It's a common occurrence for me to watch a movie at the cinema, but as a result it is a very rare one indeed for a film to be placed on the mantle of my favourite movies ever. It takes a lot of work to arrive at this position; what my favourite movies require is a bit of heart, intriguing characters and a brilliant concept to boot. Not every movie has all of these in one basket, however, and as such the mantle is still a great honour to achieve. Up has made it to this position, and while I expected no less of a Pixar movie, they gave me so much more.
Lord Krunk Reviews #12: Up
Before I begin this review, let me give a short nod to Pixar's always brilliantly written pre-feature shorts, which always succeed in lightening and shaping the mood that makes the movie more enjoyable than it already is. This segment, titled Partly Cloudy, runs wild with the stork myth that parents tell young kids and poses the question; who delivers the babies of the world's most dangerous creatures?
It's light, funny and most of all sets the bright and colourful setting (and the darker side) of Up. One can't help but feel sorry for the poor stork though.
Up chronicles the adventures of Carl Fredricksen, an elderly widower with a failed dream, as he sets out to fulfil it by travelling to Paradise Falls, South America by transforming his house into a makeshift hot air balloon. But just as he is beginning to relax in his new life, he discovers that he is also harbouring a stowaway boy scout named Russell. And while Carl is intent on fulfilling his dream regardless, the duo soon discover that sunny Paradise Falls isn't as inviting as it sounds...
Seriously, who wouldn't want an army of talking dogs?
I could go on forever about the story, but I won't. Suffice to say that not only does it work beautifully, but I actually found myself shedding a tear on two occasions (if you've seen the movie, you'll know exactly which two). The characters, too, have their own endearing qualities, from the determined widower Carl and the boisterous and irritating Russell, to the paranoid genius Charles Muntz and his henchman, the hilariously not-quite-evil Dug. This incredible storytelling even manages to increase your willing suspension of disbelief to extraordinary levels, which is quite a feat on the most part. Like most Pixar movies, Up has a rather predictable ending, but the journey they take you on from start to finish ensures that you hardly notice it at all.
Another thing that has impressed me is Pixar's use of 3D; rather than using it merely as a gimmick to lure kids in and make things jump at you randomly, they instead use it to determine physical depth, for example, distinguishing the foreground, middleground and background with extraordinary detail. I must give them kudos for this; Up has taken this concept and evolved into something that I can see working for many animations - hell, live-action movies - in the future. With top-notch animation, stunning visuals and creative art, this only helps to further my belief all the more.
Pixar has also improved on my only qualm with their 2008 film WALL-E, which was with the movie's length (or therein lack of). And while I'm uncertain of the difference in length of WALL-E and Up, the latter did feel like it was the perfect length. Think of Valve's Portal here. It may be short by normal standards (or my own preferences), but it's too good for you to care.
About 10 seconds after this scene was when I started tearing up. You will too, else you have no soul.
With this excellent pedigree mounted on the shoulders of this equally excellent movie, there remains the question of what's wrong with the film. And really, the only nipicks I have (such as the infeasibility of flying a house on balloons and being able to pilot it to South America of all places) aren't even worth noting as a children's film is still a children's film, no matter how much the older generations enjoy it.
All in all though, Up has everything on its side. Tragedy and drama for the adults, imagination out the wazoo for the kids, and characters that both will love to death. This is one of the (if not the) greatest Pixar films ever made, and considering their track record, I can safely assure you that you will love it.
Bottom Line: If you're in Australia, watch it. If you're in America, where I believe the DVD is coming out very soon, I would recommend that you watch it (or better, buy it) too if you haven't seen it already.
EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot, Feedback would be great. I review to improve, and you guys are my audience. Thanks for reading!