by Lynn Barker
It's never too late or too early for the adventure of a lifetime. That "adventure" can range from escaping a wild dog pack in the jungle to just spending every day with the love of your life. That is one of the many "messages" you can uncover in the new, fast-paced, imaginative Disney/Pixar animated film UP.
Story goes; When Carl Frederickson (the great Ed Asner) was a kid, he was obsessed with his hero Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), an adventurer traveling the world in his blimp called "The Spirit of Adventure". Shy on the surface, young Carl is overjoyed to meet his soul mate Ellie, a fellow adventure junkie and Muntz devotee. Ellie and Carl grow up, marry and plan to track Muntz' world-wide adventure one day to South America but life and financial woes intervene. Childless, the couple is a happily bonded, home-bound duo until Ellie's death.
After losing his beloved Ellie, Carl becomes that classic, old cranky recluse guy until young "Wilderness Scout" Russell, anxious to win his "aiding the elderly" badge, knocks on his door and won't go away. When Carl's house will be destroyed due to urban development, the feisty senior rigs it to float away, held aloft by a huge bunch of balloons and bound for the South American jungle he and Ellie always planned to explore. Whoops! Russell is an unplanned passenger and this odd couple is in for the adventure of a lifetime as they encounter a very rare, very large and colorful bird, a pack of talking dogs and the great, long-lost adventurer Muntz himself.
You might think that UP is just a tale about your grandpa and kids your little bro's age but it's so much more! This movie packs more adventure and "heart" than all the great Pixar films before it. Up also moves along at an amazing action-packed pace yet includes a few, sad, personal moments that never seem too "sappy".
UP is, both visually and story-wise, the most imaginative film in Pixar's line-up so far and delivers excellent voice-actor performances and very good dialogue that will hold your interest. Carl and Russell just keep "growing" on you throughout. There were teens in my screening audience laughing their heads off and sniffling a bit too when Carl and Ellie's life turns sad. I was totally charmed by a talking, dim bulb dog named Dug, who latches himself onto Carl, determined to make the reluctant old guy his human. I saw UP in 3D but the process is used very subtly here, just to add depth rather than send stuff flying at your face. I think you'll enjoy the film in the "normal" 2D just as much.
So many of us, especially during our teen years, think our lives are sooooo boring and long for a special adventure that will take us away. UP provides that adventure all while reminding us that relationships we build with family and BFFs might just end up as the greatest adventures of all.
This movie is rated PG
Official Movie Web Site - UP
Pictures courtesy of and copyright Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar, 2009
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