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Brilliant, another Pixar home run
colan30 May 2009
If there's a list of great computer animation movies of all time, Pixar would dominate most of the top positions. Great story, great voice talent, great timing, great for all ages. It'd be hard to pick just one above another and perhaps another viewing of Up may be in order to figure out where I'd place it among so much stellar work.

Up is by far the most emotional human drama of any Pixar movies thus far, very heavy, so much so if you're looking for pure fun with some jaw-dropping chase and/or thematic scenes and no downer moments, Up may not be for you. I saw it in a packed theatre of about a 65% adult, 35% adult split audience and it's the only time I can remember being in ANY animated movie where there was sniffles and watery eyes, and that was within the first 10 minutes of the movie. There's an undercurrent of life after losing a loved one in this movie, which I don't feel gives anything away. It's pretty heavy subject matter, Pixar handles it, like they do everything they touch, incredibly well, but it doesn't make it any less sad to have the material threaded throughout much of the movie you're reminded of it, but I suppose it's up to one's own interpretation of loss and how to place it in your life that perhaps will have an emotional effect on you.

Story is what makes a great movie great. Without story, you don't really have anything, maybe some effects, some action, maybe some cute or clever sight gags, maybe some laughs, hopefully some emotion, where Pixar shines above all others in animation and over a good 99% of the movies out there is they can intertwine it all and do it seemingly effortless, which is an incredible feat. To do this in a few movies is one thing, but Pixar has pretty much nailed this now for their entire career of making movies, that's just simply unprecedented.

I should note I saw the 3D version which, to be honest, didn't really take the movie to the next level. One of the more well known syndicated reviewers had said you're better off seeing the non-3D version on screen, and I actually agree. The 3D glasses added little to nothing to the movie except for an eye-strain headache later in the night. It didn't take away from Up mind you, it just didn't add to it either.

Up is a great movie either way you slice it and it should be noted, the theatre I saw it in gave it a fairly loud round of applause at the end. It's pretty rare these days that an audience applauds after a movie, perhaps we as a society has become too jaded, or too just expecting of the goods or feeling we're entitled to the entertainment. It's nice when a movie hits on all cylinders and elicits such a range and emotional reaction people who don't know each other in a packed room all gasp, laugh, cry, and applaud together. Great movies however can do that and Up is truly a great movie.
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Pixar hits it out of the park, again
choco_taco12 May 2009
I was lucky enough to get a ticket to a special pre-release screening of Up at Pixar studios in Emeryville, organized by the San Francisco Film Society. After a hour-long reception in the atrium of their beautiful main building we went through some rigorous security (metal detectors!) and were treated to an hilarious short (Partly Cloudy) and Pixar's new high water mark, Up.

My favorites to date have definitely been Wall-E and the Incredibles, and Up is another slightly-left-of-center masterpiece. The emotional impact of the beautiful, wordless summation of Carl's life that opens the movie is the bass note that resonates through the whole film and is at least as affecting as the scene in Wall-E when he holds his own hands while watching Hello Dolly. The rest of the movie, of course, is breathtaking on just about every level, especially the tactile quality of all the characters and textures and the completely realized weather effects and action scenes. With no "new" technical milestones (fur in Monsters, Inc., water in Finding Nemo, realistic camera effects in Wall- E), the design is the main focus, from the hilariously stylized characters to the amazing setting of the tepui.

As the associate producer who participated in the Q&A following the movie pointed out, the past three Pixar movies have not been easy sells to their parent company Disney (they'll be back in familiar territory with Toy Story 3 and Cars 2), but Pixar's commitment to inventive, story-driven films continues to pay off here. All of the good press is true, and I can't wait to see it again. Thanks for staying true to yourselves Pixar!
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I felt like a completely new person, truly moving
x-xbecky_nashx-x7 August 2010
Honestly, I found the DVD of this film in my house and decided to give it a watch as I had nothing better to do. Truth is I really should have made the time before.

Although I enjoy all the other Disney/pixar movies, I am at that teenage age where I mainly seek Violence, sex and gore. Thankfully my teenage boredom did me a big favour in helping what this fantastic masterpiece. This film was so fantastically deep, meaningful and moving beyond relief, as soon as I switched it off I rang my grandparents to tell them I love them.

It should be made necessary that everyone everywhere should see this film and I think the world would be a much better place - it really is that good.

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Imaginative, fun and moving - as close to perfect as Pixar has ever been
DonFishies29 May 2009
Carl Frederickson (Ed Asner) has lived a long life, but dreams of adventuring to South America. He wants to spend his remaining days in his home, but new high-rises are being constructed around it. After a chance accident, Carl loses his home, and is set to be taken into a retirement home. Unhappy with this idea, the former balloon salesman ties thousands of balloons to his house and simply floats away, en route to his dream adventure. Except, he is not alone – young "wilderness explorer" Russell (Jordan Nagai) inadvertently shows up in mid-air, and Carl sees no other choice but to bring the boy with him.

The fact that this plot line is even relevant enough to get made into a movie is more than enough reason to praise Up. Ever since Toy Story, Pixar has consistently delivered the most radically original and unique ideas for animated films, and live action films. Sure, not all of them are as amazing as others (Cars is quite simply stale compared to the likes of Ratatouille and WALL-E), but there is something brilliantly imaginative and exciting going on at the studio, and Up is no exception.

Coming off the breakthrough of WALL-E, I was not expecting the same reaction to Up, but I was more than just pleasantly surprised. The film is hilarious, heartfelt, moving and depressing all at once. This may sound like it is an issue, and that the film has a problem holding its ground with its tonal structure. But instead, it handles it quite well; splitting the film into quadrants and allowing the themes and plot line to coincide with whatever emotional response the filmmakers are going for. And while there is plenty for young children to enjoy and take from the film, it is the older audience that will get the biggest reaction from it. There is a lot going on in the film, but it never loses its speed and never loses control of what it wants to say and do. It knows exactly where it wants to be and when. And where other recent Pixar films have failed (specifically in their lengthy runtimes and frequent need to drag themselves out), Up does not. It practically blasts its way through its beginning, all the way up to its ending, with time left to spare.

What makes Up work so well, much like WALL-E before it, is the focus on very few characters. Where WALL-E spent the majority of its runtime primarily on Earth with its main character, a love interest and a cockroach, Up spends its majority with Carl, Russell, a "bird" named Kevin and a talking dog named Dug (voiced by co-director Bob Peterson). It does allow for more characters to enter in later on, but the focus never strays from these main characters. Some may say the film is trying to tell multiple stories, but as the film progresses, it is clear it is telling one story – the tale of a man who never experienced what he wanted the most. The film builds up Carl's backstory heavily in startlingly moving moments that surprisingly were surprisingly kept rather secretive in the marketing for the film. We know from the very first trailer that Carl is a fairly mean old man, but the film spends a great deal of time to develop him into an emotional wreck of a man.

