Went to see Pixar’s newest, Up, this morning. As expected, it’s an instant classic, full of amazing images and touching moments.
However, I was surprised at just what they put into the story. I don’t cry easily at movies, but within the first 15 minutes, I was bawling. I wound up crying at least three more times, too, for different reasons.
The movie starts with a wordless section showing the life together of Carl (played by Ed Asner) and Ellie, from their meeting as kids to her eventual death. I knew going in that the film was about a grumpy old man who sets his home afloat with a huge bunch of balloons, but I didn’t expect the emotional punch of seeing who he was and who he became and why.
It’s all necessary to the story, and many threads are picked up again later. But I suspect there may be some upset parents this summer when they come out of the latest Disney cartoon, advertised as an adventure with plenty of color, and have to explain some unpleasant concepts to their kids. Is this the first Pixar movie with death played so prominently? It’s not just that departure, but the kid, Russell (Jordan Nagai), has an absent father whose lack has driven him into seeking more scouting achievements. I wonder if this might make repeat business troublesome.
Oh, once the balloons take off, there’s plenty of action and comedy and wow! moments. Especially once the talking dogs show up. (I love Dug! “Squirrel!”) There’s a lot more here for adults, though, in the themes and messages. It’s the best Pixar yet, even better than Wall*E.
Maybe it hit me so hard because I fear becoming Carl, alone and crotchety. Still, it’s a wonderful movie about following dreams at the same time it cautions against letting them become obsessions. I should remember the happy times, as Ellie and Carl had. And the talking dog!
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