Pixar’s Up (2009) Movie Review

pixar-up

Pixar goes about making movies in a different way than the vast majority of movie studios do these days. For one thing, these movies take a very long time to make. Pixar says that “Up” took five years to put together and of course, “Up” cost a fortune. Because Pixar only puts one movie out a year, the combined time, costs, and stakes of each release forces John Lassiter, the big guy in charge at Pixar and the rest of the creative and technical team of each movie to get it right before they begin.

That means you start with a really good story to tell. For the most part, this is backwards to the way many movies are made these days where scripts are at best hurried, sometimes written as the filming is underway or, as you, fellow movie goers can testify, not really written at all. Pixar knows that once the animation and all the nerdy technical processes of one of their movies has started, it’s kind of like a big boulder rolling downhill. Gravity is underway.

Pixar’s track record for making the good stuff is just about perfect. About the only difference you’ll see in their movies is what age the story seems to be aimed at. While every movie has something for everyone, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and this weeks new release Up seem obviously geared up a little differently than Cars and Finding Nemo.

Up is Pixars most adult movie ever. Up is about a 78 year old ex balloon saleman named Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner). Carl has recently lost his wife Ellie and is facing the imminent expulsion from his lifetime home to an elderly care facility. The first bit of Up is a flashback of Carl’s early life and adulthood as it combines with his wife. They meet as children, dream of great adventures to far away places, marry and like many of us, get caught up in the necessities of adult survival and are unable to achieve their dreams of a home, with children, at the mouth of a great waterfall in South America. Carl grieves both for the loss of his wife and also for what he feels he has lost in himself and for what he believes he never had the opportunity to experience.

At 78, with the elderly care orderlies at the door, Carl decides he has nothing to lose and takes his home and his memories, made airworthy with many hundreds of helium balloons, on his first and perhaps last, adventure south.

up_dog

Up is as full of emotions, humour and brightness as any Pixar movie ever. Carl is joined by Russell, a bouncy and enthusiastic version of himself,  played by Jordan Nagai. Russell is a boyscout with a sad story of his own, who accidentally finds himself on the balloon ride south. They are both eventually accompanied by a talking dog named Dug, an outcast golden retriever who is hilarious and a perfect doggie character study that only Pixar could create. Russell and Dug remind Carl that the adventure is not where you go, but what you find in yourself on the journey.

Carl reminisces and holds tightly to dreams and wishes he had hoped to share with his beloved wife but has forgotten that she herself was an adventure and that their lives and love together, though missing one destination, were all that was important. Up is also about letting go. Regrets are the anchors that cement Carl to his past. His balloons might carry him aloft and south, but his spirit doesn’t seem to accompany him. Carl eventually meets up with and battles his childhood hero Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) who like Carl, is lost in what he used to be.

I saw this movie in digital 3d and it was my first experience with the format. After a few minutes of getting used to it I was amazed at what a difference it made. 3d seems tailor made for Pixar films. Contours and contrasts of other Pixar films like Wall-E seemed constructed for the 3D they were never viewed in. I can’t wait to see what live action will look like.

Pixar films seem to be made in an earnest way and have a feel to them that Steven Spielberg’s films used to have. It’s impossible to go into Up with an open mind and leave with any kind of cynicism intact. Up is medicine for what ails you, if what hurts is your belief that films are all about the money they make and less about the expression of something good and right, expertly crafted and designed to reflect the filmmakers honest desire to add some joy into your life. Go to Up and don’t fight it. Leave happy.

Pete Docter, Bob Peterson (director) / Bob Peterson (screenplay)
CAST: Edward Asner … Carl Fredricksen (voice)
Christopher Plummer … Charles Muntz (voice)
Jordan Nagai … Russell (voice)
Bob Peterson … Dug, Alpha (voice)
Delroy Lindo … Beta (voice)
Jerome Ranft … Gamma (voice)


Buy Up on DVD



About endymion

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Endy is a slightly mangy and gristly citizen of the Great White North. He loves movies big time. How big? In Canada, back in the old days in the ice city where he lived, there would just be one theatre that would be allowed to show any given movie. Some of these theatres were not the giganto-plex or mall theatres that we know and love today. No no, these were the kind of theatres where you had to wait Outside to see a movie. When a big moving picture would open in these single theatres, beaver pelt sporting fellas like Endy would have to wait outside in line for hours while fighting off the human hankering giant Polar Bear or packs of Endy knawing timber wolves. Endy is a dedicated movie watcher. Otherwise, Endy loves him a good Moose jerky, football teams with manly names like the Steelers or Vikings and the thawing embrace of his fine German woman. All these things are good. But you know what is best.

