personagens complexos e interessantes: o boneco que acredita ser patrulheiro espacial (Toy Story); o robô que não fala e mesmo assim expressa sentimentos profundos de amor (Wall-E); o rato com paladar aguçado que sonha em ser chefe de cozinha em Paris (Ratatouille); e agora um senhor rabugento – mas de coração mole – que deseja viajar até a América do Sul sem sair de casa.
Como é gostoso e inspirador ver Carl Fredricksen (velhinho de 78 anos) e Russell (garoto escoteiro) em tela. Assim como Buzz e Woody, aqui, um complementa o outro: Russell é o filho que Carl nunca teve e a relação de amizade entre os dois é belíssima e muito genuína – e é também dela de onde nascem as piadas mais inteligentes de um filme muito engraçado.
Mas, como disse lá em cima, o único ponto “fraco” de Up (se é que existe um) é seu vilão, o qual achei muito desinteressante. No entanto, se pensarmos bem, ele está ali apenas como justificativa para as excelentes cenas de ação. Pois, na realidade, o verdadeiro vilão da história acada sendo a inevitável passagem do tempo e suas consequências.
E, assim como Carl, eu e você também vamos ficar velhos. Só espero que, até chegarmos lá, a Pixar continue nos presenteando, ano após ano, com filmes tão emocionantes como Up – Altas Aventuras.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Directed by the masterful Pete Docter, who previously wrote “Wall-E,” “Toy Story,” and who wrote and directed “Monster’s Inc,” “Up” opens with the meeting of two young children named Carl and Ellie, who both want to be explorers one day. The film then transitions to what is by far the finest sequence Pixar has ever shot, showing us how these two destined souls fall in love and marry, move into their dream house, and experience hope, hardship, tragedy, and death. The opening is startlingly moving and poetic, which is due in large part it being silent, aside from a beautiful and heartbreaking score by Michael Giacchino. It is the most daring and ambitious depiction of marriage and life that I’ve ever seen in an animated movie.
There is a flash forward, and Carl Frederickson (voiced by Ed Asner), who is now a widower, has become a cranky, impatient, and cynical old man. He has been stricken by loss and disappointment to such a great extent that on a good day, he will leave the house only to get as far as his own front porch, where he sits and watches the city he lives in grow and expand without him.
To avoid being put in an old folks home—it’s a retirement community!—he ties hundreds and hundreds of helium balloons to it and sets afloat toward the legendary Paradise Falls, the place where he and Ellie’s beloved hero, explorer Charles Muntz (voiced by Christopher Plummer), went missing decades earlier after finding the bones of a lost creature and being called a fraud. It is Carl and Ellie’s dream to go there, and he sees it through in her memory.
Carl is joined on his journey by a Wilderness Explorer Scout named Russell, who is one of the best child characters I have ever seen because, although he annoys Carl like he is supposed to, he never became tiresome to me. That is a rare thing. The action sequences that follow when Carl reaches his destination are quite entertaining, and there are plenty of laughs to be had throughout the film. Pixar’s films are always very good at tickling the funny bones of both adults and children alike, and this is certainly no exception. There are dogs with faulty voice enhancing collars, a giant colorful bird-creature named Kevin who loves chocolate, and of course Charles Muntz’s beautifully crafted airship. The look of the film is dazzling, particularly the brilliant flock of balloons that carries the house across the sky. The use of color here is sublime.
Time and time again, Pixar has showcased to the world their ever-growing and nearly limitless talents to the world of animated filmmaking. From Toy Story to Finding Nemo, from Monsters Inc. to Wall-E, their craft and skill has expanded and deepened, and their stories have been sealed within a generation. With their newest film Up, I believe that they have once again reached new heights (pun intended).
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
I was not very ecstatic when I heard ‘Up!’ was coming out. I never am ecstatic about Pixar releases; like the Apple technology that powers their animation studios, we know Pixar is always working on something, and that it usually turns out to be a very good product. So, no fears that Pixar might suddenly be doing something other than quality animated films, and you can rest assured that they maintain a consistent release schedule.
