Running time: 96 minutes
Screenplay: Bob Peterson, Pete Docter
Director: Pete Docter
Starring (voices): Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer
|Carl and Russell travel to South America in style.|
Carl is an old man living this lonely existence when the main plot begins; we find him struggling to prevent developers re-homing him in order to demolish his house and build whatever it is they intend to build. It is true this seems rather clichéd, as is the introduction of our second main character, the young boy-scout Russell (Jordan Nagai) who is clearly going to show the old man there is life after loss. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating Pixar, however. On the morning he’s about to be moved to the retirement home to wait for death, he reveals how he has tied a huge wad of balloons to his house and uses them to drag him and his house away to pastures new. Outlandish, clearly, but the scene is beautifully handled and a joy to watch. Unfortunately, he has taken Russell along for the ride by mistake. The two of them go off on an adventure to place the house on the top of Paradise Falls in South America.
The relationship between the two leads is a slightly unconventional take on the well-established buddy formula (something Pixar is certainly an expert on, having used the idea in different ways in Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Cars and Ratatouille), and has plenty of room for comedic and emotional elements – when Russell talks about his absent dad in quietly subdued tones, it is almost as upsetting as the opening. There are a few offbeat but engaging and funny plot developments as the pair meet a huge bird who the kid names ‘Kevin’ without realising it is female, and a dog named Dug with an electronic collar which allows him to talk.
|Dug introduces himself.|
The villain is slightly weak for a Pixar film, but it doesn’t even come close to spoiling the movie, and, thanks to the trademark glorious animation, the moment when the deranged ex-adventurer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) falls to his death from his blimp gives you a queasy moment of vertigo.
Yet another superb addition to Pixar’s CV, Up will devastate you in the first ten minutes and spend the remaining running time lifting your spirits, leaving you smiling again.
Matt largely agrees, but Gunther's review is clear evidence that not everybody is such a fan.