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I was luckily able to catch a screening a few weeks ago here in
As an avid lover of Wall-E, I felt Pixar could never reach those heights again.
I was wrong.
UP's story will probably seem peculiar at first glance. An old man as a protagonist? It definitely blew my expectations. The first 5 minutes demolished every other Pixar feature just because it was the first time I cried in a theater.
This just shows how much heart there is to the movie. I really don't want to get into specifics because of spoilers but the movie literally has everything.
Amazing visual effects.
Breath taking action.
All those combined equal something special. Today's movies like to blow you away with gimmicks, Pixar is different. Each movie shows soul and UP definitely has it.
I can't wait until it comes out so I can see it in 3d, im bringing everybody.
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to a special pre-release screening
of Up at Pixar studios in Emeryville, organized by the San Francisco
Film Society. After a hour-long reception in the atrium of their
beautiful main building we went through some rigorous security (metal
detectors!) and were treated to an hilarious short (Partly Cloudy) and
Pixar's new high water mark, Up.
My favorites to date have definitely been Wall-E and the Incredibles, and Up is another slightly-left-of-center masterpiece. The emotional impact of the beautiful, wordless summation of Carl's life that opens the movie is the bass note that resonates through the whole film and is at least as affecting as the scene in Wall-E when he holds his own hands while watching Hello Dolly. The rest of the movie, of course, is breathtaking on just about every level, especially the tactile quality of all the characters and textures and the completely realized weather effects and action scenes. With no "new" technical milestones (fur in Monsters, Inc., water in Finding Nemo, realistic camera effects in Wall- E), the design is the main focus, from the hilariously stylized characters to the amazing setting of the tepui.
As the associate producer who participated in the Q&A following the movie pointed out, the past three Pixar movies have not been easy sells to their parent company Disney (they'll be back in familiar territory with Toy Story 3 and Cars 2), but Pixar's commitment to inventive, story-driven films continues to pay off here. All of the good press is true, and I can't wait to see it again. Thanks for staying true to yourselves Pixar!
UP, Pixar's latest animated feature, is just delightful. But how do you
go about extolling the movie's virtues without giving away its
surprises? Like the kid at the beginning of the movie, you don't try to
conquer the immovable force; you work around it.
The one clue I can give away because it's the movie's heavily hyped premise is that Carl Fredrickson, a gruffy old widower (voiced with gruffy old charm by Ed Asner), miraculously inflates enough balloons to use his house as an aircraft. Soon, he finds himself reluctantly sharing his ride with a short-attention-spanned kid named Russell.
I'll also mention a couple of other items that can gauge your potential interest in the movie. One is a gag that is a take-off on a famous painting perhaps too inside of an inside joke, but typical of Pixar's cheery attempts to appeal to viewers of all ages.
Also, part of the plot involves Carl's long-held wish to meet a Lindbergh-type adventurer named Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer!). This is another in-joke that's even vaguer than the first one. Cartoon historians know that Walt Disney started in the cartoon biz by creating Oswald the Rabbit for producer Charles Mintz, who then greedily stole the rights to Disney's creation. This gives you a pretty good idea where the ostensible hero Muntz stands in the scheme of things.
Beyond that, I can only offer you some enticing clues about the characters. There's a dog who's the leader of his pack and in menacing beyond measure, until he opens his mouth and gets one of the movie's biggest laughs. There's a huge, awkward bird that is a big laugh-getter at first. Then she becomes a real enough character that at least in the audience I was in when she's injured, she elicits screams of fright worthy of Bambi's late mother.
There's surprising, heartfelt emotion, vivid imagery (you can almost touch the landscapes and skies), and a music score by Michael Giacchino that's practically a character in the movie particularly in a thoughtful montage that takes Carl from childhood to widowhood.
There aren't many (or at least not enough) live-action movies that are engrossing as this cartoon. Pixar Studios has gotten to be one of those movie icons that shouldn't even have to deliver a premise to get funded anymore. The moneymen should just shut up, hand over the money, and trust they'll get a product that will appeal to everyone.
