up

June 16, 2009

“good afternoon. are you in need of any assistance today, sir?”

one thing i have learned to not do, is doubt pixar.  they are in many ways unstoppable (or from the ones i have seen so far).  they can do no wrong.  i love every single film of theirs i see, and i love it more than the one i saw before.  last year’s wall•e solidified them (and andrew stanton) as one of the biggest forces in movies (not just animation, because let’s face it….they are the kings.  except for maybe miyazaki)  today.

one thing i was not expecting when i went to see up, was how extremely serious it was.  and how quickly i was on the verge of tears in the theater (almost 10 minutes in and i was about to loose control — but i fought off the urge to wail and not make a scene).  i mean the early montage scene in this film of carl and his wife ellie, might be the greatest montage sequence i’ve seen this side of citizen kane.  it was simultaneously hilarious, heartbreaking, and truly moving.  and all without that little thing called dialogue.  and when you’d think that this would just be during the beginning, the film doesn’t stray from really difficult situations all throughout.  we learn that the main character boy of russell’s dad is out of the picture, and not to keen on reentering.  i mean we’re dealing with love, the loss of loved ones, broken families, broken homes, and broken dreams.  it’s unbelievably moving and realistic.  and all in a family film!  it’s awesome!

one thing that struck me as interesting, was how i could see this paralleled with other animated films.  i could see miyazaki’s influence all over this film.  just in the way the characters encounter other supporting role characters who all have their own certain quirks, whether it’s the dog who can talk or the bird who is named kevin but is really a girl.  or in the way they fly through a house greatly reminded me of howl’s moving castle or castle in the sky.  i also just felt like this film held form to classic adventure cartoons.  i felt like i had seen the story (in terms of structure) a bunch of times, but rather than that becoming redundant for me i found extremely nostalgic.  and i think that’s what the film is relying on.  it’s interested in this sort of time period right from the beginning, of recreating something from your childhood.  of becoming a part of your memory and bringing back the joy of what once consumed you.

one thing that i thought could be improved was that the villain in the film could have been a little more drawn out and complex.  it seems odd that at once he’s happy to see the main characters, and then turns into a man bent on murder.  i felt i didn’t understand enough of his motivation, or his motivation wasn’t great enough, for me to really get where he’s coming from or why he would react the way he reacted.  that being said, it wasn’t a huge problem i had and was really able to enjoy the film in spite of it.

one thing i would say to you if you were considering going to see up: do it.  it’s one of the best film of the year by far, and i think you will be pleasantly surprised at how the film deals with complex emotional problems while at the same time being a great action/adventure children’s story.

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