Starring: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer
Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Running Time: 96 mins
Up is an American film about an elderly man who fulfils his dream of adventuring to the long-lost Paradise Falls in South America by tying thousands of balloons to his house and flying there, accompanied by a boy scout who accidentally lifts off with him.
I absolutely adore this film. It’s an amazing combination of all of Pixar’s most genius abilities: stunning visuals and animation, fantastic comedy, a sweet and fun story, and some real drama that means this film has got some weight to it too, and it all comes together to make an extremely solid and entertaining watch.
Let’s start with the drama in this film. A year before, Pixar showed their true capabilities in this field with WALL-E, but it was never as hard-hitting as necessary, however this is the next step up from that, a really fascinating and heavy-going dramatic plot line that is totally unforgettable.
That whole idea is epitomised in a four minute-long montage of the life of Carl, the elderly man, and his wife Ellie, as they grow up together dreaming of a trip to Paradise Falls, and when tragedy intervenes in this, you get hit right in the face by what I think is Pixar’s most emotionally hard-hitting moment ever.
Of course, it’s more emotional because, within four minutes, you feel as if you’ve grown up with Carl and Ellie, and I felt that my connection with them was so strong, so strong in fact I was weeping come the end of the montage. However, the main reason for its emotional impact is the stunning piece of music played behind. It’s the main theme for the whole film, but its range throughout this montage of being happy, dramatic, optimistic and terribly terribly sad is what really makes this one of the most heavy-going Pixar moments you’ll ever see.
However, don’t let that put you off this at all, because the rest of the film is a lot more upbeat and exciting, but it’s that montage that immediately gets you really engaged in this story.
So, the whole film is about adventure, wonderment and awe, and it really shines through in so many different ways, one of those being the fantastic imagination of the Pixar boys. From tying balloons to a house to talking dogs, this film is full of fun fantasy that’s also very believable, and fits in perfectly with the two main characters, who are much more down-to-earth.
It’s that contrast that also provides some excellent comedy throughout this film. You’ve got Carl, the grumpy old man who just wants to get on with his own things, and then this whole world of madness and excitement around him, which he hilariously tries to pass by, but has a whole lot of trouble doing so, which makes for a lot of laughs, as well as making the story a lot more exciting.
Overall, this gets a 9.3, because it’s a coming-together of some of the best things a film can do, being hugely entertaining as well as interesting and emotionally dramatic and hard-hitting, while also encompassing some brilliant technical achievements that make this film look and sound spectacular at the same time.