UP is only the second Pixar feature to get a PG rating, only for mildly intense imagery and action nothing off-color in the least. Again, if you can handle "Bambi," this film should be a breeze.
Carl Frederickson (Ed Asner) has lived a long life, but dreams of
adventuring to South America. He wants to spend his remaining days in
his home, but new high-rises are being constructed around it. After a
chance accident, Carl loses his home, and is set to be taken into a
retirement home. Unhappy with this idea, the former balloon salesman
ties thousands of balloons to his house and simply floats away, en
route to his dream adventure. Except, he is not alone young
"wilderness explorer" Russell (Jordan Nagai) inadvertently shows up in
mid-air, and Carl sees no other choice but to bring the boy with him.
The fact that this plot line is even relevant enough to get made into a movie is more than enough reason to praise Up. Ever since Toy Story, Pixar has consistently delivered the most radically original and unique ideas for animated films, and live action films. Sure, not all of them are as amazing as others (Cars is quite simply stale compared to the likes of Ratatouille and WALL-E), but there is something brilliantly imaginative and exciting going on at the studio, and Up is no exception.
Coming off the breakthrough of WALL-E, I was not expecting the same reaction to Up, but I was more than just pleasantly surprised. The film is hilarious, heartfelt, moving and depressing all at once. This may sound like it is an issue, and that the film has a problem holding its ground with its tonal structure. But instead, it handles it quite well; splitting the film into quadrants and allowing the themes and plot line to coincide with whatever emotional response the filmmakers are going for. And while there is plenty for young children to enjoy and take from the film, it is the older audience that will get the biggest reaction from it. There is a lot going on in the film, but it never loses its speed and never loses control of what it wants to say and do. It knows exactly where it wants to be and when. And where other recent Pixar films have failed (specifically in their lengthy runtimes and frequent need to drag themselves out), Up does not. It practically blasts its way through its beginning, all the way up to its ending, with time left to spare.
What makes Up work so well, much like WALL-E before it, is the focus on very few characters. Where WALL-E spent the majority of its runtime primarily on Earth with its main character, a love interest and a cockroach, Up spends its majority with Carl, Russell, a "bird" named Kevin and a talking dog named Dug (voiced by co-director Bob Peterson). It does allow for more characters to enter in later on, but the focus never strays from these main characters. Some may say the film is trying to tell multiple stories, but as the film progresses, it is clear it is telling one story the tale of a man who never experienced what he wanted the most. The film builds up Carl's backstory heavily in startlingly moving moments that surprisingly were surprisingly kept rather secretive in the marketing for the film. We know from the very first trailer that Carl is a fairly mean old man, but the film spends a great deal of time to develop him into an emotional wreck of a man.
But the real success of the film is in its imagination and adventure. While WALL-E is perhaps the most startlingly unique and original animated picture of the last decade, Up still manages to pack in a lot of uniqueness. But while WALL-E got caught up in its own environmentally sound message, Up sticks with being an almost straight adventure picture. It is frequently thrilling and exciting, and lets up only for a few moments at a time. For such an older character, the film really stuns with some of its fantastical ideas. Sure, it is obvious this is a film that could only ever be done as an animated film, but what it lacks in realism it makes up for in fun something that has been sorely missing from the movies for years. It came back for a short while with the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, but the focus as of late for any film has been on deeply conflicted, depressing narratives. And while this film is struck with having some of the most depressing scenes the year has seen so far, it never wallows in the sadness. It throws the moments at you, and then quickly moves on. And as said previously, the tonal shifts work excellently in Up's favour.
But of course, an animated movie cannot work without its animation. While Up is not a breakthrough in the way other Pixar films have been, it keeps with the tradition of still looking stunning and leading the curve for computer animated films. It does look cartoony and fantastical in many instances, but this only continues to work towards it being even better. The locales are realistic looking; the dog fur is near perfect. For me, watching Carl's facial hair gradually grow in as the story moves along was simply amazing. The little details and minute perfections have always been key to the Pixar films, and Up is no different. Additionally, the 3D effects really add a layer to the film, and bring the movie to life (unlike other recent efforts like Monsters vs. Aliens and Bolt).
