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Up: Another Major Pixar Success

From the press notes handed out at my screening of Up, I learned that Walt Disney believed that for every laugh there should be a tear, a sort of Newton's third law of entertainment. If he were around to see this movie, which upholds that "law" to a T, I have a feeling Mr. Disney's head would swell with pride — and perhaps take him up into the air like one of the many colorful balloons in the movie. See? Up is so fanciful and fun that it has set my own imagination in motion, which will, presumably, remain in motion . . . OK, OK, enough with Newton's laws — back to my thoughts on Pixar's latest accomplishment.

"Accomplishment" is the word to use when referring to Up, as you can pretty much go down a checklist of the many things this movie gets right. Colorful and imaginative enough to keep kids' attention? Check. Genuinely interesting enough for adults? Check. Humor, sadness, action and tenderness — all rolled up together? Check. Astounding, vibrant visuals? Check. What's not to love about Up? Honestly, not much. To find out what else I did love about it,


The story follows a little old widower named Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) who is determined to keep the house in which he lived with his beloved late wife Ellie while his neighborhood is being reconstructed on all sides of him. He attaches hundreds of balloons to his house and flies away, hoping to find his way to Paradise Falls, a remote South American locale where he and Ellie always dreamed of going and finding adventure. But while he's in the sky, Carl discovers that a persistently "helpful" young boy, Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai), took off on the house along with him. Together they reach South America where they encounter some non-human friends: A dog named Dug with a collar that communicates his thoughts and a colorful, affectionate bird that Russell names Kevin. But there's a problem: Dug's owner is trying to hunt down Kevin and Russell immediately takes on the challenge of protecting the bird. So, despite Carl's desire to have a peaceful life by himself at Paradise Falls, he finds himself surrounded by — and suddenly responsible for — a trio of clumsy but well-meaning friends.

To us adults, at times the movie seems downright trippy — but that's the thing about imagination, isn't it? Strange, funny things like an elderly man dragging his house through the air above him strike us as the stuff of drug-induced dreams, but it's actually a scenario that a child might just paint in her head any day of the week. Movies like Up, when done as well as Up is done, take us right back to that childlike place of wandering thoughts and carefree creativity and it is so much fun to be there again.

And at the same time, there's an adult-like realism in this animated movie as well. There's death and great sadness and even a little blood. It's rated PG — not G — and some moments were clearly too scary for some of the more wee viewers at my screening. There are slow-moving, tender moments, too, that probably resonate more with those in the audience who have a bit more life experience. All told, I have tremendous respect for what the makers of this movie have done in creating something so whimsical, so exciting to watch, and so cute but something that also beats with a real heart, with all its vulnerability and love. As Mr. Disney prescribed, Up pulls you through practically every emotion available — but happily, it leaves you in sweet (if a little tearful) contentment.

Images courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Join The Conversation
Ineedclarity Ineedclarity 8 years
Saw it last night in 3D with my brother. It was so good. Had me crying the whole entire time. I want to go see it again.
bingbingboom bingbingboom 8 years
We just saw it in 3D this morning. What can I say? Pixar out-performed themselves again. The beginning few minutes about Carl's life made me tear up. The movie was so well done that I still can't stop thinking about it.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
So excited for Up probably going to see it today after work , and what's that Toy Story 3?! Wooo hooo usually any movie title with the number 3 makse me want to puke but Pixar's mix of incredible animation and heart warming tender story telling just makes me so happy I can't wait.
rainbow-cadillac rainbow-cadillac 8 years
This movie was really fantastic. I went with two friends and we all loved it. It had us crying, screaming and laughing. I recommend you all to see it.
Sarahab145 Sarahab145 8 years
so amazing i laughed hysterically i teared up and now i must have an adorable multicolored humongous bird i would recommend i to everyone
teagirl teagirl 8 years
I loved you review Buzz. I saw this movie today and LOVED it to pieces. I don't know how Pixar gets it everytime!! I also enjoyed the short that came right before the movie. It's a wonderful movie that reminded me of what is so very important in life :)
Allyace Allyace 8 years
The commercials make me laugh every time they come on. Esp the dog (squirrel!). So cute.
bingbingboom bingbingboom 8 years
This movie looks so awesome. The dog and the old man are adorable!
FrogsOblivious FrogsOblivious 8 years
This was such a great movie! funny, but so sad too.. I took my grandpa, and the story of the old man and his wife fit his and my grandma's story to a tee D: they always wanted to travel together.. he had some sniffles but he laughed all the way through it, and he loved the animation. :)
sabs sabs 8 years
i was lucky enough to catch it when Buzz did and let me tell you, it is fantastical. it seems to bridge the whimsical kid movie and adult movie well, and made me think of some of the miyazaki films. i thought they were crazy to have an old man protagonist (as much as i loved it, i still don't see them selling a lot of plush carl dolls), but it works so well. of course there are a few odd moments in it, but ultimately it was an amazing treat. new fave pixar film! i totally teared up. and you know, my heart is made of stone. so bring the tissues.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I can't wait to see this movie! I don't think there has been a Pixar movie that I haven't loved.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
Im going with a group on wed. to see this movie! I cant wait! Just saw the trailer for the new toy story and it looks cute even though it shows nothing...I just love those movies!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I cannot explain how ridiculously excited I am to see this movie! I love Ed Asner.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Loved the review, Buzz. I'm really looking forward to seeing "Up."
blondie829 blondie829 8 years
I can't wait to see this, but I'm nervous about how much I will probably cry...waterproof mascara necessary I think!
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
toy story 3? omg cant wait!! and this movie looks really cute. i think ill take my little brother to see it one day.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
I am so excited to see this, all you pixar/disney fans mark you calender for June 18, 2010 for Toy Story 3. I love pixar my all time favorite is Monsters Inc.
Zaianne Zaianne 8 years
My significant other and I caught the midnight showing of this movie and we both absolutely loved it. We're both big Pixar fans, and love almost everything they come up with. Anyways this movie had me crying and laughing and excited. It's just so beautiful a movie, with lovable characters all around.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 8 years
I'm so excited to see this! I think anything Disney/Pixar does is amazing.
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