Genre: Animation / Family
Verdict: A triumph!
The gist: Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) has always dreamed of grand adventure – of discovering the lost lands of South America. But at 78 it seems all is lost. Then he fools everyone; one morning he unfurls thousands of balloons and he and his house soar up and away from the sadness and disappointment below. But he hasn’t left it all behind. He has a stowaway – 8-year-old Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai). All Russell wants is to earn his “Assisting the Elderly” badge. Together, they encounter a pack of talking dogs, an evil adventurer, a rare bird named kevin – and discover the greatest adventure of all.
My take: How is it an annimated film can mirror life so realistically? I don’t know either, but Up proves it to be true. The animation is, of course, spectacular in detail – but more than that, it’s the life breathed into each character. Carl and Russell are perfect examples of those easily overlooked in today’s society – children and the elderly. It’s animation. And it’s Oscar-worthy. The screenplay (Bob Peterson and Pete Docter) provides a little something for everyone – action, adventure, romance. You’ll laugh one minute, cry the next. But it is the story that makes the film. And it could not have been released at a more appropriate time. With more and more people breaking their banks simply to survive, it’s good to be reminded what lifts us up and sets us on our own adventure.
An aside: If you are at all prone to tears, take heed. You will bawl. I’m telling you this now so you’ll be prepared – so you won’t have to cry through 3 rough napkins that came with your kids meal, use the front of your hand, the back of your hand, your sleeve, until the gusher takes over and you are forced to grab the arm of the person sitting next to you – panic stricken – and demand “Kleenex! I NEED KLEENEX!!!!” Not that I would know any of this from experience, naturally …