But the real success of the film is in its imagination and adventure. While WALL-E is perhaps the most startlingly unique and original animated picture of the last decade, Up still manages to pack in a lot of uniqueness. But while WALL-E got caught up in its own environmentally sound message, Up sticks with being an almost straight adventure picture. It is frequently thrilling and exciting, and lets up only for a few moments at a time. For such an older character, the film really stuns with some of its fantastical ideas. Sure, it is obvious this is a film that could only ever be done as an animated film, but what it lacks in realism it makes up for in fun – something that has been sorely missing from the movies for years. It came back for a short while with the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, but the focus as of late for any film has been on deeply conflicted, depressing narratives. And while this film is struck with having some of the most depressing scenes the year has seen so far, it never wallows in the sadness. It throws the moments at you, and then quickly moves on. And as said previously, the tonal shifts work excellently in Up's favour.

But of course, an animated movie cannot work without its animation. While Up is not a breakthrough in the way other Pixar films have been, it keeps with the tradition of still looking stunning and leading the curve for computer animated films. It does look cartoony and fantastical in many instances, but this only continues to work towards it being even better. The locales are realistic looking; the dog fur is near perfect. For me, watching Carl's facial hair gradually grow in as the story moves along was simply amazing. The little details and minute perfections have always been key to the Pixar films, and Up is no different. Additionally, the 3D effects really add a layer to the film, and bring the movie to life (unlike other recent efforts like Monsters vs. Aliens and Bolt).

I cannot praise Up enough. Words cannot do justice for how excellent the film is. Pixar continues to outdo itself year after year, even with their subpar films. While each film has their own flaws, Up revels in being as close to perfect as the company has been in years. I adored every minute, and look forward to watching it again with an even bigger smile on my face.

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Drag me to heaven
steve-bailey-127 May 2009
UP, Pixar's latest animated feature, is just delightful. But how do you go about extolling the movie's virtues without giving away its surprises? Like the kid at the beginning of the movie, you don't try to conquer the immovable force; you work around it.

The one clue I can give away – because it's the movie's heavily hyped premise – is that Carl Fredrickson, a gruffy old widower (voiced with gruffy old charm by Ed Asner), miraculously inflates enough balloons to use his house as an aircraft. Soon, he finds himself reluctantly sharing his ride with a short-attention-spanned kid named Russell.

I'll also mention a couple of other items that can gauge your potential interest in the movie. One is a gag that is a take-off on a famous painting – perhaps too inside of an inside joke, but typical of Pixar's cheery attempts to appeal to viewers of all ages.

Also, part of the plot involves Carl's long-held wish to meet a Lindbergh-type adventurer named Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer!). This is another in-joke that's even vaguer than the first one. Cartoon historians know that Walt Disney started in the cartoon biz by creating Oswald the Rabbit for producer Charles Mintz, who then greedily stole the rights to Disney's creation. This gives you a pretty good idea where the ostensible hero Muntz stands in the scheme of things.

Beyond that, I can only offer you some enticing clues about the characters. There's a dog who's the leader of his pack and in menacing beyond measure, until he opens his mouth and gets one of the movie's biggest laughs. There's a huge, awkward bird that is a big laugh-getter at first. Then she becomes a real enough character that – at least in the audience I was in – when she's injured, she elicits screams of fright worthy of Bambi's late mother.

There's surprising, heartfelt emotion, vivid imagery (you can almost touch the landscapes and skies), and a music score by Michael Giacchino that's practically a character in the movie – particularly in a thoughtful montage that takes Carl from childhood to widowhood.

There aren't many (or at least not enough) live-action movies that are engrossing as this cartoon. Pixar Studios has gotten to be one of those movie icons that shouldn't even have to deliver a premise to get funded anymore. The moneymen should just shut up, hand over the money, and trust they'll get a product that will appeal to everyone.

UP is only the second Pixar feature to get a PG rating, only for mildly intense imagery and action – nothing off-color in the least. Again, if you can handle "Bambi," this film should be a breeze.
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Possibly the best Pixar film to date.
guiarRK15 May 2009
I was luckily able to catch a screening a few weeks ago here in Houston.

As an avid lover of Wall-E, I felt Pixar could never reach those heights again.

I was wrong.

UP's story will probably seem peculiar at first glance. An old man as a protagonist? It definitely blew my expectations. The first 5 minutes demolished every other Pixar feature just because it was the first time I cried in a theater.

This just shows how much heart there is to the movie. I really don't want to get into specifics because of spoilers but the movie literally has everything.

Amazing visual effects.

Amazing sound.

Hilarious comedy.

Breath taking action.


All those combined equal something special. Today's movies like to blow you away with gimmicks, Pixar is different. Each movie shows soul and UP definitely has it.

I can't wait until it comes out so I can see it in 3d, im bringing everybody.

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Another Feast For The Eyes
ccthemovieman-122 November 2009
This is another film in which it really helps to know in advance what it is, or more specifically, what it isn't. Then, you go from there. I enjoyed the animated film very much but, some of that was due to the fact a friend clued me in first, saying "this isn't really a comedy or a film for little kids. Don't expect a ton of laughs." So, instead of seeking laughs (although I still got them here and there), I just enjoyed the adventure story and marveled at the amazing artwork.

Seen on Blu-Ray, this is yet another example in which you shake your head and wonder, "How does the artwork get any better than this?" Then, about six months from now, another will come along and I'll say the same thing. Overall movies may not be better today than "in the old days," but there is no dispute there are two areas in which films keep getting better and better: special-effects and animation. This is another example of that.

The colors and the detail in here are almost beyond description. The artwork ranges from bold to subdued, but always stunning. I lost track how many times I wanted to just pause and admire the picture for a few minutes. From super-sharp closeups of the old man's face to lush jungle scenery, this high-definition disc is worth every penny/

Back to the story, I found it a combination adventure-fantasy-comedy-suspense-sentimental story, about in that order, too. Generally-speaking, I would think adults would like this more than kids, but I may be wrong. Everyone - regardless of age - will have their jaw drop more than once viewing the incredible-looking scenes. It's really a feast for the eyes. Finally, if you like extras, there are tons of them in the four-disc DVD set.
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Up "uped" the bar once again! Wonderful movie
Smells_Like_Cheese4 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Seriously, I'm convinced, Pixar is maybe the only movie studio that is providing the best movies around. Who said that animated films can't be considered real movies? Can't be considered an art form? Up is the latest creation from Disney and Pixar, after last year's smash hit WALL-E, I felt like they couldn't at all top themselves and they did it again with this incredibly charming story. Admittingly from the trailer, I wasn't sure this story was going to work as well, but I got the opportunity to see Up this week and was just totally blown away by it's story, animation and characters. The thing I adore about these movies that Disney and Pixar are creating is that they're not just for the kids, but the adults as well, this is something that I could even see an adult seeing by themselves. This story doesn't insult kid's intelligence and is extremely entertaining for anyone to enjoy, to go through this adventure with an old man who just wanted to make his wife happy.

