Rated PG for some peril and action.
May 29, 2009
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Kids/Family
Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, Paul Eiding, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
OFFICIAL WEB SITE:
UP - Official Movie Web site
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By Jennifer E. Jones
700 Club Multi-Media Producer
For anyone who ever daydreamed about floating off with a helium balloon, get carried away with Disney/Pixar’s new 3-D animated film, Up.
This flick tells the story of 78-year-old Carl Fredericksen, a widower living alone in the home that he used to share with his beloved and belated wife, Ellie. Childhood sweethearts, the Fredericksens always dreamed of going on a wild adventure to the fabled Paradise Falls in South America. However, real life got in the way, and they never made it off of their block.
Years after Ellie passes, Carl finds himself fighting off contractors who are building around his home and trying to buy him out. Eventually, an altercation with a construction worker causes the courts to force Carl to head towards a retirement home. However, Carl has other plans.
Attaching thousands of helium balloons to his house, Carl lifts off into the air, bound for South America. He unwittingly takes along a precocious eight-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell, and they both soon learn to redefine the true meaning of adventure.
The life-like animation, which is signature to the collaboration of Disney and Pixar, makes this film leap off the screen even without the 3-D glasses. It’s by far the best animation yet from this studio. The images are so crisp and fluid that you feel as if you are walking with Carl and Russell in the wild outdoors.
It takes no stretch of the imagination to cast Ed Asner as the voice of the crotchety old Carl. I was more impressed by his young travel companion, voiced by newcomer Jordan Nagai. His character, Russell, is possibly one of the most lovable and endearing human child characters in recent Disney history. His determination to stay by Carl's side and help others along the way reveals tremendous heart and may inspire children to be persistent about pursuing their own dreams.
On that note, this film is about as family-friendly as it gets. The rating is PG; however, that is only because the action scenes are so high-energy that young children (and maybe adults too) will truly feel like their heroes are in danger. It speaks more to Disney’s and Pixar’s ability to create genuine intensity.
The film touches on some heavy topics such as the death of Carl’s wife and their struggles with infertility. It also hints at an absentee father in Russell’s life. These are issues that kids may ask questions about later, so parents should be prepared.
In true Disney fashion, Up is loaded with laughs and gags that will keep the kids rolling. The secondary characters, especially Doug the persistently devoted dog, supply much of the film's humor. And parents, don’t worry. There is plenty to keep you entertained as well. The dynamic between Carl and Russell will remind you of many conversations you’ve had with your young ones (including the famous “Let's see who can be quiet the longest” game).
Up is a worthy opening act to the summer blockbuster season. It will leave you and your kids feeling good and perhaps ready to start your own adventure.
Jennifer E. Jones is the Multi-Media Producer who forgot to finish her popcorn because she was so wrapped up in this film. Got comments? Drop me a line.
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