*It should be noted that this review reveals some spoilers for the movie. Do not read if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.*
Pixar’s latest film, Up, hits theaters today. Up tells the story of a man (Carl Fredrickson) who sets out on a mission to complete him and his wife’s life long dream of visiting the great Paradise Falls. Throughout his adventure, he comes across an abundance of animals, birds, the likes. But how does it compare to other Pixar films (especially with Wall-E, which is tough to beat)?
Pixar is, in my opinion, the best film studio out there today. Every one of their movies has been incredible with little to no exception. Their storytelling, their writing, the animation, everything, is just amazing in each of their films. Up starts out with Carl Fredrickson in a theater, watching a documentary about his favorite explorer/adventurer, Charles Muntz. Carl spends most of his childhood daydreaming about venturing places like his idol does, specifically Paradise Falls.
In the first 10 minutes of the film, there is an absolutely terrific montage about Carl going through life, with his first love blossoming, and his relationship going from start to finish (his wife dies in the end of the montage, tears shall be shed). Michael Giacchino’s (Cloverfield, Star Trek) score does a wonderful job of setting the mood in not only this scene, but the rest of the movie. Soon after his wife’s death, Carl decides that he’s going to follow their dream, and fly to Venezuela (home of Paradise Falls) by, you guessed it, balloons on his house. Shortly after liftoff, Carl is greeted by Russell, the young wilderness explorer who will join Carl on the rest of his journey.
Skip forward to them actually landing in Venezuela after a thunderstorm, and their journey begins to get to Paradise Falls, no matter the cost. They are soon joined the Dug the dog, and Kevin the bird. Both of these characters play major roles in the film later on, however you must see the film for yourself to understand. But what else is there in the movie besides two people and two animals chasing a landmark? Well, there’s a villian of course. The villian is one that, as you get closer and closer to it’s reveal, should become more and more obvious. At this point, the movie takes a dramatic turn in where it’s going, and everything gets a lot more dangerous and the stakes are raised.
Now, to the visuals. They were, to put it light, nothing short of breathtaking. Some of the animation on the waterfalls, in the jungle, and everywhere else in the movie will just leave your jaw on the floor with the sheer beauty that Pixar has produced. Does it have any flaws? I’ve read a lot of reviews saying that the movie tries to hard, and that it’s tone is all over the place. Yes and no. While the beginning of the movie is incredibly realistic, the rest of the film is filled with Pixar imagination and wonder. But is it really a problem? Not really, at least in my opinon. Now with the question posed at the beginning: how does it compare to other Pixar movies? Better than some, trumped by a couple. Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Wall-E are damn hard movies to top, but Up comes close to doing it.
Bottom line: Up delivers fun for anybody – characters that you can honestly connect with, great humor and dialogue, an actually rather surprising plot, and is really just a movie that ANYONE can enjoy. Be warned, though, the movie is surprisingly dark for a Pixar movie, but nothing too dark to the point where you won’t wanna take your kids.
Overall rating: 9/10