Could I have looked even more like a child predator this afternoon, sitting by myself in the back of a theater filled with kids, with two pairs of glasses on? Probably not. Also, my neck has been jacked lately, so I’m sure constantly rubbing it and twitching my head didn’t help. No shame though, I fell in love with Pixar at age 13 and Chris Hansen himself couldn’t keep me away from their latest, Up. The movie tells the story of Carl Frederickson (Ed Asner), a retired balloon salesman coping with the death of his wife, Ellie. All his life, Carl dreamed of taking Ellie to her dream vacation spot in Paradise Falls, South America. After she passes, the Frederickson’s home is threatened by developers, so Carl decides to remedy his regrets by filling up a fuck-load of balloons with helium and flying the house to Paradise Falls, where Ellie always dreamed of retiring. After taking off, Carl discovers that a small Asian boy named Russell has stowed away. Oh, the adventures they have…
The movie starts with a montage depicting the romance between Ellie and Carl and is seriously the most depressing 10 minutes of cinema, but also displays Pixar’s proclivity for master storytelling. One of my problems with the movie is that it shifts tones frequently and quickly. Thematically, Up is pretty schizophrenic; there’s almost too much going on sometimes. But like every other Pixar movie, the rights overshadow the wrongs like whoa.
Visually the movie is a fucking beast – it is Pixar, after all. It’s presented in “Disney Digitial 3D,” and unlike other 3D movies that just get obnoxious at times, Up uses the format to simply pull the foreground closer to the audience. There are some shots in Paradise Falls that are flat-out jaw-dropping and the animation on the balloons is some of the most realistic I’ve ever seen. The character designs are great, especially for the grizzled, imposing Carl who would just come off as a mean old bastard if it wasn’t for Asner’s performance.
It’s been a good weekend for movies.- Patrick Cooper