96 Min. | Animation – Adventure – Comedy | October 2009
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Starring: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger
“Up” may be more emotionally charged than previous Pixar efforts, though almost exclusively in its first act, and is nevertheless a step down in storytelling for the company that last year brought us “Wall-E” and before that “Ratatouille.” “Up” suffers in comparison to those films, and happily resigns itself from ‘good Pixar’ to regular good. The story of Up, follows reluctant protagonist Carl Fredrickson, a 78-year old balloon salesman, who along with his now-departed wife, always dreamt of flying to adventure in Paradise Falls, South America. During a moving, poignant montage of his life, it becomes clear that the opportunity for adventure is passing the couple by. So when the widower Carl is sued and his home threatened, he takes the opportunity to take off, the house held afloat by thousands upon thousands of colorful balloons for the adventure he never had.
All goes according to plan until he discovers Russell, an overeager “wilderness explorer,” has stowed away beneath his porch. Where Up finds itself in trouble is in keeping the established themes at the forefront of the story when the arbitrary sequence of events in the second act unfold. The villain, Carl’s childhood idol (which makes this guy how old?), a disgraced adventurer by the name of Charles Muntz, is the perfect match as a man who’s been corrupted by his dreams, but he’s never developed to a satisfying level and receives relatively little screen time.
“Up” is sadly Pixar’s last original film until 2013, but with its glaring screenplay problems, it may be for the best that the studio recharge its creative cannons. After ten feature films, nine completely original, it’s hard to leverage complaints against “Up” greater than that it simply isn’t their best work. It may not be the revelation that “Ratatouille” or “Wall-E” were, but middle of the road Pixar is still worth the price of admission.
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