Ah yes, Pixar once again displays their expertise in diverse storytelling. They have masterfully combined their technical and visual prowess with an engaging narrative to produce one of their most touching and complete movies to date. It is a twist on the somewhat typical tale of an unlikely hero and the ties that bond in friendship and family.
If nothing else, the first 10-20 minutes of this flick alone are worth being watched. There is a complete and heartfelt story here that serves as the intro to the truly epic tale that unfolds. This intro creates great empathy for the main character, Carl Fredricksen, that presented for me a lasting connection to him for the entire film. Thought being presented early on as somewhat of a geriatric, by the climax of the movie, Carl eventually becomes a full on action hero and I totally buy it. There is such concise and effective storytelling used throughout the film, from references to Carl’s past (the intro that is a movie all its own), to the believable connection between Carl and Russell and Dug and Kevin. The narrative in the flick is just solid.
Though there aren’t many speaking characters here, they are all done exceptionally well and add immense realism to their characters. First, there’s Jordan Nagai voicing Russell. This kid pulls off the slightly overeager Wilderness Explorer with perfection. Every up and down he takes comes off completely naturalistic. Then there’s the great Christopher Plummer voicing Charles Muntz the adventurer. Though his part isn’t huge, the weight the brings to the role and to the film is undeniable. Finally there is Edward Asner as Carl Fredricksen. With Asner, his superb voice acting is matched and enhanced by the way the character is rendered. The result is a character that feels real, kept me engaged through the whole movie, and I actually cared about.
As Pixar continues to make films, their skill with rendering completely virtual worlds continues to grow; Up is certainly no different. This is a pretty movie, and that’s a word I don’t use that word lightly. The pseudo-realistic way the film is rendered, coupled with its fantastic story, I get a great feeling that what I’m looking is real although NOTHING on the screen exists. With such a pleasent and concise story, there are many things in this picture that work well.
- When going Up, “the Force is strong with this one.”