Friday, October 30, 2009

Up (2009)

Movie quotes:
Dug (talking dog): My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.
[Dug jumps up on Carl]
Carl: Wha. -
Dug: My master made me this collar. He is a good and smart master and he made me this collar so that I may speak - Squirrel!
[Dug interrupts himself to stare intently at something in the distance for a few long seconds]
Dug: My master is good and smart.

At a glance:
Stunning animation is used to embellish the funny and heart-lifting story of an old man who rediscovers the joy of life

Our review (with spoilers):
Carl (voiced by Edward Asner) is in the latter stages of his life. He lives alone in his tiny house, sandwiched between loud, rapidly rising skyscrapers, and endures what seem to be daily visits from people wanting to buy his house and demolish it. When he loses his temper and strikes one of them, he gets ‘invited’ into a retirement home. But Carl has a secret escape plan: on the morning of his last day in his house, thousands of tethered helium balloons are released, taking him away. Also with him is an uninvited guest: Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai),a local boy scout who happened to be on the porch when the house detached. Carl heads for South America to pursue the dream he shared with his deceased wife Ellie. Along the way, he learns to tolerate (and even love) Russell and life.

Up’s narrative has moments of weakness, but the film also has a way of touching something deep in our psyche: the fear of growing old, the sadness of dreams that are never realized, and the joy of using our ingenuity and our imagination to achieve peace and happiness. The occasional weak links in the script are dwarfed by the general good feelings and sense of wonder. The highlight of this good vibe is one long sequence, early on, as we view the life adventure of Ellie and Carl told solely and magically with images and music. The wonderful Pixar animation serves the story rather than distracting from it; of particular beauty are the ultra-realistic jungle panoramas.

Rating:  3 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"If it had lived up to its golden first five minutes, Up would have been the film of the decade. As it is, it remains the best animated flick of 2009, a funny, moving, beautifully made argument that dreamers can move mountains."
- Ian Freer (Empire Magazine)

"A hugely enjoyable work, whose care, craftsmanship and creative courage are rarely found in mainstream films — animated or otherwise."
- Cosmo Landesman (Sunday Times [UK])

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