Starring: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Christopher Plummer, Delroy Lindo
Written By: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Directed By: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Studio: Disney/ Pixar
Buy on Amazon.com
When I originally saw the trailer for Up, I didn’t know what to think of it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go see it or not. Since Up was getting excellent word of mouth from critics, I decided to see the movie on opening weekend in 3-D. I’m glad I saw it that way, because Up was one of the best movies of the year! Pixar continues to make impressive movies that both adults and children can enjoy and Up is one of those movies!
Up opens up with a flashback to Carl Fredricksen’s childhood as a young, shy boy who loves adventure. Carl meets a young girl named Ellie who’s outgoing and adventurous. They share a common interest: Charles Muntz, a world explorer & inventor who sets off for South America to capture a 13 foot tall exotic bird. He ends up staying in South America since he was considered a phony. Over time, Carl and Ellie grow up together and get married. Carl works at a balloon stand and Ellie at the local zoo. The couple wants to escape together to South America to Paradise Falls, where they will live happily ever after. Sadly, Ellie passes away of old age and they can’t go to Paradise Falls together. After Ellie passing, Carl turns into a grump old man who just wants to be left alone. Their house they have lived in their whole lives is surrounded by tall skyscrapers and builders are trying to remove it.
After Carl is forced to go into a retirement community, he escapes in his house (tied to thousands of balloons) and heads to Paradise Falls. Only problem is that he brought along Russell, a Wilderness Explorer scout. Carl has no choice but to bring him along. When they get to South America, Russell finds a tall exotic bird and names it Kevin. It turns out the bird is the same one Charles Muntz has been looking for all those years. A lovable, dumb golden retriever dog named Dug tags along too. Dug has a collar that voices Dug’s thoughts. Dug actually belongs to Charles Muntz, who has trained a legion of dogs to find the bird. Carl ends up getting caught up in a battle with Charles Muntz to save Kevin’s life, while still trying to live out his days at Paradise Falls.
I didn’t think the next Pixar movie would be able to top Wall-e but Up certainly does! Up made me laugh like a child and cry like an adult. That’s the power of Pixar, having films that appeal to everyone. Most of their movies deal with a lot of adult things, but I felt Up had a lot of themes we haven’t seen yet in a Pixar movie. Death and not being able to have a child were 2 things that come to mind. It’s heartbreaking to see those things, especially in an animated movie but we needed to see why Carl is so grumpy. I know I’d be the same way if lived through those things. Everything about Up was great: the animation was unbelievable (especially in 3-D), the story was sweet & entertaining, the voice-over cast was small but effective, and the characters were all very likable.
Ed Asner and Jordan Nagai were terrific, so were Christopher Plummer and Bob Peterson. Ed plays a cranky old man very well, newcomer Jordan Nagai voice was fitting to the character. I actually liked that the kid wasn’t the smartest person on the screen (for once!). Bob’s voice for Dug was perfect, and it made me giggle when Dug would “speak.” Just simple lines like “I just met you, and I love you” and “I do not like the cone of shame” made me howl with laughter. He’s definitely my favorite part of the film. All the dogs speaking were great and very funny. Whenever they pop their heads up and thinking they saw a squirrel just makes me giggle every time I see it. “SQUIRREL!”
As far as the direction is concerned, Pete Docter and Bob Peterson delivered on all counts. The film is just stunningly beautiful and very realistic. At times, I couldn’t tell I was watching an animated movie. The balloons were detailed, the South American background was gorgeous; even the detail in Russell’s Boy Scout badges was executed well. Pixar and their animators always design in fine detail. One other notable thing to discuss is Michael Giacchino’s wonderful score to the movie. The score had to be strong because at times, there isn’t any dialogue. During certain emotional scenes, the music certainly played a factor in me losing it at least twice. If you get a chance to listen to the score by itself, do so.
Even though this is a Blu-Ray/DVD combo set, I only have a DVD player so I can’t discuss how it looked on Blu-Ray. The film looks excellent on DVD so I can only imagine how it will look on Blu-Ray. The bonus features were okay for the DVD but I wished there was more. There’s a new animated short film featuring Dug. Dug’s “Special Mission” featurette is pretty much the back story on how Dug meets up with Carl and Russell. It’s a cute animated short with a nice homage to old Disney animated shorts in the beginning. I wish Pixar would release a bunch of animated shorts like Disney did back in the day, and air them on TV or before general movie releases. Other extras include a 20 minute featurette on the Pixar team going to Venezuela to do research on South America, animated short “Partly Cloudy,” and alternate endings of Charles Muntz. Obviously the Blu-Ray has more in terms of extras so I’d recommend getting that if own a player.
Up has something for everyone; it has romance, sadness, adventure, thrills, comedy, and talking dogs. Pixar clearly knows how to make wonderful films and Up is just another example of their excellence. SQUIRREL!
Disc 1: Blu-ray
Dug’s Special Mission Short
Partly Cloudy Theatrical Short
Cine-Explore: The Making Of Up
The Many Endings Of Muntz: Alternate Scenes
Disc 2: Exclusive Blu-ray Bonus
Global Guardian Badge Game
8 All-New Documentaries
Disc 3: Standard DVD
Plus DVD Bonus Features!
Includes Digital Copy Of Up For Portable Media Players
Widescreen 1.78:1 Color
ENGLISH: DTS-HD 5.1
ENGLISH: DTS-HD Stereo
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Spanish, French
Bottom Line: Pixar has done it again!
Running Time: 96 mins