May 29, 2009

UP Review: The Spirit of Adventure

At any point in life, people often have the opportunity for the fantastic. "Up" is a film about embracing that moment, no matter your age. If there is one buzzword about UP, it is "Adventure." Fitting that that a film featuring such a grand adventure, would prove to be such a massive ride through the joys the cinema can provide. This is a film that is tremendously emotional, hilariously funny, and full of action thrills.

While other PIXAR films have some great laughs sprinkled throughout the story, "Up" is a full on comedy. While it's hard for me to explain many of the laughs without ruining the story, the film was so hilarious that when I was walking out I realized that the bar set for "The Hangover," "Funny People," and "Bruno" had now been set very high. Also thrown into the comedy package is some pouding action. The duel through the clouds that caps off the end of the film is a masterpiece of animation direction that is as much thrilling as it is visually stunning.

I can't say anything to explain how emotional this film is. It's like PIXAR took the entire sequence from the end of Ratatouille, combined with the the Space Dance from "WALL-E", and threw a couple doses of "You've got a friend in me." From the allusions to the crushing loss that Carl and his wife Ellie suffer as a young couple (yes they go there), to the troubled family life of the young boy Russell, and even the longings of the antagonist (who I won't reveal), this movie floors you over and over again, and then lifts the spirits, where, you guessed it, up. Much credit is due to composer Michael Giacchino for creating an original motiff that plays in these crucial scenes.

I am not ready to say that "Up" is better than "Ratatouille", but I'm getting there. It is by far the best film I have seen this summer and the best film I have seen this year. There are so many levels to it. It is as much a film about aging as it as about adventure. It's laugh out loud funny. It has thrilling action (even a great OHHH SHIITTT moment) And like all good films it reminds you of the magic of movies.

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