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12/27/2012 12:55:17 •••


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.

11/06/2011 00:00:00

Good review, even if I don't agree. However, you will be ridiculed mercilessly for that title. Just a head's up.

11/06/2011 00:00:00

Thanks. I've actually don't like the title myself! Know a better one?

11/07/2011 00:00:00

  • He did track its smell; that's what the dogs were for. As for the lack of birds, we can simply assume a low number and population density; perhaps there were more birds other than the mother and its chicks that Muntz has tried and failed to catch, but we didn't see those in the movie.
  • Muntz was obsessed about the bird. Besides, those other animals are fossils if I recall correctly.
  • No real answer for that. I'd say this is more of a suspension of disbelief thing (Consider how Tony Stark built his suit IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!)
  • They already knew the bird has chicks it was taking care of; taking Kevin would have definitely adversely affected the children. Other than that, Muntz was a frothing lunatic; you don't trust a man like that to act rationally.
    • Muntz would not have trusted them. That's pretty obvious considering his mindset ("Oh, so you're just trying to get me to let my guard down, eh?"). Also, moving the chicks would have probably killed them; consider how hard it is to raise wild animals to adulthood in captivity in optimal conditions, let alone putting them through the ordeal of altitude changes and some dramatic changes in diet.

Just trying to answer what you think are plotholes. I agree about the dog thing, but not about the others. I also don't think Up really needed to focus on the jungle, but you're right that it would have been nice to see Finding Nemo levels of detail in the scenery.

11/07/2011 00:00:00

Regarding the dinosaur-esque beasts, I think I recall him saying how he had to fight one of them. Unfortunately, both Youtube and IMDB don't have the clip or the quote and I don't own the movie so I can't verify. (I totally wanted to include the Tony Stark joke, though, but sadly the review hit the word limit!) We don't know why smell didn't work, though, the dogs were tracking Kevin, but it seems they never found its nest, for some reason. As for Muntz, it's true that you can't really predict a lunatic, but it feels like manipulative writing to make him utterly crazy just so he can make only Jumping Off The Slippery Slope decisions. That was another aspect I didn't like, that the conflict in the plot is fueled solely by "a guy went crazy and began attacking these guys." It felt like Motive Decay.

11/08/2011 00:00:00

If he fought one of the dinosaur beasts, then I was wrong, although he may have been talking about before the first voyage to South America when he picked up the bird skeleton.

I agree that insanity never is a good reason for something a character does, and I'd also agree that Muntz and his dogs are the weak link in the movie.

11/08/2011 00:00:00

Strangely enough, I found the dog collars a bit of a breaker too. I guess the felt a bit unnecessary and kinda doesn't fit the jungle/explorer theme, especially since this is Pixar kings of the silent characters. Heck the first part of the film shows you how no dialogue is done.

11/08/2011 00:00:00

The first part of the film was definitely the best part, though I actually really enjoyed Dug and the other dogs since they were funny and it was interesting for once to get a talking dog that actually sounds like what a dog would say. Honestly, I could have suspended my disbelief on the dog collars plot hole if the film had covered the other ones sufficiently. But they didn't, so I am disappointed.

03/07/2012 00:00:00

I think the film is more than good enough to justify any such plot holes, if you can even call them that. You can justify a lot in a film if its for something. There's a lot of payoff with the dogs and the great hunter.

The dogs are there to add to the overall sense of strangeness. After a lifetime of living a routine and extremely mundane life, he's going out into the wild in more ways than one. The dogs are the answer to the unspoken question "how much weirder will this get?" And of course they're funny and help to pick up the second act.

Muntz justifies himself by being Asner's opposite and by settling part of the question "did I waste my life?" Muntz is the hero Asner and his wife looked up to and Asner finally gets to see first hand that while he could have taken more chances in life, a life of adventure can consume you too. What has come of Muntz's time and talent? Nothing. Even the talking dog invention is wasted in his pursuit of the hunt. Asner in the meantime may not have lived an exciting life but it was a meaningful one (as he learns when he finally looks in his wife's adventure book.) Muntz is half of what Asner's character needs to make peace with his last great regret and for that, I can forgive the plot holes.

03/07/2012 00:00:00

I disagree. I think the dogs are there as Funny Talking Animal fanservice for little kids.

The Muntz-as-foil is a good analysis though.

03/07/2012 00:00:00

Nitpicking slightly: they did not go through a jungle; it's an unusual environment called a tepui. Great little documentary on Pixar's trip there on the full DVD if you have access to a copy.

That said, this is a well-written review and you have some valid arguments about Muntz. I think in his rage, shame, and bitterness, he just wasn't capable of thinking things through all the way. Or perhaps there was a deleted scene that might have made his actions more valid in the finished film.

And I think the title is hilarious myself, but I'll admit I'm easily amused.

03/11/2012 00:00:00

Yeah, I'm noticing that the film holds up better when it's interpreted as more of a symbolic character development story for Carl, rather than a literal adventure story. The first analysis holds up better, such as with Muntz as a villain and Carl's promise to Russel, the latter adventure one doesn't hold them up as well. But the two interpretations don't have to be mutually exclusive, and I mostly came to watch the latter kind of story, not the former.

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