Carl Fredricksen, a quiet young boy, meets Ellie in her clubhouse, discovering together they share the same interest in exploration as their hero, famed explorer Charles F. Muntz. Ellie expresses her desire to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls in South America, a promise she makes Carl keep. Carl and Ellie fall in love, wed and grow old together in the old house where they first met. Ellie dies of old age before they can take their trip, leaving Carl living alone in their home. After a tussle with a construction worker over Carl's broken mailbox, the court orders Carl to move into a retirement home. Carl comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie, and creates a makeshift airship using thousands of helium balloons which lift his house off its foundation. Russell, a Wilderness Explorer trying to earn his "Assisting the Elderly" badge, has stowed away on the porch after being sent on a snipe hunt by Carl the day before. After a storm throws them around for a while, they find themselves across a large ravine facing Paradise Falls. With their body weight providing ballast allowing Carl and Russell to pull the floating house, the two begin to walk around the ravine. As they walk towards Paradise Falls, Russell finds a colorful tropical bird which he names Kevin, not realizing that the bird is actually female. They later run into a dog with a translating collar named Dug. They discover Dug's owner is Charles Muntz, who has remained in South America for several decades to find a bird like Kevin in order to restore his reputation after bringing back a skeleton and being called a fraud. Though Carl is initially thrilled to meet his hero, when he realizes that Muntz is after Kevin and will kill to obtain her, Carl takes steps to save the bird and escape from Muntz.

Up is seriously the best movie I have seen so far this year, it's actually one of my favorite movies of all time, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this film. Wither it was the fun and charming story between Carl and Russell, the crazy bird Kevin, or the story that nearly killed me in laughter, the dogs that have collars that make them talk. I don't remember the last time a movie that made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt, it also made me tear up and smile. If someone ever tells you that an animated film can't be considered a real movie, just show them Up. I absolutely adore this movie, can't wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it again. This is a perfect family film, actually scratch that, it's a perfect film, the animation is incredible, the characters are lovable and the story is magical. Up is going to be a film to be remembered for all time, great movie, go see it.

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It's Just a House
ferguson-631 May 2009
Greetings again from the darkness. Another crackling collaboration of Pixar and Disney, and as expected, it is touching, funny, thrilling and amazing to look at and watch. Only a step below Toy Story just because it is not quite as ground-breaking, though the story is even better.

While I love technology and effects, I am first and foremost a story guy when it comes to movies. This has as good of story as any film you will see. My only caution is that it seems geared towards grown-ups, not kids. The montage of Carl and Ellie growing old together is without dialogue and will probably bore some kids. Their parents certainly won't be bored; however, as it will resonate with most anyone over age 40 who hasn't taken the time to chase their childhood dreams.

No question, this film is a barrage of color and eccentric characters, and can even be a bit frightening at times. Still, the key to this one are the stories and quests of the elderly Mr. Fredrickson and the young Russell, trying to earn his badge of honor. From the beginning, Disney has always had a finger on the pulse of youngsters. Here, we aren't given the usual Hollywood garbage of brainiac kids who make the adults look stupid. Instead we are given a pudgy, slightly goofy kid just trying to get his parents to take note.

Special kudos to Ed Asner for bringing Mr. Fredrickson to life ... in good times and bad. He never goes overboard and is quite often absolutely perfect. Christopher Plummer has a limited role as bad guy Charles Muntz. Or is he really so bad? Cast aside by society, he has spent his life searching for redemption.

I am not saying the kids won't enjoy, but I am saying make sure parents and grandparents tag along. You will be entertained, delighted and moved.
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Pixar do it again! Up soars to new heights!
Simonster13 May 2009
Viewed at the Festival de Cannes 2009

The opening film of this year's festival, and the first animated film ever to have this honour, Up is truly a film for all ages. The story of the adventures of an old man and a young boy, a flying house tethered to countless balloons, a long-lost (and mad) explorer, a giant bird called Kevin and assorted 'talking' dogs gets funnier and more exciting as it goes along.

This isn't slapstick humour, although there are some lovely visual gags, but deeper, more thoughtful. At times Up is even touching and poignant.

Visually, this is a treat and while I was sceptical about the use of 3D to begin with, it is built into the story so seamlessly that it really is worth the effort to seek it out. At the same time, I can't help feeling the 2D version could be even better because the 3D glasses had the effect of dimming the picture. The use of colour in the film is especially noteworthy, with various palettes used according to mood, character and phase of the story. Character voicing and music are also spot on.

I have no connection with Pixar, Disney or the film whatsoever, even if this review reads like a puff piece. The fact is, Up is an incredible piece of cinema, was a big hit with a very demanding press audience, and is worthy of your time and money.

Anyone who says animated films cannot amuse and entertain, while at the same time delivering any kind of emotion, does not know what they are talking about.

Up is so good I can now forgive Pixar for Cars!
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One of the finest films I've ever seen
Apemangalore29 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
If Pixar - as a studio - has any weakness, it's that they have no idea how to make a bad film. Again and again they release entertaining movies with not only a terrific sense of humor, but a level of storytelling that has set a standard for today's films, animated or otherwise. While I was obviously extremely excited to see Up, never did I expect it - or, to be honest, anything else from this year - to reach the level of quality of this year's first animated film, Coraline (which, along with last year's Bolt and Wall-E, became one of my favorite films of all time). Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Simply put, Up is a perfect movie.

Easily the most emotionally impactful portion of the entire film, the first ten to fifteen minutes of Up are nothing short of beautiful. Using little to no dialogue, the opening "montage" of this film tells the story of Carl and his wife Ellie, and the wonderful life that they share together. Carl is such a lovable character, that you feel for him from the very beginning. Without trying to come off as cliché or anything, you feel the joy that he feels, and when his wife passes away, you feel his loss. By the end of the whole sequence, I was in tears.

This movie is freakin' hilarious. Without a doubt the funniest film that Pixar has ever made, each and every character in Up provides their own bit of humor. Dug the dog (voiced by co-director Bob Peterson) is especially hilarious every single time that he "opens his mouth", and yet still proves to be a key part of this emotional roller coaster ride. The movie also does a terrific job at making you feel a sense of wonder, and you just buy into the adventure of these two characters. Finally, I want to give a special nod to Christopher Plummer as the famous wilderness explorer, Charles Muntz, who is easily my favorite Pixar villain.

