Up is touchingly good.

Y’know, if Pixar continues with this, I might really need to stop going to the cinemas to watch their movies because crying in public is kinda embarrassing.

But yeah, I just watched Up and this is the second Pixar movie since The Incredibles that I am really liking. Last year’s WALL-E was a tour-de-force in raising awareness of environmental issues and really giving a good addition to the really small sci-fi animation movie genre. Up really continues the Pixar ball rolling and tells of a touching tale without being too sappy yet in a very much escapist fantasy manner. Really, it’s not everyday you see a whole house floating on balloons.

The part I really like about the movie is the first fifteen minutes with the long exposition of Carl’s life from his childhood to marrying his wife, Ellie and their trials and tribulations ending with her untimely death. It expertly grounds the movie in the reality and gives Carl a much more human side to him as we get to know from the start of the movie of why he becomes a ‘grumpy old man’. It also serves to really connect the audience instantly to Carl and makes them more forgiving for the actions he takes later on.

The rest of the movie then goes on to the present ‘grumpy’ Carl and the introduction to Russell, the active, slighly overweight but enthusiastic Wilderness Explorer. Russell’s character provides a very good foil to the wizened and cynical Carl with his energy, which can seem to be annoying in the beginning. But despite that, Russell’s intentions are all well-meant which is a realistic, albeit slightly over-optimistic view of kids nowadays, made even more poignant when framed against the revelation later on that Russell only just wants to see his father, who is divorced already, again.

The main antagonist of the movie is Charles Muntz, Carl’s childhood hero, and it’s where some of the realism of the movie escapes. It’s quite hard to believe that there’s a 92 year old man surviving in the jungles of South America for 70 years, even more so when its shown that he’s managed to train a whole army of dogs that do everything for him, from cooking to piloting fighter planes. Undeniably, it does provide a level of excitement to the movie with the battles between our heroes and his dogs.

I guess I won’t spoil it anymore for readers who haven’t watched it yet, but suffice to say, this a movie well-worth your ticket price. Definite shoo-in for best animated feature of the year.

15 Comments

  1. Sapo Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 5:07 am

    Well, I’m not too sure that ambientalism is the main theme of WALL-E.
    When I watched it the thing that strike me the most was the humanity aboard the ship, leaving a perfect but inhuman life, where interpersonal relations didn’t really exist.
    And that’s a clear metaphor of how nowadays technology is making relations cold and distant (IM vs RL for example).
    I think WALL-E really did a great job of putting together a bit of ambientalism, social critics and a good love story… between two robots.

    I can’t comment on Up because where I live it hasn’t yet premiered (and that sucks =_=)

  2. Akira Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 7:26 am

    I definitely agree on all points.

    One thing I noticed is that adults, like you and me, like the first fifteen minutes and the relationship between Carl and Ellie. While kids like some of the more humorous elements like the dog Doug. So Up works for all ages – just for different reasons.

  3. Bill Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 8:41 am

    UP is awesome

  4. Yumeka Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 8:53 am

    I really liked Up too, and the other Pixar movies you mentioned, The Incredibles and Wall-E. Pixar is really the only American animation studio I trust to make good works anymore since everything switched to CG animation. Every now and then another studio will make a good movie but I think Pixar has had the most.

  5. kaye Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 8:54 am

    I am still raging over the fact that I have to wait for Up to be released on DVD and Blu-ray to see it. T____T

  6. Avisch Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 9:24 am

    Me and my friends felt the first 15 minutes were utterly flawless, being able to make us connected to the main character in such a short time (sort of you mentioned already).

    The rest of the movie wasn’t too bad, but it was more childish and kid friendly.

  7. Kairu Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 9:32 am

    I cried manly tears. ;___;

  8. Christina Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    I watched this movie with my sisters and all but one of us cried during the first fifteen minutes. Anytime it looked like something bad was going to happen to the house I started bawling like a baby. My favorite character in this was definitely Carl but I remember feeling so bad for him. I’m going to buy it on DVD as soon as possible.

    p.s. WALL E was awesome, the best animated sequence in it was when him and EVE were flying in outer space. So sweet.

  9. Panther Said,

    August 22, 2009 @ 11:55 am

    As what Akira said, it is a movie for all ages. I liked the first part too, seeing as how sad Carl started out made me empathize totally with him even when he knocked that guy’s head near the beginning. Why he did it was so obvious to those who knew the history behind it, yet it would obviously have seemed a blatant act in others’ views.

    Up certainly was very good, well worth seeing at the big screen. Pixar is awesome.

  10. Kaitune Said,

    August 23, 2009 @ 4:04 am

    The first 15 minutes is more emotional than many actual drama films I have ever seen. I started bawling at the end of it. I recommended it to my family, and apparently, even both of my grandparents went to see it and loved it very much. That’s what I like best about Pixar. They are so good at making something that both kids and adults can enjoy.

  11. bgsm Said,

    August 23, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

    Agreed with this post, Kuro.
    Those 15 minutes have been short, but they were very emotional.
    I thought with the fast pace of things in there, we would miss some important points.
    That’s the part I’m amazed the most.

  12. Maserbeam Said,

    August 23, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

    God.. you guys make me want to actually go out of my house and rent it now.

  13. Taka Said,

    August 24, 2009 @ 2:48 am

    I never got over the first 15minutes of the film. It colored the whole thing for me :-(

  14. TakashiD Said,

    August 26, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

    i dont usually comment but i had to say that i LOVED the first fifteen minutes! it was such a brillant way to give us backstory on carl and attach us to him emotionally! i was stunned by how deep it was and showed so much of his life. I went into the theater excepcting a great movie and actually got more then i excpected from this movie.

  15. Isamu Said,

    August 27, 2009 @ 4:56 am

    I loved the first fifteen minutes, liked the Partly Cloudy short just before the movie, but the entire movie in generall .. no, it doesn’t live up to my expectations at all.

    I admit my expectations are high but that’s mainly because of Wall-E, which I liked best last year despite being a Bruce Wayne fanboy. Wall-E just had everything, the story, the subtlety, the message,.. while Up feels more direct in some ways, which do not leave me as speechless as Wall-E did when it ended.

    Anyway, just a rant, most of my friends think Up is uber great. Probably my taste is off.

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