I cannot praise Up enough. Words cannot do justice for how excellent the film is. Pixar continues to outdo itself year after year, even with their subpar films. While each film has their own flaws, Up revels in being as close to perfect as the company has been in years. I adored every minute, and look forward to watching it again with an even bigger smile on my face.
If there's a list of great computer animation movies of all time, Pixar
would dominate most of the top positions. Great story, great voice
talent, great timing, great for all ages. It'd be hard to pick just one
above another and perhaps another viewing of Up may be in order to
figure out where I'd place it among so much stellar work.
Up is by far the most emotional human drama of any Pixar movies thus far, very heavy, so much so if you're looking for pure fun with some jaw-dropping chase and/or thematic scenes and no downer moments, Up may not be for you. I saw it in a packed theatre of about a 65% adult, 35% adult split audience and it's the only time I can remember being in ANY animated movie where there was sniffles and watery eyes, and that was within the first 10 minutes of the movie. There's an undercurrent of life after losing a loved one in this movie, which I don't feel gives anything away. It's pretty heavy subject matter, Pixar handles it, like they do everything they touch, incredibly well, but it doesn't make it any less sad to have the material threaded throughout much of the movie you're reminded of it, but I suppose it's up to one's own interpretation of loss and how to place it in your life that perhaps will have an emotional effect on you.
Story is what makes a great movie great. Without story, you don't really have anything, maybe some effects, some action, maybe some cute or clever sight gags, maybe some laughs, hopefully some emotion, where Pixar shines above all others in animation and over a good 99% of the movies out there is they can intertwine it all and do it seemingly effortless, which is an incredible feat. To do this in a few movies is one thing, but Pixar has pretty much nailed this now for their entire career of making movies, that's just simply unprecedented.
I should note I saw the 3D version which, to be honest, didn't really take the movie to the next level. One of the more well known syndicated reviewers had said you're better off seeing the non-3D version on screen, and I actually agree. The 3D glasses added little to nothing to the movie except for an eye-strain headache later in the night. It didn't take away from Up mind you, it just didn't add to it either.
Up is a great movie either way you slice it and it should be noted, the theatre I saw it in gave it a fairly loud round of applause at the end. It's pretty rare these days that an audience applauds after a movie, perhaps we as a society has become too jaded, or too just expecting of the goods or feeling we're entitled to the entertainment. It's nice when a movie hits on all cylinders and elicits such a range and emotional reaction people who don't know each other in a packed room all gasp, laugh, cry, and applaud together. Great movies however can do that and Up is truly a great movie.
Viewed at the Festival de Cannes 2009
The opening film of this year's festival, and the first animated film ever to have this honour, Up is truly a film for all ages. The story of the adventures of an old man and a young boy, a flying house tethered to countless balloons, a long-lost (and mad) explorer, a giant bird called Kevin and assorted 'talking' dogs gets funnier and more exciting as it goes along.
This isn't slapstick humour, although there are some lovely visual gags, but deeper, more thoughtful. At times Up is even touching and poignant.
Visually, this is a treat and while I was sceptical about the use of 3D to begin with, it is built into the story so seamlessly that it really is worth the effort to seek it out. At the same time, I can't help feeling the 2D version could be even better because the 3D glasses had the effect of dimming the picture. The use of colour in the film is especially noteworthy, with various palettes used according to mood, character and phase of the story. Character voicing and music are also spot on.
I have no connection with Pixar, Disney or the film whatsoever, even if this review reads like a puff piece. The fact is, Up is an incredible piece of cinema, was a big hit with a very demanding press audience, and is worthy of your time and money.
Anyone who says animated films cannot amuse and entertain, while at the same time delivering any kind of emotion, does not know what they are talking about.