This is good news, though, because for all the passive high-expectations we lay upon Pixar, being at the top of the class is not easy. I can cite ‘Ratatouille’ as a “not-so-good” Pixar film, and even then it stands heads and shoulders above the output of other creative firms. There’s always ‘Cars’, too, the nadir in Pixar’s grand-slamming track-record. Yes, Pixar seemingly cannot make schlock, but they don’’t always churn out classics either. So I ask, is it acceptable for a presence like Pixar to put out films which are “good enough”?
The short answer is: yes. Pixar are not only unrivaled in their industry—they pretty much own it (as far as American CG-animation goes). So it is with ‘Up!’, which follows after the sleeper-hit ‘WALL-E’. Stepping back from the arguably epic-scope of space, time, and the preservation of sustainable life of that film, “Up!” ventures back into simple escapism. It’s principal characters are Edward Asner’s grumpy-with-a-heart-of-gold retiree, Carl, and his companion Russell, voiced by Jordan Nagai. There is a subtext about Asian-American (Russell is presumably Asian) representation in animation and something about paternity too, but you’ll have to excuse me while I focus on the main points of the film. Oh, and the house so prominently featured in the adverts is also a character in its own right. Also an exotic, bipedal bird. And a talking dog. Many talking dogs. Right, with that out of the way, onto why this movie works.
Right from the beginning we’re treated to a quietly affecting montage of the younger Carl and his loving wife, with the main theme lumbering from buoyant to whimsy. I have to admit I enjoyed this montage very much. Short, sweet, and grounding the movie in those precious themes of dying-promises kept, etc. Another montage of the now-elderly Carl turned widower as he goes about his daily business, played to Bizet’s ‘Carmen’. Brilliant. Not 10 minutes pass before those wonderful balloons seen in trailers are let loose, reminding viewers that this is a Pixar movie, and that when it comes to high-strung fantasy, they are still Disney’s logical successor to the throne. Up, up and away Carl and Russell go as they’re propelled towards South America, and from there the movie wanes a little but generally stays true to its course.
There really isn’t more to assess: it’s simple, its whimsical, and its a uniformly fun ride. Again, the animation is top-notch: having achieved a wonderful palette despite the dullness of space in ‘WALL-E’, a vibrant Crayola was clearly the inspiration here. The score is nothing much to write home about, but the title-track in “Ellie’s Theme” will be on everyone’s ears long after the credits have rolled. By staying true to conventional adventure-movie tropes, Pixar manage to serve up another proud entry in their continually impressive catalogue.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Exciting and emotionally broad, Up is the finest, truest adventure film since The Goonies. Pixar weilds an incredible power in engineering emotion. Their spirited storytelling gives them total access to the hearts of every audience member. While visually aweing animation is a given, Up’s strongest element is its story. By establishes realistic conflicts and obliterating them with fantasy, Up becomes a colorful and imaginative joy machine. It’s a constant experience of feeling, whether through the exhileration of 78-year-old Fredricksen diving into some straight-up John McClane shit or that quintessential Disney/Pixar adorableness that never misses a beat. And of course it’s loaded with lovable characters backed by great voice talent. Simplistic, hysterical, and mind-blowing, Up is 2009’s must see; certainly Disney’s strongest film in years.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
I genuinely enjoy every Pixar film that has come my way so far. I dug Toy Story, thought Ratatouille was amazing, was blown away by WALL-E and I even liked A Bug’s Life. So after seeing my first preview for this film, I knew that I had to be there, at some point, during the opening weekend. Also, I had to catch it in 3D, as it is Disney’s first 3D animated film.
