Sunday, June 14, 2009


What can one say about this movie? It's brilliant and poignant and almost completely perfect. It's everything the critics have said it is and then some.

Carl Frederickson--who looks a lot like Ed Asner who voices the character--attaches thousands of helium balloons to his home and takes off for South America to escape being forced out of his home and into the Shady Acres retirement community. The scene where the balloons pop out of Carl's chimney and pull the house aloft is just breath-taking. Exquisite animation.

In typical Pixar-form, the animation amazingly detailed--from the stubble that shows up on Carl's face after several days trekking across a cliff to the iridescent colors of feathers on a rare South American bird dubbed Kevin.

Carl is joined on his adventure by an overzealous and talkative kid named Russell, a dog named Dug and the aforementioned bird. He meets up with childhood hero, explorer Charles Muntz--who looks like Kirk Douglas but is voiced by Christopher Plummer.

In addition to the top-notch visuals, the writing is excellent as well. There are a number of great set-ups and pay-offs, humor, thrilling action sequences and genuinely touching moments. There is a great fight scene between the two geezers that is awesome in its ingenuity. And a sight gag that takes off on the classic "dogs playing poker" paintings is hysterical.

The only downside to the beautifully layered film is that most youngsters can't truly appreciate it fully. Oh sure, they'll laugh at some silliness or be caught up in the action, but the true complexity of the story will go over their heads.

It sure went over the head of the infant some idiot parent decided to drag to the theater rather than pay for a babysitter. His/her squawking and squalling disrupted the entire movie. And the assorted kids whose constant exposure to DVDs and lack of parental guidance caused them to provide their own running commentary throughout the film.

Oh well--I guess it's too much to expect to be able to see a kiddie movie sans kids. Unlike Carl, I didn't finish the film with a character arc that took me from cranky curmudgeon to kid-lover. Still, UP is uplifting (pun intended), upbeat and uproarious adventure.

Go see it.

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