I love Up. Go see it now, as my review just can't do it justice. Not only is it extremely entertaining, but also gut-bustingly hilarious, and beautifully told throughout. To quote John Campea of TheMovieBlog.com, "The only negative thing I have to say about this movie is that it ended." The result is a film that's on par with Wall-E and The Incredibles as my favorite Pixar movie to date (which, again, is saying a hell of a lot, considering that they're two of my top 10 favorite films of all time) and while it may take a couple more viewings to say for certain, I have no qualms with saying that Up is one of the finest films I've ever seen.
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Pixar launches their funniest film out of their tank to date.
michael1139121 May 2009
What can I say about Pixar? Amazing?? Perfect?? Got to see this at the Cannes Film Festival in France (went on a trip with my family) and Pixar gives us another instant classic: Up.

The movie focuses on 78-year old man Carl Fredrickson's (voiced by Edward Asner) life who always had a dream of going on a journey to South American to see the wilds of it. He buys thousands of balloons just to attach it to his house to float up in the sky. So, he starts with his journey up in the sky in his house with balloons attached to it. Suddenly, he's not alone and somebody's at the door while flying, it's a boy scout kid named Russell. He invites the boy with him on his journey to South America.

Just brilliant and simple story-telling, beautiful visuals as usual with Pixar, awesome voice work, funny and smart dialogue, beautiful score once again by Michael Giacchino & very, very enjoyable characters. Speaking of characters, the highlight of the film: Dug the Dog. A sort of "robot" dog that will have you have you in a lot of stitches each scene that dog is in and that was the case with me. Simply, one of the funniest characters Pixar ever made. Pete Doctor, one of the four Pixar directors (John Lassester, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird) who directed Monster's Inc (2001) needs and should get nominated for his clever, genius and smart directing of this but if Stanton didn't get the nods for (Finding Nemo and WALL-E) and Bird for (The Incredibles & Ratatouille) which they should of been, then the Oscars are making another HUGE mistake for not nominating this guy for this movie.

Up is the funniest Pixar movie, funnier than the Toy Story movies, A Bug's Life & Finding Nemo which were the funniest, in my opinion. The movie is not just hilarious, it's emotional and sad at times. Like WALL-E, it focuses on the character feelings but not as magical as WALL-E. Still, Up is full of emotional, fun and hilarious proportions. Your in for a BIG ride in this!! 10/10.
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Pixar soars again
C-Younkin26 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
"Up" is a winner, and I couldn't be less surprised. Anyone still putting a limit on how new and inventive they think a Pixar film can be deserves to have their socks blown off. For the rest of us, just buy a ticket and expect to be taken away. This new flick is the work of writers/directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, two guys who have each been around the making of Pixar flicks before. Docter was a director on "Monsters Inc", a writer on "Toy Story" and a co-writer and director on "Wall*E." Peterson was a writer on "Finding Nemo". Both know the guidelines for success and while "Up" doesn't reach the heights of say a "Wall*E" or a "Toy Story", it's still a fantastic movie because, well, I don't think the people Pixar hires know how to make anything other than fantastic movies.

This one is about Carl Fredericksen (Edward Asner), a 78-year old retired balloon salesman living alone in a house full of old memories. Carl and his wife Ellie met each other as young children, both enamored by the newsreels about adventurer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). They eventually married and planned on seeing the world together, especially Paradise Falls in South America, but life kept getting in the way and before he knew it, Ellie died.

As the world changes, Carl refuses to change with it. When developers threaten to move him out of his house and into a retirement home, the old codger rigs his house up with thousands of balloons and before you can say "way to go Carl", he floats away, determined to have the adventure he and his wife never had. He doesn't plan on taking 8-year old chubby wilderness explorer Russell (Jordan Nagai) with him or crash landing on the other side of Paradise Falls, or finding an exotic female snipe (that Russell names Kevin) or a group of talking dogs (one named Dug befriends them) tracking down the bird for Muntz, who it turns out is a sinister villain, but things kinda turn out that way.

You're grabbed instantly. The adorable opening montage of the Carl and Ellie love story is more endearing and moving in its dialogue-less 10-minute entirety than any other romance this year by a long shot. This is another Pixar flick that goes in a daring direction. We next see Carl as a heartbreaking old man, his wife dead and the world no longer needing him. You forgive him his bitterness and you love him for the sentimental streak he has towards the things he and his wife shared together. His crabbiness is a little funny but there are also some heavy scenes early on as well. It sets up a beautiful, multi-layered story about enduring love and learning to live life without limits.

When a thrilling rainstorm crashes Carl and Russell on the other side of Paradise Falls, the two must each harness themselves to the house floating above them. The characters each look terrific and share a good chemistry. Russell is the usual 8-year old kid, talkative, inquisitive, and annoyingly overeager. He is a good comic foil to crabby Carl, his big, rosey smile and plump round stature a counter to the stout, frowningly square-faced Carl. As the two spend more time together, a wonderfully written friendship develops.

The movie is full of visual gags and the talking dog-henchmen are great fun. Muntz, an adventurer who travels around the world in a big blimp, offers a menacingly evil villain to chase Carl and Russell through rough mountainous terrain before the exciting final house vs. blimp in-air showdown. Plus the movie looks fantastic, a lush array of candy color and grand scenery. And the vocal cast, from Edward Asner to Christopher Plummer and Jordan Nagai each deftly voice their roles. "Up" is one of the year's rare treasures, a movie that flies in every way possible and from Pixar, you shouldn't expect anything less.
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Pixar produces another Oscar Winner
CA_movie_fan12 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Pixar has become the most dependable studio out there for producing reliable films that don't simply continue to raise the bar in animation but set a level of excellence in storytelling that puts most live-action movies to shame. 'Up' represents another change in style, as significant as Wall-E's shift to photorealism, intricate camera effects and darker themes. It effectively blends moments of tragedy with almost slapstick humor, while showing that their understanding of story structure and pacing gets more refined with every release.

Up is about a 70-something ex-balloon salesman who fulfills a lifelong dream of adventure by tying thousands of balloons to his house and flying away to South America. This trip, inspired by his adventure- loving wife who dies before their dream is realized, is forced when property developers attempt a compulsory purchase on his house and try to move him to a retirement home (issues of death and eminent domain in a cartoon?). The problem is that he has an enthusiastic - and fatherless - 8-year old Wildness Explorer stowed away on the property when it takes off. Their adventure focuses on the characters they meet along the way, while our hero Carl is still trying to drag his house to the dream destination at the top of a waterfall.

