Up Short Review (2009) (4.5 of 5)

Pixar has a great track record. Even their crap is better than 95% of everyone else’s best stuff and to be honest I’ve never seen anything that they have done that I would call ‘crap’ anyway. Up is near the top of their heap for me, if not their (latest) crowning achievement.

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I’ll admit it. I was blubbering about 10 minutes in. That’s how long it took them to set up the story of Carl (voiced by Ed Asner), the movie’s main protagonist. They make you feel for him and his situation without the character having said more than a couple of words. This movie was not as predictable as I thought that it would be, veering off several times and coming out in a place that I did not expect it to. Even the stuff that I saw coming still knocked me over. 

up3_01I guess this won’t be a typical review of a movie, because I’m not going to give away anything that happens, but I will say the movie gets MUCH better when Dug the dog is introduced along with the rest of his talking collar wearing canine pack. Russell, Kevin, and Muntz are great but Dug, Alpha, Gamma, and Beta along with their master Muntz elevate the movie to greater heights (wow that was a bad line… but it’s true). The dogs stole the show for me. There is also a great showdown towards the end that reminded me a little of Bubba Ho-Tep.

up_dugGoing in, I knew that this was obviously a movie about being able to feel young at an ‘advanced’ age, but it’s more than that. Pixar always takes traditional stories that in some form have been told, but reflects on the modern world without heavy handedness. There isn’t so much realism that you wouldn’t want to take your kids to (if you have kids), but there’s enough to make a very poignant film. I also thought the social commentary in this was very subtle and not nearly as forced as WALL-E was.

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Pixar’s crew always seems to get the maximum emotional impact out of their characters and stories. They are STORYTELLERS first and foremost, as opposed to it being about the CGI. You can have all the beautiful CGI landscapes and colorful characters and cool tricks of light, but the characters are what matter.  That’s why this is ANOTHER great film that will be fondly remembered many decades from now. 4.5 whatevers out of 5 whatevers….Haven’t come up with a real standardized review system, yet. Workin’ on it….

 

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Oh. Almost forgot the very funny lead-in to Up. The short ‘Partly Cloudy’ will properly ‘warm you up’ for the main presentation. Won’t give anything away in that one either. It’s best to go in to any movie cold without knowing a whole lot about it, at least I think so. I won’t spoil anything for you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do… Thanks for reading.

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