Reviews: Up

2/3 of a great film.

"Up" is a great movie for the most part, but unfortunately loses strength in the third act. As you all know, your first 10 minutes are absolutly gorgeous, simple, and touching, but the movie begins to decline as soon as the presence irritating Russell becomes permanent, and worsens the journey of the characters reaches the forest, which turns out to be a far less exuberant scenario than one might expect. And the script from that moment introduces a conflict that sounds absolutely artificial, (Spoilers) when Russell and Carl discover the giant bird and decide and the boy decides that it needs to be protected, even at the risk of their own lives. Because? No reason is provided for such a decision. Such a situation, as well as Muntz's revelation as a psychopathic killer, seems only created by the need to justify the feature film.What becomes uncomfortable in the third act of "Up" is not its absurdity, the dogs with speech devices that fly planes, or the fact that Russell is able to do in minutes what Muntz has not been able to do in almost a century, that is , tame the great bird. but rather the fact that the plot becomes totally forced, seeming to exist only for the necessity to fill the third act.

Outstanding at parts, but extremely uneven

When I first saw this movie, I thought it was amazing. The first ten minutes were one of the best examples of visual storytelling I've ever seen and made me instantly connect with Carl, the rest of the cast were incredibly entertaining to watch, the whole adventure was fun and the payoff when Carl actually reaches his goal only to realize how utterly hollow his victory is was an absolutely beautiful moment... However, time has not been all that kind to this movie. Oh don't get me wrong, everything involving Carl and Ellie's relationship is absolutely outstanding... but this is pretty much all in those first ten minutes and the scene where Carl looks through the album just before the climax. And the rest of the movie, while undoubtedly entertaining, is to me just a bit too silly, and its logic seems horribly inconsistent. Like, I can accept for the purpose of the story that Carl was able to lift the house by attaching thousands of balloons to it... but the idea that he and Russel are then able to weigh it down just by their own body-weight, keeping the house afloat but preventing it from flying away? That makes no sense whatsoever. Also the adventure they go to just does not feel like it belongs in the same movie as the opening montage. Like, really? Dogs flying airplanes and firing syringes at a kid hanging from a waterhose attached to a flying house? And how is Muntz still alive at this point?

Don't get me wrong, this is still a good movie. Despite its excessive silliness, it is consistently entertaining, Carl and Russel are still incredibly likable protagonists and the relationship between them is genuinely moving, and the opening montage alone more than justifies the price of admission, but on the whole... Yeah, not one of my favorites. With Ratatouille, Pixar started a string of absolutely brilliant movies which continued up to Toy Story 3 (and abruptly ended after that with the release of easily their worst movie yet in Cars 2 but that's neither here nor there), but to me, this is the weakest movie they released in that period.

A very sad and depressing film

I'm probably one of the few vocal minority here, but I didn't enjoy this film as much as I should have.

The first thing I was cautious about when this film was coming out to its near-critical acclaim. I didn't get the chance to see it straight away. After Cars, and their temper tantrum at the Annie's awards with HTTYD beating Toy Story 3 (for once), Pixar seems to be lobbying within its own success and accomplishments. I'm very worried the company is reaching a culmination of pretentiousness and arrogance, as opposed to focusing on good stories.

The major problems I have is that heartbreaking opening IS TOO GOOD. Like the sibling relationship in Lilo and Stich, it unwittingly works against the rest of the film. Carl Fredricksen and Ellie growing old together. Its so somber, so depressing, so realistic. Carl desperate not to lose his house and go into a retirement home accidentally injures a man. This isn't funny people. Its dead serious. It essentially KILLS the mood for the rest of the flick.

His kid sidekick, a giant bird, not even that cliched talking dog "Doug" (seriously how many films have had talking animals?) could lift my spirits "UP" after that.

Then it has its second major flaw. Unlike the first however, this one is a bad one. Charles Muntz.

He is quite possibly, the WORSE villain with the worse motivation to be a villain, ever in any film. He's even No.5 on's Top 5 Needlessly Evil villains list. He's the reason why Carl and Ellie wanted to be explorers in the first place. His start of darkness? He's a famous explorer fallen into disrepute after allegations that the skeleton of a never-before-seen-bird was a fake. That's NOT the way the scientific method WORKS! New species are always being discovered. A little scrutiny would reveal it IS A REAL skeleton. Look Pixar, you cannot have your cake and eat it. Either go for a film portraying real life, or don't.

Not to mention: HOW is Muntz still alive? Carl was a very young child watching his exploits. Now he's easily in his 80s. This would make Charles at least 120-130!? I can accept talking dogs guys, but the suspension of disbelief here was shattered by his appearance.

The sad thing is, there was HUGE potential for a wonderful film here, but they botched it UP! My advice? Watch the first brilliant 10 minutes, then turn it off.


For a film relying so heavily on the concept of aerial suspension, it's ironic that my disbelief could be suspended only for that aspect and little else. Layman's terms, I would have liked Up more if I could have believed it. But I didn't.