Up is so good I can now forgive Pixar for Cars!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If Pixar - as a studio - has any weakness, it's that they have no idea
how to make a bad film. Again and again they release entertaining
movies with not only a terrific sense of humor, but a level of
storytelling that has set a standard for today's films, animated or
otherwise. While I was obviously extremely excited to see Up, never did
I expect it - or, to be honest, anything else from this year - to reach
the level of quality of this year's first animated film, Coraline
(which, along with last year's Bolt and Wall-E, became one of my
favorite films of all time). Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly
surprised. Simply put, Up is a perfect movie.
Easily the most emotionally impactful portion of the entire film, the first ten to fifteen minutes of Up are nothing short of beautiful. Using little to no dialogue, the opening "montage" of this film tells the story of Carl and his wife Ellie, and the wonderful life that they share together. Carl is such a lovable character, that you feel for him from the very beginning. Without trying to come off as cliché or anything, you feel the joy that he feels, and when his wife passes away, you feel his loss. By the end of the whole sequence, I was in tears.
This movie is freakin' hilarious. Without a doubt the funniest film that Pixar has ever made, each and every character in Up provides their own bit of humor. Dug the dog (voiced by co-director Bob Peterson) is especially hilarious every single time that he "opens his mouth", and yet still proves to be a key part of this emotional roller coaster ride. The movie also does a terrific job at making you feel a sense of wonder, and you just buy into the adventure of these two characters. Finally, I want to give a special nod to Christopher Plummer as the famous wilderness explorer, Charles Muntz, who is easily my favorite Pixar villain.
I love Up. Go see it now, as my review just can't do it justice. Not only is it extremely entertaining, but also gut-bustingly hilarious, and beautifully told throughout. To quote John Campea of TheMovieBlog.com, "The only negative thing I have to say about this movie is that it ended." The result is a film that's on par with Wall-E and The Incredibles as my favorite Pixar movie to date (which, again, is saying a hell of a lot, considering that they're two of my top 10 favorite films of all time) and while it may take a couple more viewings to say for certain, I have no qualms with saying that Up is one of the finest films I've ever seen.
What can I say about Pixar? Amazing?? Perfect?? Got to see this at the
Cannes Film Festival in France (went on a trip with my family) and
Pixar gives us another instant classic: Up.
The movie focuses on 78-year old man Carl Fredrickson's (voiced by Edward Asner) life who always had a dream of going on a journey to South American to see the wilds of it. He buys thousands of balloons just to attach it to his house to float up in the sky. So, he starts with his journey up in the sky in his house with balloons attached to it. Suddenly, he's not alone and somebody's at the door while flying, it's a boy scout kid named Russell. He invites the boy with him on his journey to South America.
Just brilliant and simple story-telling, beautiful visuals as usual with Pixar, awesome voice work, funny and smart dialogue, beautiful score once again by Michael Giacchino & very, very enjoyable characters. Speaking of characters, the highlight of the film: Dug the Dog. A sort of "robot" dog that will have you have you in a lot of stitches each scene that dog is in and that was the case with me. Simply, one of the funniest characters Pixar ever made. Pete Doctor, one of the four Pixar directors (John Lassester, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird) who directed Monster's Inc (2001) needs and should get nominated for his clever, genius and smart directing of this but if Stanton didn't get the nods for (Finding Nemo and WALL-E) and Bird for (The Incredibles & Ratatouille) which they should of been, then the Oscars are making another HUGE mistake for not nominating this guy for this movie.
