Up Movie Review

It’s no big surprise that I’m a huge fan of Pixar movies; they’ve mastered the art of making movies with more humanity in them than most movies that actually contain humans, and their visual brilliance is second to none. But at some point you’ve got to figure that their magic will wear off; red tape and bureaucracy and executives will get in the way of their art & they’ll start producing crap like some other not-to-be-named animation studios that manage to even make squirrels–and a hot redheaded squirrel–look like crap. That point thankfully hasn’t arrived yet; Up is an amazing movie with heart, humor, and beauty that keeps the Pixar tradition alive. (And looking at Pixar’s upcoming roster, it’s not likely to occur for some time.)
One of the traditions of a Pixar movie is a short animation before the feature – this one is called Partly Cloudy. It manages to convey a beautiful story of acceptance, loyalty, and trust sans dialogue. It’s not really possible to go into detail about it sans spoilers (given that it is a short…), but I’ll write a synopsis of it later on.
Up begins with the romance and between Carl and Ellie, who as children bonded over a common quest for adventure – wanting to embark on a journey to the land that time forgot, Paradise Falls; a land they had seen in newsreels featuring the dashing Charles Muntz, who was laughed at by the scientific community. We see their amazing love story as they grow old together; when they find out they can’t have children, they set their sites on fulfilling their childhood dreams of adventure, but life always seems to get in the way of making that adventure a reality. One of the things that Pixar manages to do so well is tell you the moral of the story without being heavy-handed or preachy; we get the message of how important it is to not let life pass you by, to appreciate the things you have, to share your journey with those you love, and to honor your promises throughout the movie. Carl is put into a difficult situation when his home becomes the center of a construction project, refusing to sell out. A snap loss of temper finally gives him nothing to lose, so he decides to embark on his journey once and for all by lifting his house up via balloons. What he didn’t bargain for was Russell, and over-eager scout who ends up along for the ride since he was under the porch when the house set sail.
Up manages to be emotionally touching – humorous, heartfelt, and tear-worthy – while maintaining a sense of visual artistry that’s breathtaking yet not overpowering the story. The fact that the movie is driven by a compelling story and message effectively transports you to another world, one where the laws of physics don’t need to be accurate; anyone looking to nitpick the feasibility of the old man’s physical strength or the logistics of the plot is either deliberately missing the point in an attempt to avoid bawling their eyes out, or is just not capable of enjoying a tale that is greater than the sum of its details. It’s a sentimental tale that’s not overly syrupy; it manages to include some rather sad details with beautiful sensitivity and positivity.
The applause at the end was well deserved. Bravo Pixar.