There is something magical that Pixar manages to include in everything it makes. I would be hard-pressed to find a misstep that they’ve made (well, Cars…). They’re amazing, and everyone knows it. It’s clear what part of the magic is – they don’t treat their audience like it’s simple, despite the fact that their target audience is children. There is so much that the other major studios could learn from Pixar.
Up’s trailer slightly misleads as it doesn’t spell out the whole plot, which is rare these days for Hollywood films. All the audience is given is a cantankerous old man named Carl who lifts his home away with balloons and accidentally takes a young scout with him. Why does he want to go away? Where is he going? The explanation is in the first 10 minutes of the film, but it’s all shown and not told. We get exactly why he wants to take that house to South America and stay there until he passes. He’s not an angry old man – he’s a romantic.
Which brings up one of the clever themes integrated into the movie, devotion versus obsession. Carl crosses paths with his old hero whom he had always thought simply fell off the face of the Earth. No, the man disappeared because the world didn’t believe in his discovery, which he has been tracking for the better part of the past forty or fifty years – and ending anyone he believes might be getting in his way. There’s something obviously Ahab about him, and he works wonders as Carl’s foil.
This review isn’t as full of spoilers as I usually like, but like the first act of this film, it’s all better when seen rather than explained. This film is art at its finest – an experience that appeals to your senses and emotions. If you don’t feel something at least during the beginning of the film, you either know too well how to separate yourself from fictional experiences or you simply need to learn how to feel.
I should make a special mention about the dogs. Anyone who has ever had a dog or spent time with dogs will find the dogs hilarious, especially the joke that Dug shares with his new friends – whom he already loves. And the cone of shame…you have to love the cone of shame. And yes, I am understating everything. There’s a reason. Go spend your money on the film.
Bechdel Rule: Failure. There are no two women who speak to each other. Not that it matters. There’s nothing NON-feminist (masculist?) in this film, so no one should care. This film is good for the whole family – period.