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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Disney/Pixar's Up – review

promo pic from Up [click to see larger version on SpoilerTV-Movies]

A few years ago when I lived by myself, I had a tradition of getting up on Sunday mornings and watching a Disney movie just to let go and relax. Although I haven't done that in quite some time, I decided this morning it was a good idea to take advantage of an early showing of Up. I really enjoyed it, much like I have all of Pixar's movies. I appreciate the fact that in addition to putting out a good movie for kids, they are equally focus on telling a great story.  It was also nice to see the teaser trailer for Toy Story 3.

Spoilers after the picture.

Kevin and Dug plushes from Pixar's Up exclusively at FAO Schwarz

Well, of course in Pixar tradition, the first thing we were treated to was a brand new short called Partly Cloudy. This was pretty awesome, playing on the old myth that storks bring babies.  They elaborate on this by assigning each stork to a cloud, and the cloud is responsible for making the babies. The humor comes in because this one cloud is responsible for the problem children – the hungry baby alligator, the ramming baby goat, the prickly baby porcupine, etc. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues.

When Up starts, it reaches back further than I expect. Carl is actually a child and we get to see his fascination with a great explorer and also how he meets a very talkative girl who has the same interest. From here, we get to see these two grow up and old together very briefly and succinctly. This part of the story is told with perfect balance between keeping the story moving to not lose a child's attention but at the same time laying the groundwork for what lies ahead.

There are some very sad parts to this story, which surprised me. Apparently, Carl and Ellie are unable to have children. They save money to go on their ultimate adventure but misfortunes keep happening that cause them to have to use their savings. Isn't that something we can all relate to?

Finally, Ellie passes away, leaving Carl alone in the house… progress building up all around him. It's this and some events that are about to cause him to be taken to a nursing home that spur him on to his adventure finally, which is where the bulk of the movie takes place. In those moments where the house takes off, is where I looked for the Pixar easter eggs. Lotso the bear (the alleged villain of Toy Story 3) was easier to spot in the trailer than in the movie, but I was able to spot the Pizza Planet truck as the house flew over the street.

Overall, I was very pleased with the movie. It definitely ranks up there with the top Pixar movies, not that Pixar has many too far from the top.