31 May 2009
You'll have to forgive me for this review. It will probably devolve into a string of superlatives. I would love to be able to provide a thoughtful, balanced, and grounded analysis, but I'm not sure it's possible, at least after only one viewing. But at the same time, I won't apologize for my response, since Up provided me with one of the most profoundly emotional experiences I've had at the movies in a long time.
I don't want to go into much detail, because you should see it all for yourself. You probably already know a little about the plot, and that's fine. It's a unique story, part old-fashioned adventure serial, part fairy tale. But what makes it so compelling is its central character, the elderly but spry Carl Fredericksen, voiced by Ed Asner.
The movie is artistically brilliant as well. If it's one thing that the animators at Pixar know it's cinematography. One shot in particular sticks in my mind. I won't give the context but it happens at sunset, as we see Carl and his floating house silhouetted against a backdrop of purple, orange, and red. It's a breathtaking sight.
I'm not sure what else to write about. It's incredibly enjoyable, not just for children. If you don't feel something while watching it, you're a rock. There's something so elemental about animation, especially in the hands of Pixar. The characters' performances can cut through to us in a way that live action performances can't. We don't have any preconceived ideas about the actors; we've never seen these people before. The emotions are distilled down to their pure essences, and they're very effective. At least they were for me.