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  • http://yovia.com/hanna hanna

    I really enjoyed this movie and teens and parents definitely will too. As for anybody under the age of 8 or 9 will probably fin it sad.I would definitely just stick with the older elementary ages if I were you but it was a FABULOUS movie!
    for more info on the movie UP go to my blog and comment please at http://yovia.com/blogs/hanna/2009/06/09/up/
    thanks! :)

  • http://yovia.com/hanna hanna

    I really enjoyed this movie and teens and parents definitely will too. As for anybody under the age of 8 or 9 will probably fin it sad.I would definitely just stick with the older elementary ages if I were you but it was a FABULOUS movie!
    for more info on the movie UP go to my blog and comment please at http://yovia.com/blogs/hanna/2009/06/09/up/
    thanks! :)

  • cjniya

    Which part of the movie Up moves you most? Maybe the bird eye view from the floating house gives you the deepest impression, or may be the wonderful pictures of the Paradise Fall bring you to the most fantastic wonderland. But for me, the daily life Carl and Ellie used to have moved me. They just show us how happy the life after marriage could be.
    They are not rich—- how much could you expect a balloon seller earns? But they are happy. Every day they just feel happy for they could see each other as soon as they wake up. They have never been tired of each other, time flies in their laughter. I think that is so called true love. It has nothing to do with the fortune; it has nothing to do with the bright future, but the world they share with each other. They forget everything except each other in this world. As the song sings, when you are close to me, I just want to lock ourselves in the room away from the world. That is about the life of Carl and Ellie. They failed to travel to the Paradise Fall together; they just lost in the sweet life. This recalls me the story about the time machine. After the inventor of the time machine lost his mate, he tries his best to invent the time machine and try to rescue his mate. But if she did not die, he would not have the thought to make such equipment.
    Back to the topic, the sweet marriage, some of us think the happy marriage should be built up on the base of good money. If he did not have the diamond ring, how could he give me a happy life after marriage? In my opinion, it is totally wrong. If you love each other, even a rubber wristband left from a celebration you two take part in could be better than diamond. Money just could make your life easier, but not mean the whole.

  • cjniya

    Which part of the movie Up moves you most? Maybe the bird eye view from the floating house gives you the deepest impression, or may be the wonderful pictures of the Paradise Fall bring you to the most fantastic wonderland. But for me, the daily life Carl and Ellie used to have moved me. They just show us how happy the life after marriage could be.
    They are not rich—- how much could you expect a balloon seller earns? But they are happy. Every day they just feel happy for they could see each other as soon as they wake up. They have never been tired of each other, time flies in their laughter. I think that is so called true love. It has nothing to do with the fortune; it has nothing to do with the bright future, but the world they share with each other. They forget everything except each other in this world. As the song sings, when you are close to me, I just want to lock ourselves in the room away from the world. That is about the life of Carl and Ellie. They failed to travel to the Paradise Fall together; they just lost in the sweet life. This recalls me the story about the time machine. After the inventor of the time machine lost his mate, he tries his best to invent the time machine and try to rescue his mate. But if she did not die, he would not have the thought to make such equipment.
    Back to the topic, the sweet marriage, some of us think the happy marriage should be built up on the base of good money. If he did not have the diamond ring, how could he give me a happy life after marriage? In my opinion, it is totally wrong. If you love each other, even a rubber wristband left from a celebration you two take part in could be better than diamond. Money just could make your life easier, but not mean the whole.

  • Sara

    WOOHOO you tell em cjniya girl!!
    lolz idk u but yeah i totally agree with every word you said up there.
    and the movie is absolutely FANTASTIC. its hilariouse and exciting.i think
    evryone and anyone would enjoy it except for young fellows offcourse,they’ll
    probably have nooo idea about the whole idea of carl and ellie being together
    and why carl was determend to reach paradise falls even after his wife ellie has
    died.

  • Sara

    WOOHOO you tell em cjniya girl!!
    lolz idk u but yeah i totally agree with every word you said up there.
    and the movie is absolutely FANTASTIC. its hilariouse and exciting.i think
    evryone and anyone would enjoy it except for young fellows offcourse,they’ll
    probably have nooo idea about the whole idea of carl and ellie being together
    and why carl was determend to reach paradise falls even after his wife ellie has
    died.

  • worldtraveller123

    I like the movie and agree with the comment. It is the journey. My personal experience, the smallest things are the stuff I remember most from our yearly family roadtrip vacation; eating breafast together at McDonald, watching tv show together at night, stopping by a quite road side so my 4 years son can take a leak.

  • worldtraveller123

    I like the movie and agree with the comment. It is the journey. My personal experience, the smallest things are the stuff I remember most from our yearly family roadtrip vacation; eating breafast together at McDonald, watching tv show together at night, stopping by a quite road side so my 4 years son can take a leak.