Up is the funniest Pixar movie, funnier than the Toy Story movies, A Bug's Life & Finding Nemo which were the funniest, in my opinion. The movie is not just hilarious, it's emotional and sad at times. Like WALL-E, it focuses on the character feelings but not as magical as WALL-E. Still, Up is full of emotional, fun and hilarious proportions. Your in for a BIG ride in this!! 10/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seriously, I'm convinced, Pixar is maybe the only movie studio that is
providing the best movies around. Who said that animated films can't be
considered real movies? Can't be considered an art form? Up is the
latest creation from Disney and Pixar, after last year's smash hit
WALL-E, I felt like they couldn't at all top themselves and they did it
again with this incredibly charming story. Admittingly from the
trailer, I wasn't sure this story was going to work as well, but I got
the opportunity to see Up this week and was just totally blown away by
it's story, animation and characters. The thing I adore about these
movies that Disney and Pixar are creating is that they're not just for
the kids, but the adults as well, this is something that I could even
see an adult seeing by themselves. This story doesn't insult kid's
intelligence and is extremely entertaining for anyone to enjoy, to go
through this adventure with an old man who just wanted to make his wife
Carl Fredricksen, a quiet young boy, meets Ellie in her clubhouse, discovering together they share the same interest in exploration as their hero, famed explorer Charles F. Muntz. Ellie expresses her desire to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls in South America, a promise she makes Carl keep. Carl and Ellie fall in love, wed and grow old together in the old house where they first met. Ellie dies of old age before they can take their trip, leaving Carl living alone in their home. After a tussle with a construction worker over Carl's broken mailbox, the court orders Carl to move into a retirement home. Carl comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie, and creates a makeshift airship using thousands of helium balloons which lift his house off its foundation. Russell, a Wilderness Explorer trying to earn his "Assisting the Elderly" badge, has stowed away on the porch after being sent on a snipe hunt by Carl the day before. After a storm throws them around for a while, they find themselves across a large ravine facing Paradise Falls. With their body weight providing ballast allowing Carl and Russell to pull the floating house, the two begin to walk around the ravine. As they walk towards Paradise Falls, Russell finds a colorful tropical bird which he names Kevin, not realizing that the bird is actually female. They later run into a dog with a translating collar named Dug. They discover Dug's owner is Charles Muntz, who has remained in South America for several decades to find a bird like Kevin in order to restore his reputation after bringing back a skeleton and being called a fraud. Though Carl is initially thrilled to meet his hero, when he realizes that Muntz is after Kevin and will kill to obtain her, Carl takes steps to save the bird and escape from Muntz.
Up is seriously the best movie I have seen so far this year, it's actually one of my favorite movies of all time, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this film. Wither it was the fun and charming story between Carl and Russell, the crazy bird Kevin, or the story that nearly killed me in laughter, the dogs that have collars that make them talk. I don't remember the last time a movie that made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt, it also made me tear up and smile. If someone ever tells you that an animated film can't be considered a real movie, just show them Up. I absolutely adore this movie, can't wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it again. This is a perfect family film, actually scratch that, it's a perfect film, the animation is incredible, the characters are lovable and the story is magical. Up is going to be a film to be remembered for all time, great movie, go see it.
Greetings again from the darkness. Another crackling collaboration of
Pixar and Disney, and as expected, it is touching, funny, thrilling and
amazing to look at and watch. Only a step below Toy Story just because
it is not quite as ground-breaking, though the story is even better.
While I love technology and effects, I am first and foremost a story guy when it comes to movies. This has as good of story as any film you will see. My only caution is that it seems geared towards grown-ups, not kids. The montage of Carl and Ellie growing old together is without dialogue and will probably bore some kids. Their parents certainly won't be bored; however, as it will resonate with most anyone over age 40 who hasn't taken the time to chase their childhood dreams.
No question, this film is a barrage of color and eccentric characters, and can even be a bit frightening at times. Still, the key to this one are the stories and quests of the elderly Mr. Fredrickson and the young Russell, trying to earn his badge of honor. From the beginning, Disney has always had a finger on the pulse of youngsters. Here, we aren't given the usual Hollywood garbage of brainiac kids who make the adults look stupid. Instead we are given a pudgy, slightly goofy kid just trying to get his parents to take note.
Special kudos to Ed Asner for bringing Mr. Fredrickson to life ... in good times and bad. He never goes overboard and is quite often absolutely perfect. Christopher Plummer has a limited role as bad guy Charles Muntz. Or is he really so bad? Cast aside by society, he has spent his life searching for redemption.
I am not saying the kids won't enjoy, but I am saying make sure parents and grandparents tag along. You will be entertained, delighted and moved.
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