The opening shows the life of Carl, growing from an young boy, meeting his adventuring-loving girlfriend, their marriage and her death just before their adventure starts - it's an incredibly emotional 5-minute intro that's light on dialog and heavy on visuals, and didn't leave a dry eye in the theater. This sequence in particular was reminiscent of the dialog-free sections of Wall-E which deliver their plot punches without exposition or the need for endless sequences that would take twice as long in live action. But this approach doesn't leave the younger audience behind either, and for such a dark start, all I could see in the audience were kids and adults alike glued to the screen.

I won't give away any more plot details since the film doesn't open for another three weeks, but every scene and character trait is meticulously plotted so that nothing seems too ridiculous or contrived, even for such a fantastic journey. The graphic stylization is also fresh, in the same way that The Incredibles had a very distinct and authentic look. All of this serves to heighten the humor and there are some extremely funny scenes, helped by the way the characters are quickly and believably established (even the talking dogs, but you'll see what I mean).

This is the second time I've been to Pixar to see a pre-release of a movie and I felt a little scared before seeing this one, wondering if their run of first-class work may have hit a plateau. On the surface, I didn't really think a story about a senior in a flying house could live up to Wall-E, yet although the films are as different as they can be, Up is as gripping and entertaining as any Pixar film. Their ability to blends styles and take the audience from laughter to tears in minutes showcases their deep understanding of story, and it's a shame that more films aren't crafted the same way.

Up opens on May 29, and I highly recommend it to everyone. The next two films out of Pixar will be Toy Story 3 (2010) and Cars 2 (2011). By the way, look at for a very funny short film before Up called Partly Cloudly.
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The greatest journeys UP are when you're most down
solacewaves7 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In terms of animated features, Pixar ventures where very few other animated films have gone before and that is to delve into the lives of the elderly generation. In fact, having any film (animated or not) examine what it is like to grow old and the roller coaster ride that is life would normally mean you are in for some heavy material indeed. This is because true depictions of life are not constantly joyful and grand, it is always hand in hand with tears and hardships. In this respect, Pixar are to be applauded to have dared create a "kids" film that explores the circle of life in all its vivid glory and personal heartache.

Those who have scored UP poorly have undoubtedly felt misled, disappointed or even cheated because oftentimes when one thinks of Pixar, one thinks of imaginative explorations of what it would be like if our toys were alive (Toy Story 1 and 2), or if cars could talk (Cars), or if a mouse wanted to be a gourmet chef (Ratatouille), or how a family attempts to be "normal" when they all have superpowers (The Incredibles). Previous Pixar stories have always reached the realms of "brilliant" because these imaginative explorations are balanced with plot depth, humor and characters which audiences connect to and cheer for. Whether it's an ant trying to show his colony that they should stand up to the grasshoppers (A Bug's Life) or a humble cleaning robot guiding humanity home and trying to find love (Wall-E), all Pixar films are both fantastical and deeply meaningful thus showing their movies are more than just eye candy.

And this is where UP has divided the people. Don't get me wrong, UP has the fantastical and the deeply meaningful in spades, the difference here is that Pixar explores these to the extreme.

Flying a house to South America using thousands of balloons, dogs with futuristic collars that allow them to translate their "dog" language into English (or any other human language) and lest not forget they can also cook, a mythical rainbow colored bird and an old man who uses a walking stick in the first half of the film but can do "Indiana Jones"-like feats in the second half of the film - Fantastical? CHECK.

Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they marry, they discover they can't have children, they grow old together, wife dies, old man lives alone in house which he calls by his wife's name while high rise buildings are being constructed around him, old man attempts to fulfill promise to his deceased wife by flying to South America taking the house with him, and all that doesn't even cover the background story of the boy scout (who's father has left him and now only lives with his mum) who tries to help the old man out - Deeply meaningful? CHECK.

The daring exploration by Pixar of both these fantastical and meaningful themes has resulted in a beautiful, at times humorous, oftentimes heart-wrenching and flawed (but not necessarily in a bad way) film.

Never before has Pixar challenged the audience to such a level. Are you able to suspend belief to the point where you can believe a house can be lifted off by thousands of helium filled kids balloons and yet at the same time be willing to invest in an old man (who himself is flawed in more ways than one) and experience both the pain of love lost and the goal of hope found? Will parents be willing to explain to their young children about life and death? Will kids understand the adult themes? Will adults enjoy the ride or will they feel the movie is too depressing and the events too unbelievable? These are the questions which Pixar has dared audiences to confront.

As for me, I enjoyed the film, I laughed during the bits where you're meant to laugh, and I was moved to tears during the bits where you were meant to be moved (especially the beginning which shows the fast forward life of old man Carl). I struggled at times with suspending my belief of the events in the second half; how both Carl and Russell (the boy scout) manage to do the physically astounding is not to be thought about in depth. All in all, a brave film by Pixar that doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of brilliance but if looked at from above has many lessons to be learned and perhaps, just perhaps examines the flaws in all of us (especially as we get older) and how we should all try to reach UP to greater heights.
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Up-lifting, Up-standing, Up-pealing, and quite simply - brilliant!
Craig_McPherson30 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Sadly, there aren't enough superlatives in the English language with which to laud Up, the latest offering from the folks at Disney/Pixar. This is quite simply the best movie of any genre to emerge thus far this year. No small praise considering how I've long been adverse to "kids movies", pegging them as being shallow, vapid, and simplistic - a personal preconception which Pixar mercifully shattered with 2004's The Incredibles and 2008's WALL-E, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that for all their acclaim as an animation studio, they are equally brilliant story tellers Up tells the story of Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner), who as a child meets Ellie, later to become the love of his life. Carl and Ellie find they share a common dream – to one day visit Paradise Falls, a mysterious tropical oasis in South America made famous in vintage newsreels chronicling the exploits of explorer/adventurer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). Life, however, manages to get in the way as the two grow up, get married, experience the pain of miscarriage, and eventually grow old, so much so that father time catches up on Ellie, leaving Carl a widower. All of this is conveyed with little dialog in a masterful sequence that had the audience, old and young alike, sniffling throughout.

If you're thinking this isn't the usual stuff you see in "kids movies" you're right. But all credit is due to Pixar and the directorial and writing team of Pete Docter and Bob Peterson for realizing that children aren't idiots, and can handle complex, often tragic stories, if conveyed in the proper manner. It's a refreshing change from the over-protective mentality that once saw all hints of violence edited out of Warner Bros/Looney Tunes cartoons.

In Up, characters bleed, there's implied murder, and it's all counter-balanced with some of the most delightfully twisted humor that's as inspired as anything the Zucker brothers ever came up with. The story literally had me careening from being misty-eyed to laughing heartily, frequently in the span of minutes.

