Pixar’s latest film proves to be exciting, heartwarming

Vince Driver and Vince Driver

Pixar’s latest film, Up, is a poignant and exciting balloon ride from start to finish. The movie manages to do more with computer generated characters than most can with flesh and blood.

Up follows the life of Carl Fredricksen, beginning with his youth idolizing zeppelin adventurer Charles Muntz.’ After seeing a news reel featuring Muntz’s latest trip to South America, Carl leaves the theater with dreams of following in his footsteps.’ On the walk home, he happens upon fellow adventure buff Elie, an outspoken and cheerful girl who he instantly falls for.’ The two make a vow to some day visit the area made famous by Muntz. From there, the film does a montage of their romance and marriage.’ Various pitfalls befall the couple, both in family life and the quest to follow Muntz. Eventually, a now elderly Carl purchases plane tickets to South America, but Elie falls ill and they are unable to make the trip.

Despite being only a short portion of the film, the part about Carl and Elie’s relationship sets the stage emotionally without seeming like cheap emotional manipulation.’ If anything, this segment works too well, and starts the movie off on an extremely depressing note.’ Fortunately the comedy and adventurous spirit which follows is able to lift the movie.

The interaction between the characters on the adventure is the best part of this movie.’ Russell, the eager boy scout, provides a hilarious counterpoint to Carl’s crotchety annoyance.’ The addition of Dug, a talking dog only concerned with pleasing others, forms a trio that is both humorous and heart warming.

Action is another important aspect of this film. The journey of the balloon lifted house often hits snags such as thunderstorms and canine biplanes.’ These sequences are expertly composed, tension is palpable in some chase scenes. The effective character development creates real worry in the impressive scenes.

The visuals are always believeable, the voices are all appropriate, and the score is one of Pixar’s best.’ The film manages to be exciting, tragic and thoughtful.’ This may be Pixar’s best film yet, and it is one of the best films this year.’ Skip the standard family fair and popcorn munchers, this is a must see. Grade: A+ Runtime: 96 min Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson Cast: Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai Release: May 29, 2009 Rating: PG