Regardless, Saturday night rolls around, and I stumble up the steps to a 12:15 showing at night, somewhat regretting my decision for seeing something that will be so spectacular so late. I walk into the theater and throw down the expensive $14.50 for my ticket and pair of glasses, which is ludicrously expensive, but I understand why. However, all my worries of me passing out soon went away when the short film that precedes every Pixar film came on, aptly named Partly Cloudy. It was rather pleasant, and at times made me lolz in my seat, but I was waiting for the big one, the feature length film that depicts a house floating through the sky by a bunch of colorful balloons. Partly Cloudy ended, and soon Up began. Up is directed by Pete Docter, the man responsible for Monsters, Inc., another Pixar film I rather enjoyed.
Up is one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in theaters for a while. It starts off with the back story of the rectangular little man, fabulously voiced by Ed Asner. Everything about this film is pure eye candy to the viewer. Everything from the hundreds of balloons we see floating to the beautiful land of Paradise Falls looks gorgeous, much kudos to Pixar. The film is unbelievably funny, and as lame as the joke may sound, I thought the “Squirrel!” was a riot. We get to meet some cute and cuddly companions along the way, such as a talking dog and a bird who has the best eyeballs I’ve ever seen on a prehistoric rainbow-colored bird. Sure, the main villain reminded me of The Rescuers Down Under a lot, but I know that it wasn’t intentional, so it’s alright. The themes of friendship ring strong and true here, as we see, multiple times, the old man turn away from his beloved mission to help that chubby little boy preserve his moral Wilderness Explorer code. It’s bright, fun and well worth seeing.
That being said, this is also the most intense and depressing Pixar movie ever to come out. Sure, we’ve seen some heavy thematic themes in Pixar films before, but none that really stood out to me like this did. Sure, we have a nice back story of Ed Asner growing up and marrying the love of his life, but we soon find out that she is infertile and eventually passes away, leaving the old man by his lonesome. If that wasn’t bad enough, the neighborhood they grew up in is being torn down for future skyscrapers, and all that stands in the way is this little ol’ man. What really stuck out here is the scene where the construction workers are backing up a truck and accidentally knock into his mailbox, a treasure from the past he painted with his wife. The old man rushes over, and a tug of war ensues, until the construction worker gets bopped in the head by the old man’s cane. Now, in any other children’s movie, the construction worker would fall on his butt and nurse his forehead while cradling back and forth saying OW! The old man wold brush his shoulders and saunter back inside with a smirk on his face. Not here. Here, we see Pixar pushing for realism. The construction worker gets bopped on the head, and the BLEEDS. HE BLEEDS! BLOOD! IN A PIXAR MOVIE?!? Everyone stops what they’re doing and rushes to aid the fallen man, and eventually the police come. They take away the old man, he is charged in court, and it is because of this that he sets his house afloat, to avoid the retirement home cronies who have come to take him away (but seriously blood? Am I the only one who this really stuck out to?). And then there’s the poor Asian boy, who’s life story I’m not too sure of. All I know is that his parents are divorced (?).
Perhaps it’s the thematic material that really gives Up the push from being all bubblegum smiles and colorful parades of balloons and creatures. I still would have enjoyed it i they left it out, but I find it inspiring to see Pixar taking leap after leap, pushing what an animated film can be. Up is predictable, but WHO CARES? No one goes into a Pixar movie and sits there with their legs crossed, caressing their facial hair while remarking how trivial the dialogue is.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Up is undoubtably the best film I’ve seen this year and one of the best films I’ve seen ever. This movie has heart! It sweeps you up into it’s semi realistic world and takes you away for the adventure of your life. Pixar clearly by now knows how to make a phenominal animated film, but Up exceeds anything they’ve done before by ten fold. Within minutes you are fully invested in these characters with one of the most heartfelt and beautifully made montages I’ve ever witnessed. The characters wether crass, overly enthusiastic, or not human are absolutely loveable and adorable. The story is very well done and incredibly well executed. I’ve never before reached out to the screen with the hope of protecting the characters on it, but I did at this movie. I quite literally laughed, cried, and leapt in fear for the characters at this film. It is an instant classic and an absolute favorite of mine. Up is a remarkeable piece of film making that is enjoyable wether you’re 4 or 100!
