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"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Up

MOVIE REVIEWS

UP (2009)

Featuring the voices of Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Bob Peterson, Delroy Lindo, Jerome Ranft, John Ratzenberger, David Kaye, Elie Docter and Jeremy Leary.

Screenplay by Bob Peterson.

Directed by Pete Docter.

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.  96 minutes.  Rated PG.

 Everyday Beautiful

Up

Pixar just keeps upping the ante with their films.   

You keep thinking there will be a let down, but it never quite seems to come.

In fact, Up is one of the best Pixar films yet.  It is smart, heartfelt, imaginative, funny, tragic and awe-inspiring.  It is perfectly modulated for children and yet it is a much more profound and touching experience for adults.  It is sentimental without being sappy, adventurous without being gratuitous, exciting without being violent, funny without being trivial.

In fact, it's pretty near perfect.

Mostly, though, Up is a reminder that life is an adventure - whether you are exploring the Venezuelan rain forest or living in a tiny house in the city. 

In one of the most impressive introductions in recent film, Up spends its first ten or so minutes giving a concise and moving introduction to its main character - replaying the highlights of a former balloon salesman named Carl Frederickson's life and his one true love.  He meets Ellie as a small boy - they share a dream of adventure and travel based upon their shared respect for an explorer named Charles Muntz.  They grow and change - purchase the small clapboard house in their neighborhood and live a life of love. 

Eventually Carl is widowed and lives alone in his old house, missing his love and ruing the adventures they never realized.  He has become embittered by a world that is passing him by.  He spends his days arguing with the construction workers who are constantly building up his neighborhood around him and avoiding a young scout who has made it his goal to help the man so that he can finally get his "helping the elderly" merit badge.

When Carl has finally had enough of his world, he comes up with a rather magical way of shaking his life up, using hundred of balloons to fly his house to Paradise Falls - the South American land which Muntz discovered and was eventually disgraced by when giant bird bones he brings back are decried as fakes.  As he takes his home to find certain adventure, he finds he has a stowaway - the young scout named Russell was on his porch when they achieved liftoff.

The two fly down to Venezuela, eventually befriending a giant bird who loves chocolate, a talking dog - and more importantly, each other. 

I recently interviewed Ed Asner, who perfectly voices the crotchety Carl.  Asner referred to the film as "a love story between an old man and a little kid.

Up is indeed that, but it is so much more.  It is a realization that all of life is an adventure - whether you are in a tropical rainforest or a city street.  It is a realization that a home can be both a lifeline and a crutch.  It is a reminder to open yourself to things in life or it will all pass you by.  Sometimes the biggest adventure is simply living your life.

It's all pretty heady stuff for a children's film - and at this point you wouldn't expect anything less from Pixar.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 10, 2009.

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Copyright ©2009   PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 10, 2009.

 

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