Movie Review 10: Up

The GF and I saw Pixar's Up in 3D a couple days ago. I'm glad I saw it, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

The movie stars Ed Asner as an old man who tries to move his house to South America by using helium balloons to rip it from its foundation. Along the way he meets a little boy who misses his father, a multi-colored bird who misses her kids, and a talking dog who misses his self-respect. They have adventures.

The 3D version of the film was excellent. The effects appeared natural, and at only a few points did the director throw in something that screams, "YOU ARE WATCHING THIS IN 3D!!" It was well done.

The animation, of course was flawless, and the actors seem believable.

The movie is only 96 minutes long, but they pack a lot of stuff into it. At times the pace seemed to lag, but not to a bothersome level.

Technically the film and script are well executed, but I can't say I love it. The reason is that there is too much pain in this movie. The pain exists on several levels. For one thing, we watch a bunch of dogs plummet off a cliff (presumably they all survive). The most vibrant and lively character dies in the first 5-10 minutes of the movie. There is a fire taking away more things from people.

The pain exists at an internal level as well. The movie is riddled with broken promises and bad choices. Characters are forced to choose between two important commitments. In that way the film is less about hope and more about regret.

The pain and regret and missed opportunities the characters feel are visceral. It hits you in the gut. And that's what makes this movie so hard to love.

It has light moments. There are plenty of sight gags and humorous quips. They even grab a sequence of dialog straight from Star Wars ("Red 5 standing by..."). And the dogs have some great moments when they're not plummeting into rivers. The recurring "Squirrel!" gag was great every time.

And the big hand to hand combat scene between two senior citizens was hilarious.

It's interesting to see Pixar going in this more adult direction. In some places, going dark works well for them. WALL-E was excellent. It had its rough moments but remained an uplifting film overall. The Incredibles did the same thing.

But Up doesn't quite do that. It's technically a great movie, but I just don't love it like I do many other films. Perhaps that's just my issue as I get a little older, but there's not enough in the end to redeem it for me or make me feel like the journey was really worth it.

The comic relief and the happy ending don't supply quite enough helium to lift my heart at the end of the movie.

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Joe-ann said...

hmm..I'm about to watch the this film yet...=)

Cromely said...

@Joe-ann: I'm glad I saw it, and I know people who loved. Hopefully you'll enjoy it more than I.