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
UP is probably not for the children, though it is about them and all that and more.
Actually, I’m not sure who it is for in the most casual sense of the term ‘casual viewer’. I digress, for UP is a beautiful film. And not just visually. It is a poetic treatise on…well, essentially living, which is pretty big as you might imagine. It encapsulates a lot of different themes: love, friendship, marriage, the little things, the big things, trials and tribulations, hate, selfishness, awkardness, dreams, ambitions, more dreams, family, growing old, and death.
That’s a loaded plate, though on the surface you might thing otherwise.
The film tells a story:
Carl grows up a young, awkward and shy boy who idolizes adventurer Muntz. While playing by himself with one balloon, he runs into a young, vibrant girl with a missing tooth and red hair, Ellie, who also worships Muntz. It is love at first sight and they marry.
To describe what follows is a great disservice, but i will say that it is no spoiler that they grow old together and a dream to journey to South America dies when Ellie dies as well. The promise unfulfilled, Carl descends into depression, becoming cranky and possibly senile, as the construction crew outside rumbles on, always threatening to evict him.
He has conversations with Ellie, though whether or not he’s mad is unimportant; the house is as much as Ellie as it will ever be, now caught in a state of stagnance.
Suddenly, a young boy scout named Russell interrupts Carl’s doldrums. Russell is clumsy, vibrant and strangely oblivious. At first Carl is disdainful of the eager youth.
At this point, the film literally takes off, as Carl concocts an almost insane plan to fulfill his promise to ellie to go to South America: tie thousands of balloons to their house and fly away.
Things get complicated as Russell accidentally stows away and they do in fact make it to South America.
And, coincidentally, Carl ends up running into Muntz, his childhood hero, though the man is not quite what he seems, and he’s certainly anything but nice….
A colorful bird, reinforcing the flight metaphor, is at the center of the film as much as Carl’s house is, but to explain any more would be disresepctful.
What else is there to explain? you may say. You’ve pretty much told me the entire- stop.
The plot is an amalgam of many ideas and narratives that you may or may not recognize, but that’s not the thing you must absorb. UP is poetic, and by poetic, I mean richly textured and so meticulous and poignant that mulitple viewings are required.
Details in the background explain character’s and their motivations; small and deliberate gestures signify mountains more of emotion than any overacting human.
Ambiguity and ambivalence abound; there are no easy answers in this film. in fact, the movie, at times, resembles an abstract, surrealist narrative that is about growing old, gaining new meaning in life, letting go of old baggage, learning how to connect, and love.
Actually, that is a pretty accurate of how the film goes. This is Pixar’s most mature work to date. And I thought Rataouille and Wall-E were their masterworks. Then again, I thought this for pretty much every film after Toy Story. (Yes, that even means Toy Story 2 and Cars, which are great. No, really! They are!)
Pixar is pushing the limits in terms of what can be told in animated films. Not everyone will completely be endeared to this film. Wall-E may have been wonderful, but it was always cute. UP allows the ugly side of our emotions to come out, sometimes touching the bone so many times it will wring tears from you. If you don’t cry, then you are an awful person, like…well, I can’t very well spoil the movie for you, can I?
I look foward to viewing this film again. And again, until I too, am old and I will be able tp understand the film’s depths about life more fully. Of course, I can’t be too myopic about these things now can I? That would defeat my own purpose, but I digress.
Can we all agree that one of Pixar’s animated films get an oscar for best picture? Because, I mean, these past few films are literally classics, even before they can be labeled as such.
oh well, i can dream…
So go see it. no really, see it now. even if you don’t enjoy it. see it again. you will understand, even if you don’t. well, that doesn’t make sense….
