Logo © One Movie, Five Views - Header design by Erin V.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Up Review

Up - A Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios Release


Release Date: May 29th, 2009

Rated PG for some action, peril and frightening scenes.

Running time: 96 minutes

Pete Docter (dir.)

Bob Peterson (co-dir.)

Pete Docter (story)

Bob Peterson (story)

Tom Mccarthy (story)

Bob Peterson (screenplay)

Pete Docter (screenplay)

Michael Giacchino (music)

Ed Asner as Carl Fredricksen

Christopher Plummer as Charles Muntz

Jordan Nagai as Russell

Bob Peterson as Dug

Delroy Lindo as Beta

Jerome Ranft as Gamma

Bob Peterson as Alpha

John Ratzenberger as Construction Foreman Tom

All images © Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios.

Our reviews below:


Up Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

Up is the story of Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year old man whose life seems to have passed him by. The movie starts when he is a kid in the 1930’s. Here he meets Ellie, a girl who has always dreamed of adventure. Than the film shows us their life together in what is one of the most emotional and beautiful montages I have ever seen.

Now, 70 years later, after an incident with a construction worker, he is going to be taken to a retirement home. When they come to pick him up, he tells them he just needs to say one more goodbye to his house. This is when thousands of balloons float up from his chimney. The problem is, once he’s high up in the air, there is a knock at the door. Russell, an 8 year old wilderness explorer trying to earn his assisting the elderly badge, has stowed away on his porch.

After a storm, his house is steered to South America. His dream destination, Paradise Falls. A magnificent water fall that Ellie had always dreamed of visiting. With run-ins with a 13-foot tall jungle bird, a team of dogs wearing collars that translate their thoughts into words and a crazy old villain, Up becomes an exciting and thrilling action-adventure.

By the time his little old house breaks away from it’s foundation, I was already emotionally invested in the characters, and I was able to believe every fantastical element that followed.

One of the main themes in Up is, sometimes you have to let go of your past, in order to make new memories. In one of the films most touching scenes, Carl reads the scrapbook that Ellie had made when she was a kid. The scene is emotional and heartbreaking, yet full of love and hope. One of my favorite images in the film is a shot of two chairs standing up beside each other. You will know what I’m talking about when you see it. It's an animated film, but it moved me to tears, and will likely be the most touching film to come out this year.

Up is Pixar’s most affecting work to date, both emotionally and comedically. There is never a false note in this film. Right now this is tied for my number one spot of best movie of the year so far, (In case you’re wondering the other film is The Brothers Bloom). I hope this film might finally break the mold and get a Best Picture nomination, it certainly deserves it.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll go up with Disney•Pixar’s 10th masterpiece.

Before the feature film, plays the short film Partly Cloudy. It is yet another brilliant and hilarious short film from Pixar. It also marks the directorial debut of Pete Sohn, (voice of Émile in Ratatouille). Arrive early, and don’t miss it. ****


Up Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Before the film, I had the pleasure of seeing Pixar’s newest short film, Partly Cloudy. I will start with a short synopsis and review of this short:

Partly Cloudy, directed by Peter Sohn, (animator at Pixar, and voice of Émile is Ratatouille), tells the story of Gus the cloud, and Peck the stork. Gus makes babies, which Peck then delivers. Unfortunately for Peck, Gus likes to make dangerous babies, such as alligators. This is a cute, wordless short, that like Up also boasts a score by Michael Giacchino. The short was fun to watch, and will be quite nice in 3D, I’m sure. (I attended a 2D viewing of both Partly Cloudy and Up). This being said, the short, like the movie, stands up fine in 2D, because as is always with Pixar, story comes first. This short is a nice treat to see before the feature film, as these shorts are something we have come to expect from Pixar. Partly Cloudy complements Up nicely with the cloud theme. Four stars for this short, and Peter Sohn’s directorial debut at Pixar. ****

Now, on to the Up review: I absolutely loved this movie. At it’s core, this movie has emotional heart, and that is the true beauty of Pixar.

