In Theatres: 
May 29, 2009
Did you know?

The boy Russell is Pixar's first Japanese / Asian American character voiced by an Asian-American actor, 'Jordan Nogai'.

By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn't alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip. With Russell and a few more new “friends” Carl meets along the way can he fulfill a promise made long ago to someone special or will the unsuspected dangers of South America bring their expedition just short?

Let me point out the obvious. Pixar has spoiled its viewers. Year after year (excluding the year they gave us Cars) they have progressed in their efforts to give their viewers the most magnificently superb images ever seen on the big screen. Lavishly colored, acutely defined, almost realistically animated beauty. Up unfortunately goes in a different direction. In their last picture (Wall-E) Pixar gave us a strange new world that meshed animation and live action in a way that wasn’t tacky, everything had a sharp edge to it, some things even more so that you questioned weather you were seeing animation or live action. Up reminded me more of the British animated features; boxy features, almost clay like, and your absolutely sure that what your seeing is animated. The cloud scenes were nice but certainly not as awe-inspiring as some of the things that Pixar has brought us in the past. Even more so perplexing is that Pete Doctor is the director who brought us the insanely colorful world of Monsters Inc.

Okay aesthetics aside Pixar remains solid in their ability to tell a story. Like Wall-E the first segment of the film is mostly silent but absolutely more potent then anything Pixar has done. I was moved almost to the point of tears and in those silent moments before things really took off I found myself immersed in the familiarity of everything Carl goes through. Its so touching and real and honest that your automatically drawn in and invested in Carl’s character and plight throughout the rest of the film. Honestly, it just doesn’t get any more magical then this, and I compare this even to a majority of the live action films I have seen.

Aside from Carl you have Russell (played by Jordan Nagai; trivia later) and Doug. Russell is the epitome of a child (reminded me a lot of my nephew Danyel the way Nagai voices the character) and he delivers some pretty great lines with excellent delivery. Doug (voiced by director and screenwriter for the film Bob Peterson) has his moments, not all of them particularly laugh out loud ones, but his character is amusing and purposeful.

Up has its moments of heartbreak but also its on the edge of your seat (literally) action sequences that had me grinding my teeth, kids in the audience holding their breath, and others emphasizing their stress with guttural sounds. The film can be intense as much as it is touching but there are a couple of slow spots in there that drag the film a little as well as some silly moments that don’t feel as if they belong. I can’t say which but when they happen you’ll know. All together though Up looks to be a film that will win awards and capture its audience young or old. Enjoy.

Random Trivia:

The first Pixar film to be made for the Disney Digital 3-D format.
The first Pixar film since Finding Nemo (2003) not to be presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
The first Michael Giacchino-scored Pixar film not directed by Brad Bird.
Very first animated film as well as the first 3D film ever to open the Cannes Film Festival.
The first Pixar film to be given a PG rating since The Incredibles (2004).

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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