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Like Wall-E, this Pixar movie includes an extended segment that is mostly silent for introducing the back story. We meet Carl, a quiet boy who dreams of adventure after watching newsreel footage at the movie theater of his hero Charles Muntz (who has to be at least twenty years older). He then meets a kindred spirit in the girl Ellie, who also dreams of traveling to Paradise Falls, a fantastical place in South America. Ellie does almost all the talking and initiating. Then as if it is a separate silent Pixar short we see Carl and Ellie grow up and grow old together. It is very sweet and touching. It is my favorite part and the movie has hardly gotten started. Pixar definitely knows how to tell a story visually, without words!
Then Carl is a 78-year-old (according to the description) widower. And there are similar elements to the German/French movie Cherry Blossoms, as Carl tries to find ways to stay connected to his wife, eventually leaving on the adventure she always envisioned.
Russell, a wilderness scout, needs one more merit badge for assisting the elderly and ends up stowed away on Carl’s porch as everyone is probably aware of from the early movie ads. Continuity-wise, how he got there (and later when Doug, the Dog, does the same thing) is pretty unbelievable. Also, how could Carl at 78 be so physically able through all the adventures? When we meet Charles Muntz again he seems like he is barely older than Carl. I would believe Charles is in his 70’s and Carl is still in his 50’s or 60’s. There were several times when I found things to be unbelievable like this. In a fantasy story the rules of nature can be changed. However, the new rules that are developed should be better maintained.
Russell gives Carl someone else to care about. Carl gives Russell a father or grandfather figure. Their relationship is humorous and heartfelt. Doug, the Dog, is also lovable and funny. Kevin (named by Russell), the rare mother bird from Paradise Falls gives Carl and Russell something bigger than themselves, something worthwhile, to fight for. The villain, Muntz, is sadly underdeveloped. But his dogs, from the leader Alpha with his voice malfunction, to a group playing poker, to the scene that gives new meaning to Snoopy fighting the Red Baron, are all very entertaining!
The closing credits are clever too.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
I had my suspicions about Up the first time I saw the film, and they were confirmed upon my second viewing—Pixar has made a movie worthy of the great American films. In an age were the most highly-praised films are characterized by artistic pretension and/or thematic didacticism, Pixar’s latest production is an absolute thrill and a breath of fresh air. It is a film full of surprises that, most importantly, develops its characters to such a degree most of us never expected possible with animation.
Walking into the theatre, I did not expect this to be perhaps the most tear-jerking movie I have seen in years. This is not to say Pixar hasn’t made us pull out our handkerchiefs in the past. Sure, watching Jessie grow irrelevant in the eyes of her maturing owner was pretty tragic in Toy Story 2, and shredding Boo’s door in Monsters Inc. was heartbreaking. None of this, however, prepared us for the silent montage depicting the shared lives of Carl and Ellie Fredrickson, two lovers bound together by their passion for adventure and each other. This scene reminds us of the power of the image that is so lost with most movies today. It communicates such joy and also sorrow with the meticulously animated frames. The way the images seamlessly flow into one another makes this perhaps the most poetic statement about love in any recent film. Recall the human emotion that can be seen on Carl’s face when he comforts Ellie after her miscarriage; Pixar has never made anything as moving, and they will never be able to top themselves.
As far as character development goes, Russell is about as sweet yet as realistic as a child character can get. Nine-year-old Jordan Nagai gives a truly brilliant voice performance as the young Wilderness Explorer in pursuit of his “assisting the elderly” badge. So often with animated films, the children are merely cute, empty caricatures for the kids in the audience to be able to identify with. However, with Russell, we have a character so full of depth. He is so full of joy playing with the “snipe” Kevin and attempting to convince Carl to take the bird along for the trip. (Want to mention the playfulness in the scene and creativity of the way Russell and Kevin play in the trees.) Then, there is the sadness in his voice when he talks about his absent father, knowing something is missing in his life but searching for exactly what it is.
