By Pam Swartz
One of the downsides of traveling is that you fall behind on current events. Having been traveling to Pantin, France for the Dimension 3 Expo, we missed the opening weekend for the movie Up. Up is the latest offering from Pixar Studios, and is their first film presented in Disney-Digital 3D.
The first ten minutes of the movie sums up the prologue to the story which is touching in a way that isn’t expected from an animated film. I have spoken to several people that have seen Up and they all teared up a bit during this sequence:
The movie begins with two children, Carl and Ellie. They both share a dream of becoming explorers in the wilds of South America, and both idolize a famous explorer named Charles Muntz. Ellie has a scrapbook of things that she has done, and has a section for things that she is going to do in her life. That section is empty.
Fast forward several years and we see Carl and Eliie get married and move into a ramshackle house that needs a lot of work. They save money in a large jug for the day that they will be able to fulfill their shared dream of moving to a place called Paradise Falls in South America. However, life, as it often does for most people, gets in the way of their dreams, and the jug is emptied over and over when they need the money for things like home repairs and medical costs.
When they finally have enough money to go on their journey together, life gets in the way again – and the movie focuses on Carl’s life alone without Ellie.
Carl lives alone, keeps to himself, and is the only hold out on his block that has not sold his home to a developer that is building a huge building next to his home. One day when he realizes he can’t hold out any longer, Carl ties hundreds of helium filled balloons to his house and flies away up into the sky. He is on his way to Paradise Falls.
What Carl didn’t count on was a stowaway named Russell, a nine year old boy who is as positive as he is innocent. He is the polar opposite to the jaded Carl.
What ensues is a fantastic and touching adventure which ultimately leads Carl to fulfill his and Ellie’s lifelong dream, but with a surprising outcome. Without giving too much away, there are a lot of laughs, talking dogs with hilarious computerized voices (“I like you temporarily!”), and a race against time.
The movie is presented in 2D and in Disney Digital 3D. I, of course, saw it in the 3D format, and while I have no complaints about how it looked, the story is what drives this film above all else. Technically, the 3D was a very comfortable viewing experience, and the color was not darkened very much with the glasses, as I have experienced in other 3D movies with alternate glasses and formats.
For this film at least, RealD proved to be the perfect solution. The only limitation of Up is there were no “WOW” moments that 3D could have added excitement to. As a story focused movie, I think Up would be just as good if one were to see it only in 2D. Mind you, maybe the fact that I didn’t take great notice in the 3D is a testament to the movie’s cinematic success? 3D or not, this is a fun movie to watch.
Up is directed by Pete Docter, who also directed 2001’s Monsters Inc., and features the voices of Edward Asner as Carl Frederickson, Christopher Plummer as Charles Muntz, and Jordan Nagai as the adorable little wilderness explorer, Russell.
Thumbs “up” for this 3D classic that will charm you in ways you didn’t expect.
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