Faced with forced relocation to a retirement home, Carl opts for one final gambit, to fly his house down to Paradise Falls with the aid of a multitude of helium-filled balloons affixed to the roof of his house. Along for the ride is Russell (Jordan Nagai), a Wilderness Scout seeking to add a merit badge to his collection. Eventually the duo are complimented by Dug (voiced by co-director and writer Bob Peterson) a dopey derelict dog equipped by the now aged Muntz with a translator collar that converts dog thoughts to English.

Like WALL-E, Up manages to imbue its characters with depth and humanity, while at the same time tell a story that is mature, delightful, and most of all, terrifically funny. In an era when Hollywood seems only capable of re-boots and do-overs, Up is not merely a refreshing stroke of original brilliance, it is likely the best movie you will see all year.... or until Pixar emerges with their next effort.
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colinrgeorge6 April 2010
"Up" may be more emotionally charged than previous Pixar efforts, though almost exclusively in its first act, and is nevertheless a step down in storytelling for the company that last year brought us "Wall-E" and before that "Ratatouille." "Up" suffers in comparison to those films, and happily resigns itself from 'good Pixar' to regular good.

The story follows reluctant protagonist Carl Fredrickson, a 78-year old balloon salesman, who along with his now-departed wife, always dreamt of flying to adventure in Paradise Falls, South America. During a moving, poignant montage of his life, it becomes clear that the opportunity for adventure is passing the couple by. So when the widower Carl is sued and his home threatened, he takes the opportunity to take off, the house held afloat by thousands upon thousands of colorful balloons for the adventure he never had. All goes according to plan until he discovers Russell, an overeager "wilderness explorer," has stowed away beneath his porch.

The second act is the film's weakest, and the adventure advertised boils down to a few paltry miles. After a brief storm sequence, the unlikely pair find themselves on the other side of the canyon, but nevertheless "three days" from Paradise Falls. With the floating home strapped to their backs, Carl and Russell begin their trek, only to be sidetracked by the obligatory supporting characters, amusing though they may be: "Kevin" a fictional female dodo-like bird with hilarious favoritism, and "Doug" a golden retriever with a dog-to-English translation collar.

Where the film finds itself in trouble is in keeping the established themes at the forefront of the story when the arbitrary sequence of events in the second act unfold. The villain, Carl's childhood idol (which makes this guy how old?), a disgraced adventurer by the name of Charles Muntz, is the perfect match as a man who's been corrupted by his dreams, but he's never developed to a satisfying level and receives relatively little screen time.

Muntz's minions are a wellspring of only occasionally successful gags, an armada of translation-collared dogs tasked with hunting down Carl, Russell, and most importantly, Kevin. Their presence in the film feels somewhat random, and not quite funny enough to justify. It's becoming an ironically dirty word in reference to Pixar's work, but it all feels a little too cartoony.

The visuals are as strong as the best Pixar has offered, though shot composition gives everything a sort of flat feel to it (a problem perhaps 3-D was meant to rectify), with characters seldom moving on more than one plane, leaving the environments feeling oddly like stage backdrops.

"Up" is sadly Pixar's last original film until 2013, but with its glaring screenplay problems, it may be for the best that the studio recharge its creative cannons. After ten feature films, nine completely original, it's hard to leverage complaints against "Up" greater than that it simply isn't their best work. It may not be the revelation that "Ratatouille" or "Wall-E" were, but middle of the road Pixar is still worth the price of admission.
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What a joy to watch
annie196216 September 2009
LOOOVED this movie.

I found it so enjoyable to watch and actually had tears in my eyes from a particular scene which included a Doberman (won't say more). I also teared up from an emotional, tender scene with Carl and Ellie.

The animation breathtaking, extremely funny and quirky too. It didn't pander to children i.e a kiddy movie, but made sure it entertained 'kids' of all ages.

I actually wondered if the writers of this movie got together one night for pizza and beers and penned out this movie whilst a little intoxicated. It's got some seriously good laughs!

Can't wait for it to come out on DVD.

I highly recommend this movie.
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Up is great!
songhengjimmyjs18 November 2015
Up is wonderful and well written story that is very well animated for its time. It stands out from other movies not only due to its animation technology but through the uses of character archetypes. Along some ingenious planning throughout the movie which will certainly grip you on your seat for the whole time. Each part of the story fits together seamlessly and as directed by Pete Docter who has shown potential in the past with Monster.Inc. It is no surprise that Up would not have been better. Easter Eggs are bound to be found as this is just another part of the Pixar and Disney family. It ended very gracefully with a happy ending for the two main and primary characters that lies within the movie. I am very glad that I had spent my time and money to watch this exquisite animation. It is well made and deserves to be recommended if you are seeking the adventure that lies beyond the unreachable.
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A delight...plus it's in 3-D!!
MartinHafer29 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As I am much more hesitant to give a movie a score of 10 than most reviewers, take my score of 9 as a ringing endorsement for this sweet CGI film from Pixar. In addition, the film is the first 3-D film by the studio and it looked lovely.

The film begins with a sweet but VERY emotionally draining prologue. You see Carl Fredricksen as a very young boy along with his first two loves--the adventures of the explorer, Charles Muntz, and his meeting and falling in love with Ellie. All this is done with a minimum of dialog and it is one of the sweetest segments I've seen in years--and is a first for something this deep and emotional from a computer generated film. Keep a few Kleenex nearby--you'll likely need it.

Then, the film jumps ahead to the present day. Carl is now elderly and alone. His life is quite sad and he dwells on the recent loss of Ellie. Fortunately, the film doesn't dwell on this too long or become maudlin--though it did come a bit close at times. Now, with nothing in his life other than memories AND the court pushing him into a retirement home against his will, Carl comes up with a crazy plan--to float his home away with a bazillion balloons and take it to South America!! Unfortunately, while the plan works, Carl also gets an unwelcome passenger (Russell). Now Russell is an absolutely adorable character--wonderfully rendered and with a fittingly cute voice. You cannot help but love him. But, since Carl is alone and childless and grumpy, he is less than enthralled with this hitchhiker.

Eventually, they arrive in South America and meet some new friends--a bizarre giant bird and Dug, the dog. But, being a family film, you KNOW that there must be some villain and sure enough, along comes a very, very, very elderly Muntz who seems a tad..."touched". This sets off some very hair-raising adventures and you'll just need to tune it to see what happens next.

Technically speaking, this film was incredible and shows that the same old software is NOT being used but a newer generation with greater clarity and richness. I loved how through the course of the film, for instance, Carl's beard stubble starts to slowly grow in as well as the lovely shading and colors. While I loved RATATOUILLE and WALL-E for their animation, this looked a lot better--plus came in 3-D. I just saw Dreamworks' latest film the week before (MONSTERS VS. ALIENS) and frankly UP looked immensely better--there was just no comparison.

