Monday, June 1, 2009

Review - Up

Carl Fredrickson a 78-year-old widowed man ties thousands of helium filled ballons to his house in order to live out a life-long dream of traveling to South America. Mr. Fredrickson soon finds out that his he not alone on his adventure when a knock on the front door reveals Russell, a local neighborhood wilderness explorer who is dedicated to assisting the elderly man.

"Up" is one of Pixar's best animated films to date. The film grabs a hold of you from the very get-go with a emotional opening (the best start to any Pixar film) and does not let go until the final credits have rolled. Pixar once again, proves why it is a cut above the other animation studios out there, creating a tale that is absolutely fun for the whole family and never disappointing in the slightest.

"Up" tells an engaging story that is filled with wonderful characters who create great laughs for all ages. The main character Carl Fredrickson is a perfect embodiment of a regretful aging man. Screenwriter and co-director Bob Peterson did a masterful job of connecting the viewer with Fredrickson in the opening of the film. Young Fredrickson was so imaginative and watching him interact with young Ellie was very heart-warming to say the least. Watching the montage of Ellie and Carl growing old together was extremely bitter-sweet and had me in tears quickly, more so it had me and the rest of the audience completely attached to Carl Fredrickson and wherever the story was going to go. Edward Asner was also the perfect voice of Carl. Asner is a legendary actor who has graced television and film since the 1950's and he did a superb job of nailing the at times grumpy old man hellbent on finsihing his and dream.

The rest of the characters in "Up" are also done with that particular percision Pixar touch we have all grown to love. Russell, Carl's stowaway, is absolutely hiliarious throughout the 96 minute adventure. Pixar did a fantastic job of delivering the budding relationship between Carl and Russell, one which at times is laugh-out-loud funny and also very touching. Newcomer Jordan Nagai does a capable job of voicing the character and Pixar's animation is of course, flawless. The dogs are also very funny in the film. Doug, who is voiced by Pixar regular Bob Peterson is a real treat. He's the character I think kids will like the best and it seemed that everytime he spoke (with the use of the talking collar), the entire audience was laughing. Most notably, "squirrel" which would constant produce laughs, while also getting each and every dog's instant attention.

"Up" marks the first Pixar film to ultilize 3D animation and the result is incredibly superior to other 3D animated films previously released. Pixar instead of using gimmicks to pop-out at the viewer, uses 3D like a window for the viewer to gaze into. This provided for a rich cinematic experience where everything on screen is vivdly textured providing real depth and a much more realistic world. Like Pixar's other 9 films, the animation is absolutely amazing. Their attention to detail is always impressive and more times than not I find myself staring at how incredibly real certain things look. Here I was most impressed with Russell's wilderness explorer badges. The threads surrounding each badge looked incredibly real and popped out at the viewer like stars do in the night sky.

What makes Pixar films so enjoyable is their keen ability not only to tell engaging and touching stories that are beautifully animated, but to create such elaborate characters. Characters that regardless of whether they are human, alien or animal they are easily connectable to each and every viewer. Every single Pixar film has had this with most of their characters and here in "Up" nothing has changed. You will fall in love with each and every character here in "Up" and without a doubt, you'll walk out reminising their adventures.