This film is not just about a relationship between a man and the son he could never have, or a boy and the father he barely has. This is a film about four outsiders who come together and are able to change each other’s lives: Carl struggles to adapt to the modern world, still wishing to fulfill his promises of the past; Russell obviously has no stable parental situation; the lovable “talking” dog Dug is a joke amongst the other canines; and Kevin is being hunted down by a pack of vicious dogs. Each of these characters alone is vulnerable, but together they have a wild, unforgettable adventure, surviving in the face of the greatest dangers.
This movie is full of the sense of adventure Carl and Ellie were always searching for, and by the end of the film, the characters find their places in life, even if it is not where they originally expected. With a flying house, “talking” dogs, a cane-wielding senior and impossible-to-catch snipes, the movie is hardly conventional, but these traits have exactly the sort of originality and color that is so fun to experience. The film opens with a young Carl watching an old newsreel of Charles Muntz, reminiscent of the “short” that opens Orson Welle’s Citizen Kane. Like Kane, Up has a great sense of ambition and never misses a note. I apologize for the multiple times I have used phrases like “greatest of all time” and “best in years.” Ultimately, words fall short of describing the joy of watching this movie and knowing such beauty is still possible in mainstream cinema.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Gorgeously buoyant, whimsical adventure wrapped in richly emotional terrain, a PIXAR film that delivers on the laughs as it pulls at the heartstrings all the same. It’s light, airy, and cheerfully exuberant, but what makes the movie so special and so unique is its unwavering heart, its effortless ability to convey the most resonant of emotions in the most honest, unaffected ways. And what comes out of that is a film steeped in the greatest of life’s celebrations; embracing the journey that’s around you all the time, recognizing the necessity of acceptance in one’s state, doing away with the burdens of life, and finding renewal in the prospects of the new.
After the brilliance of Wall-E and Ratatouille, I can’t help but be disappointed by Up. The animation is spectacular and probably worth the price of admission alone, but the film’s structure is so odd and abrupt. It jumps from plot point to plot point with little setup or explanation. The action is less exciting than Wall-E’s (or even Bolt’s) and so many of the jokes here just aren’t funny. The Carl/Ellie stuff is really great, though. It’s above average, but not by much.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.
Oh my god. What do I have to say about this movie? Whoever says that this wasn’t a good movie or that it is only good in 3-D or anything like that do not account them as true movie-goers. This movie has Best Picture of 2009 all over it for multiple awards. I knew I was going to be visually stunned as well as happy because pixar always gives classic comedy in the animation form, but never did I expect to be brought to near-tears in the first ten minutes! Although I did eventually cry at the end, I have to admit that this movie has everything in it that a movie should have. Wonderful story, exceptional animation, and completely awesome characters. This is a movie where you will laugh and cry, and in my opinion, those are the best.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
I knew I would be entertained, tickled and enthralled by this film, but I didn’t expect to be brought to tears by the two sequences that depict Carl and his late wife, Ellie. Those frames glowed with heartfelt emotion and a realism that I didn’t think was possible with CGI.
As an Asian, I was also very pleased that one of the leads was an Asian boy whose presence or ethnicity didn’t require an explanation and wasn’t part of a gimmick. Russell is absolutely adorable in his own right.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
I don’t know how long Pixar can keep it up, especially with a second sequel to Toy Story coming and a first sequel to Cars on the way, but as of now, no one does it better. Over the years, the studio has gone from heartfelt children’s fare to more heady dramas—still with a youthful touch, but deeper and more resonate than your standard “stick the kid in front of the screen and have quiet for a couple hours”. It began with Ratatouille, a tale so layered that you couldn’t remember how vague and almost unappealing the trailer looked, followed by Wall-E, with its power of visuals and emotions overcoming the need for dialogue to tell a heartfelt love story. And now, in 2009, Disney/Pixar brings us one of their best yet with Up. The trailer and studio pedigree may have gotten me in the seat, but the story, barely touched upon in the teaser, is what kept me enraptured and wanting more.
