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ISBS Movie Review: Up

By Brian | June 11, 2009 | Share on Facebook

Perhaps the only thing wrong with Pixar’s latest movie, Up, is that it’s a Pixar movie, and as such, parents of young children might expect a light-hearted romp with a mild morality lesson at the end like Cars or Toy Story. What they get instead is somewhere between Finding Nemo and Hamlet (OK, a lot closer to Finding Nemo, but make no mistake – this is heavy stuff).

Our story concerns a young boy who is painfully complacent. He watches movies and newsreels about great adventurers and their adventures, but his idea of an adventure is jumping over a crack in the sidewalk or pretending his helium balloon is an explorer’s aircraft. He meets other kids who are more daring, and although he desperately wants to be like them, it’s just not inside of him. Most of the time, he can’t even bring himself to speak. He just watches life go by.

The young boy eventually grows up, marries a nice girl, and lives a dull, ordinary life as a balloon salesman at the local carnival. In his elder years, his wife dies, leaving him all alone in their tiny little house with nothing but his memories of her and his regrets about all the “adventures” they never got to take together.

A real family fun-fest, huh?

From there, we have a bit more of what you’d expect from a Pixar movie. The man decides to go on one honest-to-goodness adventure before he dies, so he rigs his house with thousands of helium balloons and flies it to South America (obviously, one of his lifelong regrets is never having taken a high school physics class, but I digress). Turns out a boy scout is on his porch when he takes off, and along the way, they run into a pack of talking dogs, a giant, multi-colored bird, and one of the adventurers of the man’s youth. The ending is satisfying and touching, and I won’t ruin it for you here.

Up is excellent film making in just about every way. The characters are multi-layered and expressive. Good acting, except that they’re all animated, so there isn’t any acting at all (at least not physically). The story is well written, although there are a few “why did that happen?” moments, but nothing I couldn’t forgive for the greater good. And, of course, the movie looks fantastic. Pixar is truly Disney’s high-end brand now, and Up is no exception. I saw the 3-D version, which was understated enough to enhance the movie without distracting from it (if you have the opportunity to see it in 2-D, go for it – I don’t think you really miss much in this case).

As for the heavy stuff, yes – it is a bit stark, but no more so than Nemo’s mother or Simba’s father dying in Finding Nemo and The Lion King. As long as you (and your kids) know what you’re getting into, I don’t think there’s anything in this film that would be off-putting or inappropriate.

And if they get a little scared? Just tell them to wait for the talking dogs.


Topics: Movie Talk | 1 Comment »

One Response to “ISBS Movie Review: Up”

  1. Konstantin says at June 11th, 2009 at 9:17 am :
    My 5 year old loved it. Hse stayed glued to the screen the whole time. Granted, she might not have understood everything, but going through our dog’s death not too long ago I am willing to give her more credit in understanding what’s going on.


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