Up (2009)

Up (2009)

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That must have cost a small fortune...
That must have cost a small fortune…

Twitter Plot Summary: A grumpy old man attaches thousands of balloons to his house to visit South America.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1049413/?ref_=nv_sr_4

Five Point Summary:

1. Now that’s really sad…
2. …and that’s a lot of balloons.
3. SQUIRREL!
4. Surrogate family of outcasts VS an army of talking dogs. Fight!
5. That’s a long way down.

Up starts with such an emotional kick that you wonder if it will prove to be incapable of maintaining that level of emotional investment from start to finish. Rest assured, despite that melancholy opening Pixar retain your interest and your faith in them as producers of films for all ages. We begin with Carl, a young boy who has a keen sense of adventure. He meets Ellie, a slightly older girl with similar interests. Time passes and they marry, settling down and living out their lives together.

Moving forward, Carl Fredricksen is now a grumpy old man. Not only has he lost his wife, but because life got in the way for various reasons – home repairs, broken cars etc –  they never saw through their plans to visit the world and, in particular, South America. After an epic amount of construction starts taking place around his home, Carl uses his previous career as a balloon salesman to attach thousands of balloons to his house in order to carry it to South America. Unfortunately for him he also has cub scout Russell in tow. What follows is an adventure for the pair of them as they encounter Dug the talking dog (he has a collar that projects his internal voice), a rare bird they call Kevin (despite being a female), and the long-lost adventurer Charles Muntz, who was a boyhood hero of Carl’s. That’s a pertinent point actually – Carl’s old anyway, so how old does that make Muntz?

Not something you expect to see out your front door every day.
Not something you expect to see out your front door every day.

The story has plenty going for it whether you’re old, young or somewhere in the middle. There’s exciting adventure elements, a truly heartwrenching story for Carl as he slowly comes to terms with the death of his wife Ellie, and some incredibly amusing moments primarily from the large pack of talking dogs. It’s also fun to see a story play out between two old men rather than the standard approach of using youngsters to make the story relatable. In that respect we at least have Russell, who helps Carl realise where he’s been going wrong all these years. Carl goes on both a literal and a figurative journey throughout the film, and that opening montage gives it the emotional heft to make the resolution all the more powerful. Rounding off the surrogate family he now finds himself surrounded by is Dug, the friendliest of the talking dogs, is funny, lovably dim-witted and loyal. Then there’s the rare bird Kevin, who is equally loyal but only communicates via squawks.

As Carl and Russell become embroiled in Muntz’s near patholical desire to capture Kevin, the story morphs fully into an adventure serial along the same lines as the Indiana Jones franchise. Replace Nazis with the talking dogs and the two could be interchangeable. The quality of the animation goes without saying – it’s excellent, enhancing the South American location and clearly defining the action without going all Michael Bay on us. The disparity between Carl and Muntz is another highlight – both men have spent years seeking that which can’t be found, and ultimately it’s the realisation of that fact that separates them. Well done Pixar.

Is there an Alan Rickman plummet?: Yes

Score: 5/5

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