Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Up

I'm surprised I haven't reviewed this yet. Seeing as it's an animated movie, and animation is kinda my schtick. And this is coming up later than I wanted it, but there you have it.

Pixar has far the past several years consistently produced enjoyable movies. By this point a lot of people view each new Pixar movie and wonder if this will be the one to jump the shark. While some have been better than others, while a handful remain forgettable, in my opinion Pixar has not yet produced a movie that marks the beginning of their decline. This includes their latest animated motion picture, Up.

Simply put, it's a movie about an old man who attaches balloons to his house and flies to a Lost World in South America. Along the way he picks up, against his will, a Wilderness Explorer, a large bird thought to be a myth, and a talking dog (he has a collar that translates his communication into human speech).

A few people have commented on the utter ridiculousness of this plot, stating that it's completely unrealistic, as if these were bad things. So is it less realistic than the one about living toys, or the one about anthropomorphic cars?

Really, I think these people completely missed the point of this movie. Yes it's a greater crime against the laws of physics than the works of the Marvel and DC companies combined, but that's because it's supposed to be. It's a fantasy, not hard core science fiction, or Award Winning Drama.

However, it's far from a lighthearted, yet mindless kids movie. In fact, the first time I watched this movie my aunt said that little kids couldn't relate to the old man character. But really, that's part of what makes this movie so great for both children and their parents. While the kids are laughing about the Doberman with the squeaky voice (and I'll have you note that the parents are laughing right with them), the parents are enjoying the surprisingly deep story about an old man overcoming the death of his childhood sweetheart and wife, and fulfilling their lifelong ambition.

What makes this movie work is the characters. Not only do the old man and the boy play off each other so well, but they aren't shallow stereotypes in any way. Sure they fall into "grouchy old man" and "annoying kid", but it goes so much further than that. Though I personally thought the boy's back story didn't really add much to the movie, it still helped the old man's arc come full circle. Both are likable, entertaining characters, who do more than fulfill their roles in the movie. They grow into people that worm their way into our hearts.

I find it interesting that this movie's humor was at the level of the children watching, while the story itself was the deeper kind of story that adults can enjoy. Especially when you compare it to Cars where the story was a simple one, not much subtext to it, and the humor was entirely for adults.

If you haven't already seen this movie, forget everything you know about the laws of physics, architecture, or geography. If you think animation is nothing but child's fare, I urge you to give this movie a chance. Perhaps it will be the animated feature that finds a place in your heart. If you look beyond the simple plot, and silly characters, you'll find a depth of character focused storytelling, and characterization that will have you sobbing within the first twenty minutes.

2 comments:

Raven the Foolish said...

I loved Up. I still have yet to purchase it on DVD but watching the movie with my friends at the theater was one I'll never forget. The main character being an old man intrigued me. Just when I was getting tired of the studio getting less creative, they pulled off one like Up out. The story was enticing. I really couldn't afford to miss a single part of it. Even though I didn't like the little kid so much in the beginning, he grew on me and I learned to appreciate him. To sum it up, the characters really were what made the movie what it was. Especially the first several minutes before the movie began. It moved me to tears seeing that and it hadn't even started yet.

Nathaniel said...

Up is about living life to the fullest, and realizing that this probably won't mean fulfilling all your dreams. Life is what you make of what happens to you, not what you can mark off a checklist.

Post a Comment