Pixar just won’t stop. Every summer, it seems, they keep making movies that look like children’s movies but in the end turn out being something far more. Last summer they showed the world Wall-E, a seemingly cute and innocent movie about robots in love, but under the surface lied a tragic tale of our world being destroyed at the hands of global warming, heartbreak, betrayal, and perhaps the easiest to relate to, obesity.
This summer we get Up, a movie that appears to be about a light-hearted tale of a floating house, an old man, and a fat Asian kid. Underneath this deceptive skin lies one of the darkest and most depressing movies I’ve ever seen. Dealing with topics like infertility, wasted lives, a broken heart, dead-beat dads and dead moms, Up is obviously not your average kids movie.
Up starts off by introducing us to two young characters named Carl and Ellie, two highly-conflicting personalities joined together by their massive imagination and love for the world’s most renowned explorer. They both have dreams of going to bigger places, the same dream most children have, but they plan to pursue their life on the edge. They are so dedicated to achieving their goal that Carl even promises Ellie he will take her there one day, going so far as to cross his heart!
From here, Up shows the lives of Carl and Ellie unfold. The two become very happily married and extremely in love, buy the abandoned asbestos filled house they played in as children, turn it into their dream house, and slowly grow old together. But what about Carl’s promise he made to Ellie as a child?
After the prestigious young married couple find out that Ellie is unable to bare children, they begin an adventure fund which they donate to as often as possible in hopes of finally being able to achieve their dreams of making it to Paradise Falls. Unfortunately some incidents occur that force them to drain their fund several times, but they keep pushing on all along trying to make their dream a reality.
Right when Carl is finally able to afford plane tickets to Paradise Falls to present to Ellie in a wonderfully romantic and sweet way that will make you “Awww” at his effort, Ellie passes away and leaves Carl as a broken and sour old man, plagued by his failure to keep the promise he made to the only woman he’d ever loved. Things get darkest when he finds himself living alone in what is now the only house left on a construction site, refusing to sell his house to the greedy businessmen.
At this point in the movie you’ll find yourself wondering what could be left to watch. You’ve already witnessed the death of who you thought was going to be one of the main characters and the beginning of the decent into depression by the other. It is obvious that Carl failed, what is left to show?
It is then that Carl gets a visitor in the form of Russel, a fat little Asian boy scout who desperately needs to acquire his final badge — assisting the elderly. Carl cleverly sends him off on a literal Snipe Hunt, an imaginary sport that old people often use to rid themselves of bothersome whippersnappers like Russel.
Now that we have our new main character, the story can finally start. Through an unlucky sequence of events, Carl is forced to inflate approximately… a lot of balloons and use them to pull his house into the sky to finally escape from everyone who bothers him and finally make his way to Paradise Falls, just him, his house, and a picture of Ellie.
Until he gets a knock on his door while suspended high above the ground by a large number of balloons. It turns out Russel found that bothersome Snipe and followed it under his house when the hole thing lifted off the ground! Now the story finally starts.
From here Carl and Russel work together to make their way to paradise falls, meeting several colorful and strange characters on the way. The first is Kevin, an exotic bird with an addiction to chocolate and a comically obnoxious squawk. Then we are introduced to Dug, a friendly pooch who is able to talk — SQUIRREL! — through his technically advanced collar built for him by his mysterious master.
So now that I’ve essentially summarized the entire first half of the film for you, I’ll leave the rest for a surprise. Sorry about that, I just got carried away.
Aside from it’s masterfully-told story, Up has an immense visual appeal. The art style is very minimalistic but colorful and detailed in proper cartoon fashion, and the film is also presented in Disney Digital 3D, a feature that will compliment the experience without ever overwhelming the viewer as a gimmick.
That was probably the worst review I’ve ever written. Oh well, you read it, not me.
Up has a great story that is full of twists and turns, breaks your heart, patches it up and breaks it again to ultimately lead to a happy and satisfying ending. The presentation in 3D is very visually pleasing and never feels like a gimmick, but rather a complimentary effect that fits the purposefully minimalistic visual style rather well.
I recommend it to regular movie goers looking for an emotionally pleasing, fun film they can enjoy with the entire family.
- Great story
- Good character development
- Visually pleasing
- 3D Presentation works very well
- Great for the whole family
- Sometimes overly tragic
- Childhood hero murderers
- Fat Asian kids
Score: 8.8/10 (Great)
Story: 8.75/10 (Very diverse, hits wide range of emotions)
Presentation: 9.0/10 (Properly minimalistic, 3D works really well)
Appeal: 8.75/10 (Anyone can watch and enjoy Up)