Ok, so this was great. First, I’m a huge Pixar fan, I can’t think of one thing they’ve done that I haven’t liked and Up is no exception. I was also lucky enough to catch the digital 3D version which really heightened the experience, I highly recommend catching this in digital 3D if you can, totally worth it.
As usual, Pixar continues to challenge me as a movie fan, just when I think I have the plotline guessed before I get there, they throw curve balls and come up with something original (which is so not easy to do when most movie ideas have been exhausted and beaten into the ground by Hollywood). The film’s unlikely hero, Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) is an old man who retired long ago and has decided to take on adventure in his life rather than being sent off to a retirement home. The adventure is long promised to his late wife, which is the unexpected tear-jerker aspect of the film that made me miss my wife while watching the film (I saw this film while I was in Texas on a business trip).
Through his adventure to go to the place he and his wife dreamed about, Paradise Falls, our hero finds himself in the company of an ambitious, young wilderness scout named Russel, a giant bird and a talking dog (don’t worry, he doesn’t talk in a cheesy Scooby doo way, he has a collar that interprets his thoughts into speech – ok, ok, it’s a little cheesy, but c’mon this is about the fun and adventure of movie escape after all).
Eventually his adventure turns to conflict when the unlikely adventurers run into the nemesis of the film, a long forgotten, self exiled explorer voiced by Christopher Plummer, who starts off a nice guy but quickly reveals that maybe he’s not so nice and is indeed maniacal (again, sort of an unexpected dark twist I didn’t see going to this length).
While the film is for the most part kid-safe, there’s a very adult storyline going on here, so as usual, Pixar has crafted something that kids and parents will both enjoy. The kids will laugh at the silly dog and giant bird antics and voices (the alpha male/villain dog is played by Delroy Lindo by the way) which also made me laugh out loud a couple of times. The adults will appreciate the rich scenery and adult storyline of a man making up for lost time and fulfilling a promise to the love of his life. In short, Up is another in the line of success stories for Pixar and their creative genius. I’m writing this on a plane flying back from Texas and since I’m done with this review, I think I’ll put in my Finding Nemo DVD to watch as I finish my flight back to Philadelphia.
reviewed by Sean McKnight