Saturday, 24 April 2010

Up - Review


When you know a film is supposed to deliver it's emotional punch in the first fifteen minutes you could, potentially, get through the opening with all that gravitas getting lost.  You could sit there emotionally detached from it, simply taking in the truly stunning visuals.  But that would make you a person with a heart of stone.  Evil stone.

Watching a couple go from meeting as small children and play out their lives together in truly touching and beautifully made snap shots, including the discovery they can't have kids, is a wonderfully evocative way of setting the film up.  It's animation with more than just kids as it's main target.  Although the rest of the film does sink some what into typical Disney stuff (talking dogs etc) the opening succeeds in drawing you into Carl Fredrick's life so well that you do genuinely care what happens.

His wife has died and his house is being repossessed.  He is tired of life and yet somewhere in him is a lost dream of adventure.  So on the morning he's due to be sent to a retirement home he attaches a plethora of helium filled balloons to his house and 'up' it does indeed go.  Visually this whole sequence was by far my favourite.  After the emotional, gut wrenching opening, seeing this old man set him self free is just wonderful and it's done in such a truly delightful way.  On BluRay, with all the colours brought so beautifully to life and in full 1080p, the film sings.  Utterly gorgeous.

He plans to fly to Paradise Falls, somewhere deep in South America and live out the rest of his days there in his house, perched high on a cliff.  However he inadvertently has a stow away in the form of a young boy called Russell.  He's a Wilderness Explorer and despite being a long way from home seems to be unfazed, and joins Carl on his adventure.  Carl is grumpy, Russell is peppy.  They're a modern day odd couple and once giant bird Kevin and talking dog Doug join the party, following the houses arrival in South America, the film springs off in a new direction.  

Plot wise it's all pure fantasy.  But that opening grounds it in a reality that you never quite escape.  A man's love for his wife and need fulfil their childhood dream.  

It's the best computer animated film yet, Pixar delivering visuals that just spring out of the screen at you.  Seriously, who needs 3D?  It's bright and colourful, Doug is the funniest talking dog since that one on That's Life saying 'sausages' and although the Carl is a very grumpy old man, you'll love him anyway.

Delightful.