Rated PG for some peril and action.
Written and Directed By: Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Staring: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Delroy Lindo, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger, and Elie Docter
My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you. -Dug
Yep. Pixar does it again. Do I sound like a broken record? For all you youngin’s who missed the generation of vinyl, a record would play the same spot over and over again on occasion, and while there is nothing similar about one Pixar film to another, there is certainly a consistency for bringing out incredible heartfelt ingenuity in a way that hasn’t even been close to accomplished or created. I sit, dumbfounded, yet again, by Up, which is very likely my favorite Pixar film, and certainly easily fits in my TOP FIVE of 2009 so far, and in contention for the #1 spot. I laughed, felt my heart wilt, and was genuinely entertained on multiple levels. Have I mentioned this is an animated film for kids, and that my four and six year old got just as much out of it as I did? Not many films are this dynamic or good enough to flourish such a feat with such ease.
The first fifteen minutes was just as remarkable as Wall-E’s intro, but instead of visually, just such an honest depiction of a couples life together, the trials, mortality, and the reflection of an entire life of dreams, hopes, and happiness together. When tragedy is met I declare you soulless if you don’t feel a lump rise in your throat. This is no allegory of fantasy Disney Cinderella love. It is authentic, and doesn’t feel contrived for one minute. It’s at this point where the adult audience is going to develop an empathy for our Curmudgeon hero, while the youth is going to be laughing at his tennis ball walker and round nose.
Just as heartfelt as “Up” is, it is equally matched by hysterical humor. If Kevin and Dug don’t have you laughing, well, I’m inclined to believe you don’t have a laugh box. Kevin doesn’t even speak but says mountains more without any human dialogue. The exploration of the simplicity of a dogs loyalty and desire for attention, love, and acceptance is funny because it’s so accurately displayed.
“I hid under your porch because I love you.”
Sometimes things are what they are, and a dog having the ability to “speak” doesn’t translate any differently what their eager faces already says. This makes for great comedy, but I’m sure dog lovers alike went home and let their dogs give them sloppy kisses. It made me miss my dog. That aside and all the obvious undertones, the adventure of the story itself was exciting and never lost your attention for even a moment. The writers and directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson were not afraid to let music and silence tell the story instead of overloading scenes with action or dialogue, which is one of the great leaps that separates Pixar from Dreamworks and other production companies that don’t seem to reach the levels of wonder that Pixar films tend to exude.
To add to the entertainment, we have this epic landscape and wondrous visual paradise to absolve ourselves in. I’ve been pretty impressed with some of Dreamworks animation as of late, but then I see “Up”, and following the masterpiece of Wall-E, I think it may have surpassed the visual eye candy of even that. After twenty minutes of the movie my oldest son goes, “Wow, this is a cartoon, I didn’t know.” Take that realism and then shift it to the extraordinary world of a balloon floating house to “South America”. But the realism doesn’t fully dissipate and the fantasy translates as being so amazing it’s real.
A kids flick shouldn’t be capable of putting so many different themes and emotions on the table. It makes me remember Old Disney, back when it actually made magical movies that were inspired. Pixar movies touch me in a very adult way, but tap into the child in me like no other film company I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. It is simultaneously an escape and acknowledgment of reality in a world we know and don’t know. I have nothing negative to say about “Up”, and am enthused as a moviegoer to get to have these wonderful experiences every time I see a film made by Pixar. This is a movie for everyone.