Skip to main content

Review: Up

Up begins as any other story would, about a girl, Ellie and a shy child adventurer, Carl.

Carl and Ellie want to become just like their hero Charles Muntz, who has just discovered a new species of bird in South America. In the course of following Muntz's adventures, Carl and Ellie grow up, fall in love, get married and make their plans to go to South America. However, as the saying goes "life is what happens between plans".

Carl and Ellie save up their money to go to Paradise Falls, but the money they save inevitably ends up spent on other things. House repairs, hospital bills and the like keeps kicking their dream to see the world down the road. The two decide to have children and then Pixar takes a turn I never saw coming, they actually allow us inside their heartbreak: first Ellie’s miscarriage and then her untimely death.

The montage and Michael Giacchino's accompanying score is extremely emotional and as the montage progresses, there is not a dry eye in the house.

There have always been more adult themes in Pixar’s films; Toy Story was about growing up, Monsters Inc was about accepting others, WALL-E was about being environmentally conscious and thinking of others. With Up, Pixar has taken that last leap, wish fulfillment and acknowledging mortality. Make no mistake this film was made to entertain children, but it goes much deeper than that, it speaks to the soul.

Leap forward a few decades and  present day Carl lives in his house surrounded by construction crews building a mall. He has completely alienated everyone around him and only wishes to be left alone. That is until Wilderness Explorer, Russell, comes to his house looking to obtain his last badge for assisting the elderly. Through an accident later on Carl rediscovers Ellie’s adventure book and decides to make that trip to South America. The only detriment during my experience was the wish that my theatre had been 3-D capable. To see the balloons float through the roof of Carl’s home would have been a spectacular sight.

Up is such a solid piece of writing that you feel like you have known Carl for years. All the characters possess depth and are voiced wonderfully by their acting counterparts. Pixar, never known for a miss, has etched out another work that will stand the test of time. Between the majestic musical score by Giacchino, the masterful direction of Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson and the voice talents of Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer, there is not a better picture on the market.


Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…