From the very beginning, Up has all the promise of a masterpiece. The first eleven minutes, detailing Carl and Ellie’s life together, have been rightfully hailed as a high point in animation history. The rest of the film is similarly brilliant, just in a very different way from most of Pixar’s canon, contrasting the beautiful opening with utter cartoonish wackiness.
Like WALL-E, Up is rather controversial for me. I consider it another Pixar classic, worthy of its Oscar nomination for Best Picture, while my VC was left cold. She certainly enjoyed everything pertaining to Ellie but felt the random inclusion of a giant “snipe” (my dad once fell for that same snipe joke) and talking dogs was just too silly to swallow. She also has poked holes in the plot, such as the fact that Muntz was still alive, since he must have been in his nineties; maybe he found the fountain of youth down in South America, or the Holy Grail. While the film was unique for featuring an elderly protagonist, even I have to admit that Carl’s and Muntz’s athleticism toward the end did strain credulity. While these issues sadly spoiled the film for her, I can overlook them with the help of Coleridge’s famous concept, the suspension of disbelief. Some people got it; some don’t.
I have more of an issue with Russell’s thin attachment to the giant bird he names “Kevin.” The relationship doesn’t seem to be any deeper than that of an owner and pet, yet Russell is willing to risk his life for the pet he found days before. What’s more, he blames Carl for “giving her away” when he did no such thing. Considering the situation, Muntz would have captured the bird regardless of Carl’s actions, so Russell’s guilt trip seemed unjustified and unfair.
All right, now that I got that out of my system, I’ll mention the gorgeous animation, the excellent voice acting (led by Ed Asner as Carl, Christopher Plummer as Muntz, and Bob Peterson as the squirrel-distracted dog Dug), the high-flying action sure to give someone acrophobia, and Michael Giacchino’s buoyant score. The main idea of a mobile dwelling that ends up damaged and abandoned may have been borrowed from Howl’s Moving Castle, of which director Pete Docter directed the English translation as well, but the plot is otherwise wholly original and frequently inspired.
Up isn’t quite on par with Pixar’s greatest work, but it’s an animated gem that earns both laughs and tears and has a timely message about life’s real adventures that tugs my heartstrings every time.
Best line: (Russell, after describing a simple pleasure he had with his dad) “That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.”Artistry: 9 Characters/Actors: 7 Entertainment: 7 Visual Effects: 10 Originality: 9 Watchability: 7 Other (aforementioned issues): -3 TOTAL: 46 out of 60
Next: #163 – Enchanted
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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