Directed by: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Written by: Bob Peterson
Starring: Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger
I do like the Pixar. I don’t believe everything they turn out is pure gold, but I am impressed with their success rate. Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo are practically flawless. At the same time, I wasn’t a big fan of Cars or Ratatouille. And, honestly, I can’t say I was really looking forward to Up. Precocious child teaches cranky old guy to love. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. And, for the most part, that’s the story. What I didn’t expect was the emotional depth involved. If I were still capable of human emotions, I might even have shed a tear or two. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. Pixar has a knack for mining original and untapped veins of emotional drama, from separation anxiety to the fickle nature of a child’s love to the heartbreak of being left behind by the modern world. In Up, crotchety old Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner) decides to embark on one last attempt to live the life he and his late wife always dreamed of. Pretty heady stuff for a kids’ movie. But that’s where Pixar excels, combining just enough emotional content for adults and cutesy merchandising opportunities for the kids.
Will kids want a geriatric action figure? Since he’s involved in some pretty intense action sequences, it’s a definite possibility. Like I said, the generational odd couple is familiar territory, but I was definitely drawn in by the characters and the emotional needs they fulfilled in each other. Clever, charming and sincere in its message, Up succeeds as a character-driven action/adventure film with a surprising amount of heart. While death-defying adventure is nice, Up contends that quiet moments with the people you love are just as rewarding. (I am not going to cry. I am not going to cry.)
On the FBOTU Scale of Fabulousness, I give Up 4 out of 5 cranky elderly emoticons:
P.S. I saw the film in 3D, and while it’s not essential to the film’s success, it did make for a vibrant and engaging movie-going experience.