Going in, I was truly unaware of what was in store. My minimal knowledge from the advertisements was that it would tell the story of an elderly, crotchety old gentleman named Carl Fredricksen and his adventures traveling the world in his house, elevated and transformed into a blimp by hundreds of helium-filled balloons. Oh, and about him warming up to the young Wilderness Scout Russell who finds himself on Carl’s porch at the time of liftoff. However, right from the get-go, we see how much more Up is going to be. We are first introduced to a youngster in a movie theatre, watching newsreel footage of his hero Charles Muntz and the adventures he took to South America’s Paradise Falls. This young boy pretends to be his idol and stumbles upon a kindred soul in Ellie, a little girl dreaming of adventure as well. Through a lovely montage, we watch as these two grow up and become Carl and Ellie: a couple in love, heart and soul.
What I love about Pixar is its ability to throw easy out the window and put the hardships and rough times of life on screen. Life is dirty and full of tragedy, but without those difficulties, the wondrous moments wouldn’t be so worthwhile and memorable. Carl spies the money jar, he and his wife now very late in age, and decides to finally get two tickets to Venezuela and live their dream of traveling to South America. As happens, though, the moment he was going to surprise Ellie is the moment where she breaks down, needing to be hospitalized, soon passing on to the next world. Carl, without his better half, becomes a shut-in, wanting to be left alone in the house—the last piece of Ellie that he has. But, when an incident occurs, leading to his arrest and subsequent ruling to move to a nursing home, Frederickson decides to bring the house itself to Paradise Falls and once and for all do the thing he’s wanted to for over half a century. And all this happens in just the first 30 minutes or so. There is no one that does cartoon exposition better than Pixar, their stories so intricate and endearing, every character—whether human, animal, or inanimate object come to life—becomes a fully realized creature.
When the actual adventure portion of the tale begins, you are already fully engrossed in the journey, feeling for Carl and his loss and subsequent need to flee. As any old person trying to be left alone does, he becomes short and unfriendly with young Russell once the boy is let inside the “ship”, and with future acquaintances such as Dug the dog and Kevin the bird, he attempts to be uncompassionate to and unwanting of them. Events in his past will show why he feels this way, but the love we see that he had for his wife and fervor for life previously tell us that he will soon warm up to those around him as Up is not only a journey of adventure, but also of rediscovering one’s reason for living. Carl’s passion and need to get out and travel is reinvigorated once he acquires someone else to give his heart to.
Besides the wonderful story, Pixar once more shows how their studio is at the cutting edge of computer animation. They do not attempt to render realistic humans because they aren’t trying to mimic live-action. Instead, they keep to a stylistic choice throughout, keeping a unique creativity while still holding a place in the real world. The filters used and authenticity to old photographs and scraps of newspaper in the Fredricksen’s “book of adventures” is astonishing in its believability. I loved the aesthetic of Paradise Falls, including Kevin and his almost dinosaur-like bone structure, but completely bird exterior. Even the voice acting is inspired in its choices and successful across the board. Bringing in Ed Asner to handle Carl was a perfect marriage, giving the role a hard-edged growl, yet still allowing the softhearted soul to show when necessary. And young Jordan Nagai, playing Russell, is by far the best part of the film. His childlike naivety is believable and his speech pattern and boyish mannerisms allow the character to leap off the screen.
Disney’s partnership with Pixar definitely kept alive one of the best film studios around. Whether Pixar would have survived to tell the stories it has on its own is a question we won’t need to find an answer to. No one else would think to include dogs with collars that allow him or her to talk, let alone have it done in such a disjointed and easily distracted way. The constant train of thought changes when a squirrel or ball come into their view is priceless and the unorganized speech, calling to mind Yoda, really hits home as being exactly how I would have thought dogs would think. The filmmakers got every detail right and show once more why their studio is at the top of cinematic animation and very well could be at the top of cinema as a whole.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.