As for the story, it was highly imaginative and strange--in a good way. I can only think of one other film that is like UP at all, and that is the wonderful French live action film, LE PAPILLON. It, too, is about an elderly single man who has an adorable child dumped in his lap and like UP, by the end of the film the old man has essentially been adopted by the kid. Both are rather predictable in that sense, but both also make it work due to brilliant writing, adorable kids and plot elements that are very unique and magical. Heck, in UP, the many dogs in the film can talk AND are excellent chefs--where have you ever seen that before?!

Overall, it's a great film for almost all ages. I did notice in the theater that one kid (about 4) got very, very, very upset when the cute bird was captured--and he screamed and cried for some time. Keep this in mind if you do take young kids to see it--it may elicit come tears though there is no dirty language and the violence is mostly mild. For Pixar, this is among their best.
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Bring Back Brad Bird
tieman647 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Walt Disney company released a series of somewhat "groundbreaking" animated films between 1937 and 1942 ("Snow White", "Pinocchio", "Bambi", "Dumbo" etc). Thereafter it degenerated into a purveyor of a formulaic, predictable and increasingly saccharine features. Over the decades it became nothing less than a cultural force, plucking stories from countries all over the world and then skewing them until they fit the "Disney formula". Eventually Disney seemed to have stopped making animated films altogether. Each new release was simply an addition to some already existent, homogeneous, "Disney Land". This is a land of fairy tales, princes and princesses, wicked stepmothers, dead parents, song and dance numbers, bumbling sidekicks, lots of anthropomorphic charm, the ubiquitous fear of separation and punishment, and some pretty despicable values relating to gender, monarchs and class. Eventually it got to the point where it didn't matter what Disney's films were about. All that mattered were that they conformed to the rules of "Disney Land". The stories, the characters, the customer expectations, the brand awareness, all coalesced to form a kind of bland corporate mission statement.

Gradually the company began to shamelessly use its commitment to "wholesome" entertainment to market an endless array of toys, gadgets and clothes to children. It all seemed quite innocuous, but beneath Disney's self-proclaimed role as an icon of culture, lies a powerful educational apparatus that provides ideologically loaded fantasies for children and adults alike. Fantasy, for Disney, has no basis in reality, no sense of real conflicts, struggles, motivations or social relations. Instead, "fantasy" becomes a marketing device, a form of hype rooted solely in the logic of self-interest and buying.

In the early 1990s, Disney received praise for films like "The Lion King" and "Beauty and The Beast". The studio had re-found its form, some said. By the time Pixar Studios had established itself as a brand in the late 90s, however, Disney had once again lost its cool factor. Burnt by poor box-office returns, the company started making sequels to its more popular animations and began releasing them solely on DVD or TV. Much later they'd begin gobbling up outside mega-franchises (Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars etc).

Pixar's evolution very much mirrors Disney's. After a string of somewhat revolutionary films, and Brad Bird's two fairly personal features, Pixar has begun a slow spiral into mediocrity, "Cars", "WALL-E" and "Up" representing the company on a downward slope.

"Up" is about an elderly man and young boy who travel to South America and have a series of adventures. It's a consistently funny film, but virtually every character here is contrived and understood entirely in one dimensional terms. An old man lost his wife, a wife lost her child, a young boy lost his father, a talking dog is bullied by other dogs, a giant bird is separated from its offspring...every single character seems cynically designed or calibrated to quickly illicit unearned sentiment.

Pixar's last film, "WALL-E", was no different, death (there are about 4 death scenes in that film), loneliness and loss rolled out like Pavlovian commands. See, "WALL-E" is dead, why not shed a tear? See, the old man lost his wife, why not weep? Of course Pixar's films have always been sentimental, but they were sentimental in subtler or original ways. Think the smile which ends "Monster's Inc", the food critic's flashback at the end of "Rattatoille" or the brief shot of unhatched eggs in "Finding Nemo".

Ignoring Pixar's emotional regression, its plots have also become increasingly generic. "Up" in particular feels like a cocktail of bits and pieces plucked from "Ice Age 3", "The House of Small Cubes", "The Red Balloon", "Fitzcarraldo", "King Kong" etc. For a film which features an airship called "The Spirit of Adventure", the film is strangely cowardly, content to trade in stock characters and lazy chase scenes. Elsewhere the film champions adventure with one hand whilst exalting the return to Norman Rockwellesque normalcy; everyday life, we learn, is adventure enough. And those who go off on mighty exhibitions go insane anyway. This is very much the Pixar formula. Pixar's characters live in a small world, discover a bigger world outside of their familiar surroundings, and then retreat quickly back to the box.

Beyond all this, "Up" is Pixar's attempt to outright mimic Hayao Miyazaki (the director of "Up" directed the English voice dubs of Miyazaki's "Howl's Moving Castle", another film with old people in a moving house). Pixar/Disney chief John Lasseter has often cited Miyazaki as a key influence on Pixar, but Miyazaki's films have a subtlety and sense of auteurism that these latest Pixar offerings lack. Observe, for example, the gorgeous flying scenes in "Kiki's Delivery Service", "Nausica", "Castle In the Sky" and "Porcco Rosso". In comparison, the "flying" scenes in "Up" are strangely inert. While previous Pixar films have exploited space to great effect, "Up" is awash with flat compositions and ordinary camera work.

Still, the film has some good moments, most of them occurring in "Up's" first half. Here we're treated to several clever visuals, jokes and powerful montages, some of which seem cribbed from Kunio Kato's "The House of Small Cubes" and Michael Apted's "Up", the latter a noteworthy documentary series which chronicles the lives of several human beings, from cradle to grave. It's all very sad.

7.9/10 - Worth one viewing. See "From Up on Poppy Hill", "The Girl who Leapt through Time" and "The King of Pigs".
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tedg15 June 2009
Pixar has its first truly Disney project.

It has all the hallmarks of the Pixal manual: it is obsessed with exploring the third dimension and it has an extremely refined engineering of story. It touches on thoroughly conventional family values in a slightly new way. And it has a strangely relevant short that precedes it.

In this case, the three dimensional explorations that Pixar mastered are rendered in visual three D because Disney's corporate strategy requires it. Its a massive shame. That's because of the unintuitive fact that of all the exploration and innovation that Pixar has done has to do with novelties of the projection into a 2-d screen with a frame. The frame , usually constrained by the physics of the camera, has a broader physics in Pixar-land. But to get audiences to "read" the 3D, these extended physics are taken away and what we have is ordinary camera movement and framing.

