By Keith Gibson
“Up” is the latest, and perhaps funniest, masterpiece from Pixar. “Up” – the story of an ill-tempered old man and a boy-scout stowaway who travel to a far-away land in South America – is the studio’s 10th film, and fittingly so.
The first five minutes of the film is nothing short of perfect; it is an emotional rollercoaster that provides the origin of Carl Fredricksen, the grumpy, elderly protagonist, and his motivation for the film. Pixar shows much maturity in handling several intense, complex moments during these first few minutes.
The film wears many different hats in the genre department equally well. Indie-adventure. Grand, sweeping epic. Heartfelt comedy. It handles all with aplomb and honesty.
The villain’s entrance is no sooner than an hour into the picture, but it does not feel late in the least. In many animated films, the villain is the weakest piece of the film, but that is not the case here; the villain is set up properly and its turning point is handled splendidly.
In my opinion, the weakest part of the film (if there is such a thing in its case) was the ridiculousness of the talking canines toward the end of the film. Their use of human technologies left me scratching my head, as it defied the setup that their only extraordinary ability was that of human speech.
There are many different levels to the film and its themes, such as the correlation between Carl and the “Snipe” Doug. Both attempt to isolate themselves from civilization, but are unable to do so as society seeks to detain them.
At its core, “Up” is a love story. Not merely between Carl and his wife, Elie, either. It is love for adventure, love for innocence and the protection of both. It is arguably the best film made in the studio’s short history, gracefully taking its place alongside other heavyweights such as “Wall-E,” “Toy Story,” and “Finding Nemo.”
“Up” is now playing in theaters.