The movie opens when Carl is a kid, (around 8 years old). He is in a theatre, watching segments before the show of the famous explorers of the world. He wants to be an explorer, and on the way home meets a girl around his age named Ellie. While intimidated by her big personality, he likes her, and she too dreams of becoming an explorer. They grow up together and there is a beautiful montage, set only to Michael Giacchino’s score, of their life together. This is one of the most, although not the only, touching and emotional parts of the movie.

By the end of the montage, Carl is 78 years old, and alone. Developers want to build a shopping complex where his house is, and are looking for an excuse to get him removed to a retirement home. Carl doesn’t want to leave his house and the memories it holds, and so, as we have seen in the trailers, he floats his house away on thousands of balloons to South America’s Tupui Mountains and Paradise Falls. What he had not anticipated was Russell, an 8 year old Wilderness Explorer tagging along when his house lifted off, in an attempt to earn an ‘assisting the elderly’ badge.

Once in South America, Carl realizes that nothing is going to go to plan. They meet a giant jungle bird, which Russell dubs Kevin, who won’t leave them alone, as well as a dog - with a very sophisticated collar which can translate his thoughts - named Dug. Unbeknownst to Carl, these extra guests on their trip will give him the adventure he always dreamed of...

I made sure not to go into too much of the plot above, so you can be confident that you will still have plenty of surprises going into this movie. Pixar does not let us down with this latest effort. Everything about this movie works. The voice acting is all spot on, with great performances from Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, newcomer Jordan Nagai, and Bob Peterson in the main roles. Michael Giacchino's score is also absolutely beautiful to listen to, and the animation, as always from Pixar, is breathtakingly gorgeous to look at. I hope come awards season, this is recognized for what it is - a beautiful movie about love, loss, knowing when to letting go, and the adventure of our everyday lives. One of Pixar’s most emotional and mature outings to date, Up is destined to become a classic. ****


Up Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

Partly Cloudy (Short Film)


Partly Cloudy is an endearingly funny little film that addresses the age old question: Where do babies come from? In this story we see that babies come from clouds, and are delivered bu storks. But what about fierce animals? Where do they come from? Partly Cloudy follows a cloud named Gus, and a stork named Peck whose job is to create and deliver the babies of dangerous animals, with hilarious results. The animation in this short film is adorable, the story is cute, and the score by Michael Giacchino is really fun. A delightful little film that will be enjoyed by all ages.



Up is an exciting , and very touching film about two unlikely friends on an adventure. The movie follows Carl Fredricksen, a lonely and grumpy 78 year old man, whose lifelong goal is to go on an adventure. The film begins when Carl was a child. Carl, a fan of adventure documentaries, wishes to be an explorer when he grows up. Carl’s thirst for playing adventure leads him to his future wife, Ellie. In one of the most touching and emotional movie sequences in recent history, we see their relationship grow in love. (This scene is effectively told mainly through visuals, and Michael Giacchino’s gentle “Ellie’s Theme” which reoccurs throughout the score.)

Now, the house they shared is slated for demolition. Carl, not wanting to move to a retirement home, floats his home away on balloons, fulfilling his and Ellie’s dream of living in Paradise Falls. What Carl doesn’t realize, is that he has a passenger. An 8 year old boy scout named Russell has stowed away on Carl’s porch. Carl is at first annoyed by this intruder, who turns out to be a help. The arrive in South America, and meet a huge, friendly bird that Russell names Kevin. The also meet a friendly talking retriever named Dug, who loves everyone. But when Kevin gets captured, it is up to Carl, Russell and Dug to get Kevin back. Through this adventure, Carl realizes what is really important in life.

Up is a great action-adventure film with a lot of heart. Despite how the film is being advertised, Up is not just a kids movie about cute talking dogs. There are a lot of frightening scenes where the main characters are chased by talking dogs or are in other kinds of peril. Up is definitely deserving of it’s PG rating. However, Up is a movie that everyone over 8 should see. The friendship between Carl and Russell is very touching and believable. The story is both whimsical and sweet, the animation is great, and the score by Michael Giacchino fits every emotion in this film perfectly. Up is one movie that the whole family, especially grandparents, will enjoy.


