Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Up

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Who would have ever envisaged that Pixar could top the galactic heights of Wall-E? And with a story about a cantankerous old man, a boy scout and a flying house no less? Well writer/director Pete Doctor and his team have gone and done it. From the startlingly poignant opening montage to the family friendly action and the geriatric twist on the classic hero’s journey, Up is truly a wonder to behold.


Be warned: your Andy Warhol-style 3D glasses are as much at risk of fogging up due to tears as they are of flying off your face as you throw your head back in raucous laughter. How Pixar strikes such a beautiful balance boggles the mind.

Up enjoys similarly awe-inspiring visuals. The cinematography is as intricate as we’ve come to expect from Pixar and despite not quite making it into space this time around, Carl (Ed Asner) and Russell’s (Jordan Nagai) balloon adventures make for some stunning tableaux. Asner and Nagai’s voice work effortlessly breathes life into the gorgeous animation and charming screenplay. Asner in particular manages to navigate being a grumpy old man with the poignant undercurrent of a devastating loss, while Christopher Plummer positively revels as Carl’s childhood hero turned antagonist Charles Muntz.

Special mention must be made of the dogs. Any dog owner will delight in the hilarious attention to detail given to the idiosyncrasies of man’s best friend. And everyone should enjoy what mileage the film makes from establishing ‘in jokes’… SQUIRREL!

If Wall-E was about the flush of first love, Up takes this bond to its bittersweet conclusion, while also adding a lovely layer of burgeoning friendship. The film is unequivocally a cinematic masterpiece, so of course there is the danger of over-hype. But that said, run, don’t walk, to get on UP.

5 Stars


This review was published in The Brag.

NSW release date 17 September 2009.

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