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Theatrical Review: Up

ByDarren Goodhart

Jun 7, 2009

Y’know, I expect that working for Pixar in whatever capacity has to be about the best employment situation anyone could ever be in- I mean, here’s an organization that makes movies the when you examine the idea on paper, just shouldn’t work for the most part in satisfying a mass audience, and yet they continue to pour out masterpiece after masterpiece, all with long-term appeal and filled with solid storytelling, engaging characters, the greatest technical proficiency, loads of heart, and on top of that, nearly everyone who encounters a Pixar film always comes away with a great movie-going experience… it’s got to be the greatest workplace in the world, knowing that you’re doing that…

… and of course, their latest film, Up is no exception. It’s just fantastic on every level…

This is the story of an average man, Carl Frederickson, who as a child yearned for adventure, and found the same in a young girl named Ellie. But life got in their way, and though they managed to have a wonderful life together, complete with it’s ups and downs, that spirit of adventure eluded them and Carl, now in his later years, and having lost his wife, gets ready to go for broke and pursue that adventure in a big and fantastical way… with the help of a young boy scout named Russell.

I’m not going to say anything further than that, the rest of Up should simply be seen in a theatre and enjoyed, pretty simple as that… and when you go to the theatre to see this, you’re in for a heart-warming experience, with great adventure, absolutely wonderful characters in Carl and Russell (and the friends they get along the way), a lot of very funny situations, and of course, the sheer technical proficiency that Pixar is known for.

Carl is a terrific character, just an absolute classic for Pixar, designed to seem like a cartoonish version of the legendary Spencer Tracy and wonderfully voiced by Ed Asner, this old man is engaging in a big way and you’re with him every step of the way of his adventure. The bond he forms with the young Russell, is very natural, never forced, and it’s easy to see, as Carl certainly sees a lot of himself in the young Russell.

We saw this last night in digital projection and with the full Disney Digital 3D experience, and while I would recommend that to anyone planning to see Up, seeing it in 3D isn’t an absolute necessity. Up is so confident in it’s story, that it doesn’t have to rely on 3D to draw the audience in by any means, it’s pretty much incidental to what’s there. Oh, it’s still well done, and nice to see if you have that opportunity, but hardly necessary for the enjoyable experience that comes from this fantastic movie.

Along with the main feature, as usual with a Pixar film, you get a short film with it, the wonderful little fantasy Partly Cloudy which is a clever little piece dealing with birth and storks and clouds, and it’s a satisfying appetizer to the main course that you’re about to receive.

Don’t miss Up, easily one of the best movies that I’ve seen for the year and right now, leading the way at the top of the list…

Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

0 thoughts on “Theatrical Review: Up”
  1. Ok, I saw “Up” and while it is not on my “A” tier that is reserved for Nemo and The Incredibles, it has a spot in the “B” tier (right next to Wall-E). This is a very, very good film. Also, this movie has a lot of heart. This movie got me teared up not once but twice. Take that as a testament to the singularity of this movie.

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