Upon catching the first preview for this movie, I have to admit I was unsure about it’s success. Pixar had yet to dissappoint me and had in fact set the bar pretty high with Wall-E. Their ability to take the simplest plot and turn it into an adventure that has never been anything short of amazing is not something to be taken lightly. Time and teaser trailers did manage to catch my attention, enough so to make me go and catch the midnight showing.
I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but the opening sequence was surprisingly stirring. Pixar manages to take very serious, adult themed issues, like infertility, and manages to not only keep the intensity of such delicate issues but paces it so that these things don’t detract from the childish innocence of the rest of the film. The movie stays in this mood until you first see the balloons burst from the house, at which point the true adventure of the film begins to soar.
The characters are well pronounced and defined. Edward Asner plays our protagonist, Carl, whose square head seemed unnatural compared to any other character in the film. He was accompanied by Russell, played by Jordan Nagai, an asian-american cub scout trying to acheive his “assisting the elderly” badge, who happened to be on the porch at the time of launch. They are joined in a land called Paradise Falls by a large rainbow-colored bird called Kevin and the absolutely adorable Dug the Dog, who comes equipped with a collar that allows him to speak with people. Even by the end of the movie, this running joke never got old and always delivered.
The artistic style was nothing outrageous for Pixar. I was more delighted by the visual achievements in their short, which has to be one of my favorites to date. I imagine it must have been fun getting the planning group together trying to figure out exactly how many balloons they would actually need to raise a house, and then trying to match that in rendering. I honestly couldn’t even fathom what kind of time and effort that took. But the short did some amazing things with the lighting and rendering effects. This was also the first time I’ve seen blood in a Pixar movie.
The story managed to hit on many levels and was a joy throughout. It’s clear that Pixar has a child’s heart and knows how to convey that beautifully on the big screen. Unfortunately, it seems their next big releases aren’t going to be originals but sequels, with Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 in the line-up. If you haven’t seen Up yet, you should do so as soon as you can. Pixar is one of the few film studios in my book to have a perfect streak, and this movie is no exception.