I went to see the new Pixar movie “Up” yesterday (have your pick of trailers and scenes here), and I would have to give it 5 stars out of 5. Pixar almost always does a fantastic job (“Cars” excepted — although I did like the cow tipping scene), and “Up” is no different. It packs the emotional wallop that “Finding Nemo” does, only this time our father-son duo are a bit more mismatched. Russell, an avid Wilderness Explorer, and Carl Frederickson, a square, squat old man, take off in Carl’s adorably painted home for South America, lifted by hundreds of helium balloons. I can’t speak for the aerospace engineering abilities of Carl, but it seems pretty sound to me. 🙂
Carl is a widower, and his relationship with his wife, Ellie, is beautifully portrayed, as they grow from gap-toothed children to a childless elderly couple. He still talks to Ellie, and he carefully preserves the remnants of her that are left in their house. I especially loved their sitting chairs. His is a squat, square, maroon chair, while hers is a high-backed, curvy, floral chair — such a beautiful way to capture their bodies and spirits and their companionability. It’s very much a portrait of two people in love for their whole lives, and while surely life isn’t as simple as that, it is incredibly moving.
While the movie is poignant, it also has the usual suspense and laughs. **Spoiler Alert** Russell, for instance, names a colorful, gigantic bird “Kevin,” apropos of nothing except that he just likes the name. The trained dogs of the legendary explorer Charles Muntz speak through their collars, and it seems like a very accurate portrayal of what dogs would say if they could: “I would ever so much like to fetch the ball!”
In short, I loved “Up” and I’m sure I will watch it over and over again, like I have with Pixar movies like “Nemo” and “The Incredibles.” Hooray for grumpy old men and wilderness explorers! Caw Caw! Roar!