Up Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

Up is an absolute gem from Pixar. This movie is heartwarming, touching, exciting and funny from start to finish.

Up begins with one of the sweetest opening prologues I’ve seen in a long time. We first meet Carl Fredricksen as an 8 year old with a hero worship for adventurer Charles Muntz. We then meet another 8 year old, Ellie, who Carl realizes is a kindred spirit. The prologue chronicling Carl and Ellie’s love story from childhood to the inevitable end is lovely. The Carl and Ellie segments are done without dialogue and are beautifully scored by Michael Giacchino.

The movie is focused on 78 year old widower Carl (Ed Asner). Carl realizes he will be forced from the home he and Ellie shared for years, so he decides that he will take the house with him. With the help of the balloons he sold for years he floats the house up and the adventure begins.

As with any good story there are surprises, the first one being Russell, (Jordan Nagai), the young wilderness explorer who accidentally ends up floating away with Carl and the house.

When the house finally lands in Paradise Falls, South America the fun and excitement stats. Kevin, the brightly coloured bird, and Dug, the sort of talking dog are so much fun to watch. I know I’ll never be able to hear the word squirrel again without thinking of Dug.

Carl and Russell end up experiencing a lot more adventure and excitement than they anticipated at Paradise Falls. Some of the scenes with the villain and his guard dogs may be a little scary for the under six set, but for older kids and grownups - lots of fun.

The movie wraps up with a satisfying and touching ending. I had tears in my eyes when Carl realizes that sometimes you have to let go to move on. Up is one of those special movies that makes you laugh and cry and walk out feeling “Up”.

The animation is excellent in Up. Whether you see it in 2D or 3D the result is a wonderful visual experience. The voice acting is great and I especially enjoyed Michael Giacchino’s score throughout the movie.

Up is a must see for the young and old alike. I can’t wait for the DVD. The short film ‘Partly Cloudy’ that accompanies Up is also really sweet and very funny. Check out both Up and Partly Cloudy at a theatre near you. Well worth the money. Pixar has done it again.


Up Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Up begins with a 1930’s newsreel about world explorer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) that inspires both eight year old Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) and his future wife Ellie to someday travel to South America. As we see in a montage of their happy life together, they never made it. About to be evicted from the house they shared, recently widowed balloon salesman Carl is visited by eight year old Russell, who needs one more merit badge for helping an old person to be promoted in his Wilderness Explorer troop. Attaching thousands of balloons to his house, Carl takes to the air for South America, not realizing that Russell has come along. Once there, they discover that Charles Muntz, with his pack of dogs equipped with collars that turn their thoughts into speech, will stop at nothing to capture the four metre tall flightless bird that Russell has found and named Kevin.

Like all their others, Pixar’s 10th feature and first in 3D is much more than a vehicle for lucrative tie-ins with Disney toys and collectibles. While accessible to small children, sophisticated viewers will admire its visual references, such as Road Runner cartoons and the anthropomorphic dog art of C. M. Coolidge. The voice acting is excellent, as expected from veteran actors Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer and remarkably by nine year old Jordan Nagai as Russell. My greatest joy came in the Michael Giacchino musical score. In action sequences it reminded me of Mussorgsky, while its main motto theme, reminiscent of the best Nino Rota scores for Fellini films, was a waltz tune that underwent numerous transformations, such as a lightening of texture down to a single slow piano line as Ellie’s last days are remembered.

Pitched merely as a comedy, Up is really a sweet story that will leave much of the audience in joyful tears.



Consensus: Pixar is now 10 for 10. Up is another masterpiece, with just the right amount of humour, and most importantly, heart. Make sure that you don’t miss this one in theatres. It is definitely worth it! **** (out of 4)



No comments: