Why was this movie so sad? Up is about Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner). As a young boy, he idolized adventurer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), as did Ellie (Elie Docter), a young girl who lived nearby. The two form a friendship and make a bond that they'll follow Muntz to South America one day and have the adventure of a lifetime. They grow up, get married, and have a wonderful life. But as life goes on, the adventure never happens. And one day, once Carl and Ellie are old and gray, Ellie dies, leaving Carl to his house and all the memories the come with it. Unfortunately, the house is in the middle of a reconstruction zone, and one event after another finds Carl forced to move away from the only thing he has left. So what does he do? He straps hundreds of balloons to his house and lifts off to go live on a waterfall cliffside in South America like he always promised his wife. But he's not alone. Enter Russell (Jordan Nagai), a young boy in the scouts who needs one more badge to bump up to a senior scout. The badge? Assist the elderly. He just didn't expect to be accidentally dragged to South America to do it. Once there, they discover a large bird and a dog with a collar that allows him to talk. And both are somehow connected Charles Muntz. So Carl and Russell enter the adventure of a lifetime, Carl trying to get his home where he promised his wife, and Russell just trying to do what's right.

Obviously, this movie is a bit complicated. Well, at least until you really get into it. As such, the whole beginning is a massive setup for the better part of the movie later. At the beginning, I wasn't sure what I was getting into, and I kept telling myself I knew it was going to take off and become superb once the house is in the air. And boy was I right. I'm not saying the beginning is bad. It's very good, sometimes funny, sometimes depressingly sad. But it really is just a whole ton of setup for the true heart of the film.

Once they get into the air and make for South America, the movie really shines. It becomes twice as funny, twice as thrilling, and twice as beautiful. Really, the movie is gorgeous. Like WALL*E, the scenery and atmosphere is so much better than the animation of the people. Again, there's nothing wrong with the animation of the people, and it fits in with the urban world. But once they hit the jungle... as Aladdin says, it's a whole new world.

I saw the film in 3D, as well. And while I don't think this movie needs to necessarily be seen in 3D, I wouldn't pass it up. It would be like watching WALL*E in 3D. There aren't too many 'at your face' moments, but it's best because it brings the atmosphere and surroundings of the film to you. It was clear this movie wasn't filmed to be in 3D originally, as they had none of the usual 3D tricks. There were maybe 2-3 things that ever come flying out at you. But like I said, this movie would be good to see in 3D to bring the beautiful atmosphere around you.

The voice acting is good, though as a fun side-note... the whole time I was trying to figure out Carl's voice. I knew I had heard it somewhere before. And for some strange reason, I kept wanting to say JK Simmons, even though I knew it wasn't him. When I finally came home and looked up Ed Asner (Carl's voice), I realized where I recognized him from: He did the voice of J. Jonah Jameson in the old 90s Spider-Man cartoon. And, for those of you who live under a rock, JK Simmons played J. Jonah Jameson in the live action versions. So I thought that was funny how my brain was trying to make that connection.

There's really not a whole lot to say about the film. I keep wanting to compare this movie to WALL*E. Not in themes or story or anything, but in the beauty of the animation, the great music, or in how the film pulls you through so many emotions. I seriously nearly cried at least 3-4 times in this movie. But I also laughed, felt suspense... it's all there. And while I feel WALL*E is still the superior film, this one is great in its own right. By the time it had ended, I was feeling really good, and I had a big smile on my face.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Like the recently reviewed Drag Me To Hell, this is a very strong 'Whoa'. In fact, I damn near gave it a 'Royale with Cheese'. But the somewhat slow beginning, especially in comparison to the rest of the film, really notched it down just slightly. Think of this as a 4.5 out of 5).

(P.P.S. For clarification, as I've already gotten one comment snipping at me, by 'slow beginning', I didn't mean the incredibly beautiful and moving montage. I meant the sequence after the montage and prior to the house taking off. I felt it could have been paced just slightly better).


  1. The beginning wasn't slow. It was incredibly moving and mature, bringing very human topics before an audience that is often exposed to stupid, sugary pap. The 10 minute montage was heartbreaking and sincere - maybe the best part of the movie

  2. I agree with the montage. However, I meant the part between the montage and the house taking off. There's about 10 minutes or so there I felt could have been paced just slightly better.

  3. They had to fit Ratzenburger in somewhere, I suppose.

  4. Glad you had that PPS in there. I was gonna snipe at you, too...

    I wouldn't feel bad about comparing it to Wall*E. Aside from them being released just a year apart, there are a ton of similar themes, and a lot of the plot mirrors it, too. And both are great.


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