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Academy Award Nominated Movie Review 6: Up


Carl Frederickson looks to be your sterotypical grumpy old man: he walks on a cane, yells at people to get off his lawn, and seemingly talks to his house. In reality, Carl is just a retired balloon salesman going through a rough time. His wife Ellie, who Carl has known since they were children, died before they could fulfill their dreams of traveling to Paradise Falls in South America, and Carl's old neighborhood is being torn down to make room for a mall and other buildings in a big city. When Carl accidently injures a construction worker, he is forced by a judge to be sent to a retirement home. With no other choice, Carl decides to fulfill his and Ellie's dream of going to Paradise Falls. The next morning, Carl escapes his escort to the retirement home by releasing numerous balloons, pulling his house off the ground and into the air, making it an airship. Carl soon realizes that a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell has stowed away on board, hoping to earn his last merit badge of assisting the elderly, by helping Carl. While trying to take Russell back to the city, Carl's house is caught in a storm and Carl wakes up to find that Russell has captained the ship to South America, and Paradise Falls is in sight! On their way, Carl and Russell slowly bond and have several adventures involving a rare colorful bird that runs like the Road Runner and who Russell names Kevin, a helpful, but clumsy, talking dog named Dug, and Carl and Ellie's childhood hero, the explorer Charles Munz. I'm embaressed to say that with Up, I had to watch it twice in order to fully absorb it as the first time wasn't under very good conditions however. After the second time however, I absolutely loved it! Up is a wonderful expierience that stirs the imagination and engages the spirit. The film is wonderfully and beautifully animated with many different colors, locations, and characters. The film is expertly directed by Pete Docter and smartly co-written by Docter and his friend Bob Peterson. Its a delight. Everything meshes well together and is expertly built and the audience can see that all the hard work paid off: the animation, the strong and original story, and the likeable characters. In terms of strong story, character, and animation, Pixar is the best Hollywood studio doing that today and I hope they remain that way long into the future. The casting is also creatively smart as Hollywood legened voices Carl, talky newcomer Jordan Nagai as Russell, the crafty and expierienced Christopher Plummer as Charles Munz, and the goofy Bob Peterson as Dug. While not my absolute favorite Pixar film, Up is right up there and I can't wait to watch it again! Overall 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

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