Up [Filmmakers Bleed]
June 16th, 2009 by Dan

It’s down to me to man the EBW Fort today, so today I think I’m gonna get in some quick words about Pixar’s latest movie, Up. There be spoilers here, so turn back if you don’t want to read them, mateys.

After seeing it on opening weekend, Eric said the following to me “Worst Pixar movie yet,” but the critics were saying something else entirely, so the stage was set. I’d have to go and find out for myself. I knew very little about the premise, just what I’d gathered from a few quick snippets on the movie screen, namely that the protagonist was some old dude and that he left in a flying house with some little boy scout kid. Sounded like a pretty thin plot.

In reality, it is a pretty thin plot. The main old dude, Carl, was a big fan of this adventurer dude, Charles Muntz, as was this girl he met in his childhood named Ellie. They plan on exploring some part of South America together, but never get the chance to in the heartbreaking opening due to various financial reasons. When Ellie dies, Carl is the stereotypical crotchety old man and he’s about to get sent to an old folk’s home when he has the brilliant idea to take his house to the skies using balloons. Russell, an Asian boy scout analog, ends up stowing away on the house by accident because he’s trying to earn his “assisting the elderly” merit badge.

What follows is partially predictable, Carl and Russell have their generational gap problems, Carl is curmudgeonly, and they find some bird that is exotic and being hunted by the villain who is, predictably, Charles Muntz. The unpredictable comes in the form of the talking dogs. Muntz has technology that allows his gigantic packs of dogs to communicate with each other, but the beauty of the innovation is that the dogs speak with about the same sophistication that you’d expect a dog to have. They’re obsessed with squirrels, loyalty to their master, and the pack mentality. The dogs, between Dug and Alpha, are also the funniest parts of the movie.

Pixar has this tremendous ability to rip your heart out of your chest, throw it on the ground, stomp on it, and then create a new, more loving heart to fit right into the old gap that they left earlier in the movie. Up gets dark, real quick, but then repairs all the damage done literally within the first fifteen minutes over the rest of the movie. While it doesn’t heal all wounds, mostly some of the ones regarding Russell’s father, it does leave you feeling happy at the end and I’d rate it fairly high on the Pixar movie scale. It’s definitely worth seeing, so go catch it while you can.

NOTE: I did not see the 3D version, so I have no input on that.

3 Responses  
  • Eric Mesa writes:
    June 17th, 200913:58at

    You do an interesting review here that reminds me of the ones I’ve often read in video game reviews that cause me to do a double-take. Mainly you say the movie is predictable and then go on to say it was agreat pixar movie. Those seem to be mutually exclusive to me.

    • Dan writes:
      June 17th, 200914:03at

      Predictable != bad, it’s just not hyper original. Most movies don’t really surprise me at this point, but it doesn’t keep me from liking them.

      For example, I’m sure that The Dark Knight was plenty predictable for you, at least in how certain situations would play out, but I still loved it and I think you did too.

      WALL-E was also totally predictable and we both loved that.

  • Eric Mesa writes:
    June 17th, 200914:23at

    I find it odd that you say the plot is predictable, while also saying the movie is good. I find those two to be mutually incompatible.

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