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up-1Released: 29th May 2009

Directed By: Pete Docter

Starring: Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Naga

Certificate: U

Reviewed By: Luke Walkley

Pixar have an unmatched ability to produce hit movie after hit movie. Starting with their first feature film Toy Story they have continued to create family friendly films that bring joy to the hearts of the viewers and continually smash box office records a la Toy Story 3. With the latest addition to the Pixar Portfolio, Cars 2 being released in the UK on July 22nd, the company certainly has no intention of letting up. As well as this, Brave, the company’s next project has enjoyed a popular trailer and ad campaign leaving Pixar and movie fans alike waiting in anticipation for its release.

In 2009, Pixar released UP! It’s most emotional tale yet.  The tale follows 78 year-old Carl Fredricksen, who after the death of his lifelong love, Elle, ties thousands of balloons to his quaint little house in the middle of a big city and lifts off to carry out his lifelong dream of seeing South America. His plans are instantly disrupted when he discovers an accidental stowaway in the form of 8 year old wilderness explorer, Russell. Now Carl, Russell and talking dog- Dug come up against an unexpected enemy, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) a formerly respected explorer who seems to have gone more than a little crazy in his search for the ‘Monster of Paradise Falls’.

A far-fetched story that unusually for Pixar, featured real people as the main characters- ‘The Incredibles’ aside as they were superheroes.  While the story may seem unrealistic, let’s not forget that it’s from a company that usually provide numerous talking cars and fish. However the plot is merely the sturdy foundation for the content that builds upon it.

UP! Is so simplistic in its delivery yet it sparks up so many different emotions throughout its duration that at times its impossible to believe it’s an animated feature.  At times it is hilariously well written, Dug the talking dog is the stand out comedy character, a fantastic inclusion from the creators and voiced by Pixar Animator Bob Peterson, whose previous voice offerings include Mr Ray in Finding Nemo and Roz in Monsters.Inc.  While there are numerous moments of inspired comedy, this has to be considered one of the saddest films Disney have put their name to since Bambi. A beautiful opening  montage showing Carl and Ellie growing old together that contains no words, only music., managed to bring tears to the eyes of almost every person I sat and watched this film with originally and on repeat viewings the scene still hits the mark every time. Not since ‘Jessie’s Song’ in Toy Story 2 (the highlight of that film) have the creators taken such a risk on judging  and ultimately respecting that the entire age range of their very large audiences will appreciate the scene on an emotional level.

The characters are inspired; Carl is one of the deepest character’s to feature in any film to date. Meanwhile Dug is a fantastic addition to the bank of fantastic supporting characters created over the years (personal favourites including Ken and Barbie from TS3 and the previously mentioned Roz from Monsters Inc) UP! maintains the ethics and ideas that ensure the success of the companies work. Jokes that while child friendly overall are appreciated by all ages. An interesting side-note is that UP’s villain Charles Muntz is an obvious reference to Charles Mintz, the producer who stole Walt Disneys original idea for Oswald the Rabbit in the early years of Disney’s career.

UP! For me, is one of the most emotional movies I have ever seen in the cinema, something that on the way in I was completely unprepared for. Upon second viewing the feelings it attempts to produce in it’s viewers resonate as strongly as thefirst viewing.

While it will always be compared to the Toy Story series, it can easily be compared to more serious non-animated films. A modern day family favourite UP! Is a visually stunning treat that should be enjoyed by all that view it.


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