30 May 2009

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.