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Up (2009)

Film review: Up (2009), directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson

upMuch has been said about this animated film from Disney/Pixar. The old man looks just like someone’s grandfather, you can’t help but cry, and it tells a better love story in about four minutes than Twilight manages in four books. The 115 rank on IMDb’s Top 250 also speaks a clear language: Up is a very good film.

Young Carl Fredricksen has a hero: adventurer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), who went to Paradise Falls in South America and found a skeleton … that made him fall out of favour with scientists, as he was accused of forging it. Still, Carl is his biggest fan … until he comes across Ellie.

As they grow up and become a couple, they decide to go to Paradise Falls together, but as so often happens, life comes in between, and before they know it, life takes its toll.

Carl (Ed Asner) is left a widower, whose house is about to be knocked down to make way for a brand new development. When he’s forced to go to a retirement home, he decides to take his home and fly away to Paradise Falls himself. He just hadn’t counted on young “Wilderness Explorer” Russell (Jordan Nagai) coming along for the ride, desperate to get his final badge …

Also starring Bob Peterson as Dug and Alpha, Delroy Lindo as Beta, Jerome Ranft as Gamma and John Ratzenberger as Construction Foreman Tom.

Before seeing the film, I didn’t know anything about the plot. It was something to do with a house floating in the air by a myriad of colourful balloons and some old guy. I didn’t expect it to be a film about a man fulfilling a life-long dream of going to Venezuela with what’s effectively a chatty boy scout coming along, meeting a rare and elusive bird and a pack of anthropomorphic dogs with translating collars. Dug in particular is hilarious and often made me laugh out loud with his very dog-like exclamations. Not to mention everyone getting distracted by squirrels.

Because the montage love story at the beginning was predictable, the inevitable ending didn’t have me sob uncontrollably, even though it was very sad. Instead, I kept dreading the prospect of Carl falling down dead at any point. That wouldn’t have been suitable for a kid’s film? Two words: Old Yeller. Or, why not, Bambi‘s mum. Whether or not it happens? Watch and Find Out.

Your disbelief has to be suspended on a whole number of accounts, and there are some dark and disturbing bits to the film, but overall, Up is hugely enjoyable, funny, adventurous and cute. So glad the BBC decided to show it over the holiday period.

4.8 out of 5 merit badges.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on. Might get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

6 thoughts on “Up (2009)

    1. Yeah, in a way, the love story is very true to life. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you wanted them to, and dreams you make together remain just dreams for various reasons. Up carries an important message – that sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The adventure you long for might actually be happening to you every day, and you don’t have to be trecking to a waterfall in the Venezuelan jungle to find it.

  1. Up is such a fantastic films, one of the best there is, in my opinion. I was sad that it and Wall-E, another best-of-the-best, got basically ZERO hype at Disneyland.

    1. Boo! I was going to say maybe they focus more on the classics, but then I remembered the photo you posted of your family in front of that red racecar from Cars, so that can’t be it. Maybe the car is more iconic than a grumpy old man and a chubby kid? :/

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