Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Up (2009)

UpThe ‘cone of shame’ got me to see Up. When Shorty L got spayed last year, she wore a cone so she wouldn’t disturb her stitches. Many strangers commented on her ‘cone of shame.’ So many, in fact, that one day, I finally asked if there was some sort of reference. “You didn’t see Up, did you?”

A Pixar animated film, Up is the story of Carl Fredricksen (voice of Ed Asner), a man with a dream he is determined to make good on. As a boy, Carl idolized a celebrated explorer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). After Muntz is disgraced, he goes on a mission to remote South America to prove his detractors wrong. He never returns.

Meanwhile, Carl grows up, gets married and still possesses the childhood goal to voyage to Paradise Falls, like his hero Muntz. Economic issues get in the way until one day, Carl is an elderly widower living in a house surrounded by a construction site.

Enter Russell (Jordan Nagai), a young boy and wilderness-explorer-in-training trying to earn a badge for helping an elderly person. Curmudgeonly Carl would rather be left alone and tricks Russell to make him get lost. After an altercation with a construction-site employee, Carl is mandated to move into a retirement facility. On the day he is to be escorted there, he surprises everyone with his bid for freedom, but he’s in store for an even bigger surprise.

Among other nominations and awards, Up received a 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. It’s success in part is due to addressing real issues of seniorizing alone, absent fathers and the nature of dogs while presenting you with stunning graphics. The dogs in Up get their own sub-plot (woof woof). The visuals are crisp and realistic. The colors pop. The writing is clever. Up is funny. You want to be in that house with Carl and Russell. If you haven’t seen it, get on board. You will appreciate the ‘cone of shame’ references.

Directors: Pete Docter & Bob Peterson

Country: US

Genre: Animated comedy

Run time: 96 minutes

Scale: 5

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