Here's my list of things I couldn't believe:
  • Muntz has spent a whole century trying to catch a single bird. There's got to be more than one of that thing and no matter how fast it is there's always other tactics, like tracking its smell.
  • Muntz luring the bird never worked because apparently it will only respond to chocolate (for some reason!) So just because he owns lots of dogs, that means he's forbidden from ever buying the thing. That's hardly the case for thousands of real-life dog owners, especially since Muntz can just tell his dogs chocolate is bad for them. And if he's never owned chocolate, how come Beta and Gamma could recognize its smell?
  • Muntz has caught dozens of other fantastic, dinosaur-esque beasts, and never once considered taking one of them to America. Nobody would care about a funny South American ostrich when you have what looks like the lovechilds between an ankylosaur and a buffalo.
  • Muntz has built a perfect mind-reading device capable of translating thoughts in the jungle.
  • Carl not going back on his promise to Russell just because he said it the way Ellie did. Common sense would say letting Muntz have the bird wouldn't hurt it, thus keeping the promise, and Muntz specifically said he was going to bring back the bird alive.
    • Even if taking Kevin would have starved her children, the heroes could have just told Muntz about this and they could track down Kevin and pick up her chicks too. Muntz would take that incentive, four birds for the price of one.

I enjoyed Ed Asner's and Jordan Nagai's acting, and Dug made me laugh and want to hug him every time. But the plot holes kept nagging, and it also bothered me how, for an adventure film, it showed so little of the sights of the jungle like Finding Nemo did for the ocean. Nemo had sharks, submarine, anglers, jellyfish, turtles, whales, etc. Up has one bird, a zeppelin, the dogs, and that's it, worse considering we see the hints for so much cooler animals in Muntz's museum. I wanted to fly away with Carl's house but was too weighed by plot holes. How disappointing.

Pixar at its best

I honestly feel like Up is everything a movie should be. It is funny, clever, heartwarming, and is visually stunning. I highly recommend this movie to anyone

Paradise Falls....and lifts back up

Chief among Upís strengths is its whimsical premise-a house carried into the sky by innumerable colourful, helium-filled balloons. The image of balloons emerging from under an unfurling tarp is awe-inspiring and beautifully-rendered, as is much of the movie.

Up is also undeniably a character piece. There is so much depth in the relationship between Carl and Ellie, even though it is told in 15 minutes and, for the most part, without dialogue. This whirlwind journey through the travails and simple joys of the 70 years they spend together is the filmís strongest portion.

A masterful balance has also been found in the characterization of almost everyone in the film, and the voice-acting is exceptional all-around.

The movie seems to hit all the right notes in combining plenty of delightful humour, moments of sadness, visual spectacle, an adventurous spirit and genuine peril-those heights are frighteningly realistic, especially in 3D, and there is plenty of dangling thousands of feet up in the air.

However, Up is not perfect, and despite its many positive points, is not Pixarís best effort in my opinion. The first half of the film is noticeably better than the second; for all itís worth the primary colours of the rainforest and fairly exciting chase sequences cannot outshine the heartfelt love story between Carl and Ellie.

Up is also admittedly far-fetched, and while every effort is made to ground the story, it just seems to float up and up and up. At times the whimsical premise works against it, and portions of the film are a little too fantastical to be readily relatable to the audience. While the story is inventive, it is not as visionary or well-told as, say, Ratatouille or Finding Nemo. Even in terms of visual spectacle, Up doesnít pack as much punch as Pixarís action-packed superhero satire The Incredibles or WALL-E. The latter also has a slightly more endearing main character to carry the film.

All that said however, Up supercedes many mediocre animated films that cram too many pixels and not enough story into their 80-90 minutes. One can always expect more from Pixar, and despite its shortcomings, Up rises satisfyingly far above average.

3.5/5 STARS Check it out for more, thanks for humouring me!

Very original story, and a great mix of adventure, comedy, and character

First off, let me mention the first thing that came to mind when I watched this film: It's extremely rare to see not only a movie, but an adventure movie, and an animated one at that, which has an elderly man as the main character! For that alone, Up breaks new ground.

The story itself is very original. In an attempt to live out the adventure he's always wanted, Carl decides to tie a zillion helium balloons to his house and fly off into the sky. But since we need that character dynamic that a lot of movies thrive on, a little kid accidentally gets added to the mix. Russell is overweight, and he too breaks new ground: an overweight adventure protagonist who's portrayed positively.

Both characters are played for humor at times, with Carl's crotchety "old man who doesn't like people" nature as well as his old age, and Russell's lack of athleticism (to a degree) played for laughs and even some cartoon slapstick, but both characters also get their chance to shine later on through some nice Character Development.

Like other Pixar films, Up touches on some rather heady themes. For one thing, it's strongly implied that earlier in life, Carl's wife Ellie had a miscarriage. It's not stated, but you know what happened. And Carl - and the audience - gets another shock: his childhood idol, the man who inspired him to go on an adventure in the first place and started his love for adventure, is in fact evil and has been killing everyone he met who happened to land in his place!

Above all, though, this is a movie about adventure, with a great deal of clever humor. The way Carl and Russell attach Carl's floating house to their bodies as they explore the land so the house doesn't fly off is one heck of a surreal sight. And many of the characters are just great. The pack of dogs who can talk via translator collars are a lot of fun and a great source of humor. They act very human-like, but their dog natures overpower them, and it's funny hearing their speech go from "I got you now!" to "Squirrel! Squirrel!" And there's still Disney-style cartoon slapstick, particularly involving the exotic bird the two find on their journeys.

Up is what a lot of movies can be at their best: multiple moods that form a cohesive whole. It's funny. It's tearjerking at times. It's adventurous and exciting. And it's refreshingly original.