rating: (out of 4 stars)
United States; 2009
Directed by Pete Docter; co-directed by Bob Peterson; produced by Jonas Rivera, John Lasseter (executive), Andrew Stanton (executive), Denise Ream (executive); screenplay by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Starring (te voices of) Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo, John Ratzenberger, Pete Docter
‘Up’ is another great Pixar-hit, a delight for the whole family, filled with beautiful characters (two grumpy old men, a semi-annoying kind, a bird and some dogs), drawn with vivid imagination – including some tributes to older films and books – and telling a story that is sweet and more original one might think after hearing the basic premise.
That premise is an old man, Carl (voice of Ed Asner), and a kid named Russell (Jordan Nagai) in a floating house – with the help of quite some balloons – above the rain forest. The old man follows his dream after his wife Ellie has passed away: having an adventure by making the same voyage as Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) to Paradise Falls. While Ellie and Carl were growing up Muntz was an explorer who discovered a new kind of bird, but believed to be fraud. He returned to Paradise Falls to bring back living proof.
The major story points are easy to guess. We know the kid will be on that house and we know the explorer introduced in the beginning of the story will return to the film. But the Pixar-magic does not need to appear there. It appears in the little things, like the opening montage where Carl and Ellie fall in love, or close to every moment with the bird, by Russell now named Kevin. The sidekicks, including a dog named Dug (voice of co-director Bob Peterson), are once again important for the laughs when it comes to the adult audience.
‘Up’ is really a magical film. I enjoyed it tremendously as an adult – was moved when I was supposed to, laughed even when I was not – and my guess is kids will love the fantasy within this film. I mean, taking a journey with your balloon house and befriending both a giant colourful bird and a loving dog, what kid would be appalled by that? Pixar has the guts to tell the story they want to tell – whether it is about a rat creating a hard-to-pronounce dish (‘Ratatouille’), a robot that almost never talks (‘Wall-E’) or a floating house from a grumpy old men. Without exceptions they simply deliver.
|Review by Reinier Verhoef