Film Review: Up

— by Caroline on Crack

I don’t know why I still resist watching animated movies. I LOVED so many of them after I got over the initial “toons are for kids” hangup. WALL-E, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. — all good stuff! But even with Pixar’s newest animated film, Up, I struggled a bit. I think it was because of Carl Fredrickson, the dour-looking senior citizen and main character of the story, whose frowny face populates the movie posters. Why would I want to spend an hour and a half watching a cartoon about a grumpy old man?

Thank gawd I saw that gave it an uber fresh 98%. Because here you have a road trip movie, a buddy flick and a love story (my eyes are watering up just thinking about it) all in one. Up is hilarious and yet has depth that adults will appreciate — from the unspoken need of a boy for his father’s approval to an old man’s desire to fulfill his wife’s lifelong wish.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

From the title onward, Up is a stratospheric success. It’s guaranteed to lift your spirits, and not with a pushy DreamWorks-style gag reel of celebrity voices and committee-processed one-liners.

There were many moments when I was laughing so hard that tears were rolling down my cheeks — the scary-looking villain with the unexpected chipmunk voice HI-larious! — and then there were moments when I was silently bawling and struggling to hide this fact from my bf; “Why are my contacts so dry?”

But not to fret, there were also colorful creatures and cute talking animals — I love Dug “SQUIRREL!” the tracker dog — as well as a mysterious world with crazy landscapes. And who can forget that fantastic mode of transportation that rivals James’ Giant Peach: the house held aloft by a bajillion happy-hued balloons.

In the end Carl endeared himself to me. I ended up loving his frowny face, his walker with tennis balls for feet and his even his grumpiness, appropriately voiced by Ed Asner. And even the 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer, Russell, voiced by non-child actor (he’s a child who’s not an actor, that is) Jordan Nagai, wasn’t annoying but pretty cute in that awkward and sweet way.

But, for me the talking dogs stole the show. If you’ve ever had a dog as a pet, you’d understand, recognizing and appreciating the dog culture, from the “Cone of shame” to the irresistibility of tennis balls and hatred of squirrels.

I’d totally go see this movie again and even own it when it comes out on DVD. It’s screening in 3D but I saw it in the regular way and it was still mighty enjoyable. Although, this 9-year-old I know excitedly told me that I just HAD to see it in 3D. With the colors, the flying scenes and even the action sequences, I may just have ta. BTW, if you’re not crazy about kids, see it at night when it’s past their bedtime.