Pixar’s “Up” received some really great reports during its theatrical run earlier this year, marking itself out as a Best Picture contender in this modern era of expanded awards nominations. My own relationship with Pixar has therefore far been a pleasurable 1, with all the exception of 1998’s “A Bug’s Life” I’ve found their output over time to be staggeringly brilliant, I’m even a self professed fan of “Cars”. So it was a surprise that I wasn’t completely enamored with “Up”, I liked it certain, but not while viewing it did I feel like I was watching an animated masterwork. The characters and narrative simply appear a tad weaker than almost all of Pixar’s past products. I must create myself well-defined in this early stage of the review that I did have a truly advantageous time with all the film….it’s just….you know…not very the mind-blowing family spectacle the buzz had guaranteed.
“Up” follows Carl Frederickson (Ed Asner) a curmudgeonly older fellow who’s home has been built around by business tyrants, wanting just Carl’s property to create the commercialized complete their project demands.
In the opening 10 minutes it’s revealed that Carl when had a loving if not sometimes tragic existence with his deceased spouse Ellie, the home their last remaining bond on Earth. After an unfortunate accident in which a workman is injured through Carl’s psychological pairing with all the destination he ends up losing his apartment, and is forced into the unappealing Retirement house lifestyle. However in a bid to evade this future he concocts a devilish program to see a lost land in South America that he and Ellie usually dreamed about, whilst taking the home with him. Attaching thousands of Helium balloons to the property he takes to the sky delivering an unwitting but enthusiastic youngster called Russell (Jordan Nagai) with him. Together they create it to South America and head to the Waterfall that Ellie constantly desired to find, meeting along the method an assortment of crazy animals and an explorer gone mad in his pursuit of the mythical neighborhood beast.
From a visual perspective “Up” is every bit as breathtaking and distinctive as past Pixar functions, even providing 3-D for added admiration if the viewer is really inclined. Yet I might virtually be sure the wonderfully lavish animation looses nothing without the 3rd dimension, the art and character shape in “Up” is anything really magical to behold. Pixar have lengthy established themselves as wizards in both the storytelling and CGI departments, “Up” cementing both statuses to a certain degree. Certainly I was more impressed with all the look of the product on this event, anything this blatantly goofy and zany translating beautifully and providing a delightful burst of observable pleasure. The film is a massively colourful orgy of unparalleled frenzy and craziness, from an artistic standpoint the work in “Up” can’t be faulted.
To state the characterization in “Up” is anything lower than superior will be harsh, yet the central figures are a cut below the quite strongest Pixar cohorts. Carl is perfectly voiced by Ed Asner and is eventually presented as an emotionally complex individual with a deadpan sensibility, but as a lead he lacks the charm or fizzle of the Buzz or perhaps a Woody. Thanks to some mature plot devices along with a delightful flashback at the beginning it’s not difficult to sympathize with him, and yes, as a character he’s commendably 3 dimensional. But does he evoke the sense of underdog heroism or aged school charisma that even Wall-E netted? Not really……he’s a strong hero really not a great 1. The voice work is wise within the different supporting figures, though in “Up” they’re a group mined heavily for comedy. To a certain extent it may be possible to locate some psychological hook within Russell’s persona (he scores bigger on laughs than tears) but otherwise it’s directly up goof-balling within the alternative eccentrics.
“Up” deserves recognition for its pursuit of more complex and adult themes, Pixar’s interest in the human spirit what eventually separates them within the like of DreamWorks. “Up” does some courageous work (specifically in the initially half) with its leading guy, drawing him out to be a true cinematic presence, instead of a mere cartoon character. This complex psychological undercurrent is what actually provides the film its fire, the narrative more amiable than outright immense. For a Pixar film boasting such visual creativity I was amazed how unremarkable and predictable the central plot arc was, without the sound characterizations and lush visuals “Up” will be dabbling dangerously close to the realms of mediocrity. The jokes are frequent and absolutely far contrasted from last year’s “Wall-E”, this time Pixar actively looking chuckles within the silliest of sources. Again the more mature viewer must appreciate the subtler humor provided by Carl, but the energetic and bonkers laughs being mined within the supporting players come from a school of comedy more in tone with universally appealing comedic values.
I liked “Up” and am keen to find it again, if over anything to confirm it as a playful if not flawed addition to Pixar’s filmography. It remains a secure bet for a motion pic to keep all family members entertained and stays a beat or 2 before the DreamWorks team because of its fine tuned psychological detail. But if this might be the initial Pixar film to receive a right pic nomination I’ll be a small unsettled because whilst it may be damned advantageous, it’s not their masterpiece.