Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Up, Up, Up and Away

Disney Pixar's Up comes out on DVD today. And if you're going out to buy a new release, I suggest you make this one your choice. I know, I know. It's an animated film, and you may usually avoid these. But Up is not your average animated film. You don't have to believe me. I'm not the only one. The movie has a 98% rating on the well respected critic database Rotten Tomatoes -- the highest ranking for any wide release movie of 2009.

Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.), the movie tells the story of Carl Fredricksen, voiced by the legendary Ed Asner, a grumpy old man who decides to honor the memory of his dead wife by moving their home to a place known as Paradise Falls. To accomplish the feat, he ties about a million helium balloons to his house that lift it up off the ground (hence the name Up). A local boy, Russell, accidentally gets dragged along with Carl and his house. The two end up on quite an unusual adventure -- full of massive exotic birds, talking dogs, and even Carl's lifelong hero, famed explorer Charles F. Muntz (voiced by Christopher Plummer whose filmography is practically endless, but you may remember him best as Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music).

Up may very well be the funniest computer animated movie of all time (I would actually probably pick A Bug's Life as my personal choice, but I realize I'm in in a very small minority). The talking dogs and Russell are especially funny. But the reason Up stands apart from its peers isn't the fact that it's a funny movie. It's the fact that, unlike most animated movies, its plot is so emotionally mature. It's not just for kids. The movie actually develops its characters, and the relationships between Carl and Russell and Carl and his dead wife are very well done. There were actually several people crying in the theater at points. And if the movie doesn't touch you, maybe the story of Pixar fulfilling a dying girl's last wish to see the movie will.

Bottom line: I know that my praise for this movie may seem like a little much. But trust me when I say that it's an animated movie that isn't just worth seeing but is actually really good. (B+)

Here's the preview:

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