I can’t tell you the last time I went to the movies and had as much fun as I did watching the movie, Up. Up is the story of 78 year old Carl Fredrickson (voiced perfectly by Ed Asner) and his attempt to fly his home to South America by tying thousands of balloons to it. He succeeds but inadvertently brings along Russell (voiced by newcomer Jordan Nagai), a young Wilderness Explorer who is trying to earn his final badge, Helping the Elderly. Along the way, they encounter talking dogs, a strange bird that Russell names Kevin, and an evil villain.
Now before I go more into the plot, I’d like to say a few words about Pixar’s 3D. Some of the reviews I have read about Up state that the 3D is not essential to the story. In some ways I do agree as there are no really exciting, pop-off-the-screen and into-your-face 3D graphics in this movie except for some flying darts and fireworks. But Pixar’s 3D is excellent and nothing like the lousy 3D that I grew up with in the 70’s and 80’s. This 3D works so well with the animation that the movie itself seems to naturally jump off the screen, adding a richness and vitality that would be missing if I was not watching it in 3D…
Additionally, several of the previews were in 3D as well as the featured short before the movie. I love that Pixar runs shorts prior to the main feature. Partly Cloudy is a cleverly delicious tale about storks, babies, and the clouds that make them and it focuses on one particular cloud who is producing “difficult” babies and the stork who must deliver them. It was the perfect intro to the feature film and it is destined to become a classic itself.
Up is one of those rare children movies that also appeals to adults. It’s almost as if Pixar made the movie for the adults and the kids can come along for the ride. As the years speed by, the relationship between Carl and his wife, Ellie, is heart-warmingly, sweet and her passing is sadly poignant, yet should fly over the heads of the wee ones in the audience. The ensuing trip deals with a wide variety of issues including loneliness, anger, single parenting, friendship, and loyalty, without being obvious or preachy. Even the talking dogs (aided by a device attached to their collars) talk like how you might imagine a real dog would talk if he suddenly acquired that ability. In fact, some of the funniest moments include the talking dogs and the word “squirrel.”
There’s excitement, fun, scary dog chases, and exotic backgrounds. I don’t want to reveal anymore so I suggest that you take your kids to see Up. If you don’t have any kids, go yourself. And make sure you see it in 3D. You’ll be glad you did.