“In a Nutshell”® rating: 8/10.
Finally caught up with Pixar’s new movie UP. Pixar has a knack for making animated movie for adults (Toy Story, etc). Up is another movie in that chain, and by the way, the first animated feature film to open at Cannes. It starts off awesome, Carl meets Ellie, they grow up, get married. Then the tragedy hits – them not being able to have children. They move on, get busy with other things, and keep their dream alive of adventure. Of course, along the way, life happens and their dream of adventure constantly needs to be postponed a little, until it is a little late (Ellie dies), but still that is when it happens. Carl gets tagged along with Russell, an 8 yr old, who no one would miss out as his emotional child. They start off as an odd couple, but the paternal bond is all too vivid.
To me, it appears that the story lost the plot when they reach the Paradise falls and gets surrounded by the speaking dogs. I don’t have any problem sharing the gift of speech with other species, but that might be better done in a separate movie. If I have to hazard a guess, it looks like the screen writer wrote the story of Up in two separate sittings, and then slapped them along. The arrival of the balloon house at the Paradise Falls is the point of the discontinuity for the movie.
So, what is the movie’s message? (That is a question Nabakov says should never be posed for any work of art. Artist need not be saying anything, and least of it, need not be saying anything specific, that multiple people can agree upon. Still, that is the way reviews go – messages, and detestable allegories, that allow us to highlight the meaning that we drew from the work of art.) The message of the first part is entirely clear (and beautifully banal). The struggles of life that we all go through are essentially the photo album of our journey. That is the Cirque De Soleil message. Though of course, the constant breaking of the money jar that Carl and Ellie are trying to save for their adventure is also reminiscent of the myth of sisyphus, but in a benign kind of way, because each challenge is different. The second part of the movie does not appear to have any clear message, except perhaps to Canis lupis familiaris.
The funny aspect is critical to any Pixar movie, and in this, Up is a winner, but not a slam dunk winner. Humor comes easily in this movie, but more importantly, rarely appears forced.
All in all, I give Up a “Should See”, 8/10 rating.