6/14/09

Up (2009)

Ed Asner (Mr. Fredricksen), Christopher Plummer (Charles Muntz), Jordan Nagai (Russell), Bob Peterson (Dug)

Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.) and Bob Peterson

IMDB: By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn't alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.

We saw this on May 30th, but I've been saving the review for when we're in Italy. Seeing Up marked our fourth big-screen movie release in as many weeks, following X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which I whinged about but didn't officially review), Star Trek, and Terminator: Salvation.

So, yeah. Yay for babysitters and other local couples who like to go to the movies even more than we do! It means we're staying current this year, having already matched 2008's sum total of five theater films.

Anyway...back to Up.

I'll admit that the concept was far from intriguing. I had no real interest in seeing a dude floating around in a house held aloft by balloons. But I decided to go along and make it a family affair--a rather no-fuss one. Plus, I had the goal of getting Ilsa through a theater movie without her bursting into tears. Happy Feet--tears. Madagascar 2--tears. WALL-E--tears.

Up? No tears! This movie wasn't entirely scare-your-pants-off, plus Ilsa has gained a little maturity. Seeing as how she's taken on Jurassic Park, this was no sweat.

At least, it was no sweat for the girls. Me? I was a mess. Parts of it are almost unbearably sad. I mean damn. I don't want to give away anything, but the little human tragedies of loss, grieving, dreams deferred, and disappointed hopes are tackled with a forthright power that left me profoundly moved.

Now you may be asking, Is this a cartoon? Completely. It's a beautifully colorful film that features improbable adventure scenes and awesome, hilarious talking dogs. But the overarching metaphor couldn't be ignored, no matter how many times I laughed and snickered--which was often.

Keven and I put this straight up there with what we consider to be the two Pixar classics against which all others should be judged: Finding Nemo and Toy Story. It's absolutely magical, complete with heart and humor and so much angst that there are parts I won't dwell on for too long. They're just too real. All of this from a movie about a house that floats away on hundreds of helium balloons.

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