I may have a different experience when I see this in 2D, but I think not. All the cinematic fun, the adventure of the Pixar spirit, is missing here.

The one thing that is outside the normal Pixar range is the color palette. It much richer here than usual. I think that may have also to do with Disney strategies for dealing with technology threats.

The child here is Asian. That's also a market driven decision.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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A Surrealistic Adventure Full of Sentiments
claudio_carvalho28 November 2009
The boy Carl Fredrickson is a dreamer that idolizes the adventurer Charles Munts. When he meets the girl Ellie, who also worships Munts, they become close friends. However Charles Munts falls in disgrace, accused of forging the skeleton of the monster of Paradise Falls, and he travels in his blimp to South America to bring the monster alive and he is never seen again. Carl and Ellie get married and they promise to each other to travel together to Paradise Falls and build a house there. Many years later, Ellie dies and the lonely Carl refuses to move from their house despite the offers of the owner of a construction company. When Carls hits one worker that damaged his box-mail, he is sentenced to move to a retirement home. However, he uses many balloons to float his house and travel to Paradise Falls. While floating, he finds that the boy Russell, who is in the Wilderness Explorer Training trying to get his assisting the elderly badge to be promoted to senior, is a stowaway on board. They travel together to South America where Russell finds a weird bird that he names Kevin and the talking dog Doug. Then they meet the insane villain Charles Munts that spent his life in the forest trying to catch Kevin with his talking dogs. But Carl and Russell decide to protect Kevin and they have the adventure of their lives.

"Up" is a surrealistic adventure full of sentiments, where the heroes are an old widower and an annoying fat boy. The first point that impresses is how touching this story is with the dramatic situation of the elder Carl after losing his beloved Ellie, lonely and forgotten by the world that is changing. I slightly recalled the situation of Walt Kowalski, performed by Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino". The annoying Russell is responsible for most of the funniest sequences, especially those with Kevin and the talking dog Doug. There are many details and layers in this beautifully sad tale. Further, it is also impressive how Disney and Pixar succeed in releasing one excellent movie after another like "Wall-e" or "The Incredibles". My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Up – Altas Aventuras" ("Up – High Adventures")
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Not UP to par with other Pixar classics
pilotom31 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I own every Pixar film on DVD but I have to say that UP may be the first one I pass on. I was very excited about seeing the film today after reading several good reviews. I think now that perhaps some reviewers out there are letting the Pixar reputation get to them. I can't believe ANYONE would say this is one of the best films of the year. Films like MONSTERS, INC, FINDING NEMO, WALL-E and TOY STORY deserved accolades like that but UP doesn't have the heart those classics did. The film is at its best early on when the characters aren't talking much. We see a montage of the lead character's life as a young Carl meets an exuberant girl named Ellie. We see them marry, live a life together, experience the highs and lows of life and finally, we see Carl loose his beloved Ellie and become a widower living alone in the house that always was their home. This sequence is moving and made me think that Pixar was about to strike another home run. However, at this point the characters start talking more and the story starts to get a bit...much. Carl decides to tie a bunch of helium balloons to his house in order to fly the house off to South America on the adventure he and Ellie were never able to complete together. He unwillingly takes along a young boy scout stand-in (Russell) who ends up on Carl's porch when the house takes off. Russell is determined to earn the patch for helping the elderly required by his troop in order to graduate to senior status. The balloon premise is a bit far-fetched but since it's an animated film, you go with it. However, once in South America, things get progressively weirder. Carl and Russell end up walking through the jungle and mountains with the house strapped to them, floating above. I think I knew the film was NOT going to be the usual classic I was used to from Pixar when they come across a bunch of talking dogs. It seems Pixar, whose done films about animals who can talk and done films just about humans, wanted to mix the two so they write into the story these dogs with collars that allow us to hear their thoughts. The dogs belong to an old adventurer living in the area who is determined to capture a big, ostrich-like bird to prove he's not the fake the world judge him to be decades ago when he claimed the bird existed. The adventurer has hundreds of dogs and not only do they search the jungles for the elusive bird, they also cook for their master, serve meals AND fly planes. Very weird. I think if you're going to make a film about smart, talking animals - make a film about smart talking animals (FINDING NEMO) and if you're going to do a film about humans, do one like THE INCREDIBLES about humans. In UP Pixar tries to mix the two and it just doesn't work. The ONE character who I thought had the most heart and was most interesting, was Kevin, the big bird who doesn't talk, seems devoted to her young and takes an instant liking to the human boy who probably reminds her of her babies. I heard kids in the audience more than once asking what was going on because they couldn't quite understand the story. I suspect UP will not be one of those films kids will watch over and over again like they do with the other Pixar classics. Pixar has some incredibly talented people but in UP I think they spent too much time on "cool" ideas and not as much time on developing the story and characters into something we could care about and believe in.
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Move Thee Reviews: Up Lets Me Down
ken18488 August 2009
Up is a funny adventure with very well rendered and well animated 3D images. It delivers a message that we, irrespective of age, should never forget about dreams and are able to lead meaningful lives. It also sheds some light on the importance of letting go.

However, some ideas are underdeveloped and puzzling. First, the relationship between the old man Carl and the kid Russell is not well-developed enough. Judging from Carl's indifference to Russell's visit, I do not feel his desire to have children after Ellie's death. Simultaneously, Russell's admiration for Carl as his role model can be further developed so that their very good relationship in the last two scenes can be better prepared. For example, what skills has Russell learned from Carl who used to be an adventurer? After watching the film, some may find the ten-minute Carl-and-Ellie love story much more touching and memorable than the Carl-and-Russell adventure. Second, Carl, who relies on an electric chair to move downstairs and staggers along with a stick, suddenly becomes so strong that he can even climb the ladder with his feet hanging in the air, which does not make any sense even in the created world. Third, it is too easy for them to "float" to Paradise Falls, a mysterious place, without scenes showing Carl's prior knowledge on aviation or science, which not only makes the plot contrived, but also the first-15-mintue adventure less exciting. Fourth, why and how does the bad guy invent a device helping his dogs talk with different languages? Fifth, the bad guy should be much older than Carl and I wonder why he is still alive and looks even younger than Carl. Sixth, why does the dog, a loyal animal, betray the explorer, even when he has the upper hand?

On the whole, Up is interesting, visually stunning and suitable for kids to watch. However, the story and characters can be further developed. Wall-E, with robots who cannot speak, is more touching, while Bolt, a Disney animation, is funnier than this one with hundreds of dogs. Until now, my favorite Pixar film is still Finding Nemo. Toy Story 2 and Wall-E rank the second and the third respectively. The rest of my top five are The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Up, despite using two ordinary human beings as the main characters, lets me DOWN.
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