Up (Lonely Devil Review)
I’m putting what I really thought of the film at the front, so that I don’t get a slew of hate mail right away.
I thought that Up was the most visually striking, emotionally charged, and engaging entry in the Pixar library to date. It had the right combination of giggle and tear extracting moments and it had the most beautiful landscapes and color combinations of any animated film I have ever seen. I give it 4 out of 5 pitchforks.
That said, lets get down and dirty, Devil’s Advocate style. Above I stated that Up was easily the most engaging of the Pixar films to date. Well, there is a stipulation there. It’s engaging if you’re an adult. 60% of what takes place in the film is really directed at an older audience. The issues of aging and bereavement play heavily into the plot and drive the conflict, which will be lost on the average six or seven year old. There are moments that are slapsticky and universally humorous, but they are few and far between.
One device that was added as a way to grasp the younger viewers attention was dogs with automated voice collars. Up has a real world backdrop (if you can suspend belief just a bit) and the writers still managed to work in talking animals, as if that is the only thing a child can be amused by. After years of being inundated by one talking animal after another, you would think a kid’s film with Up‘s premise would manage to avoid that cliché.
Speaking of premise, regardless of the fact that the film is a record of a septuagenarian’s travels, the film didn’t need to move as slowly as it did. The montage scenes, while touching and tearful, tended to drag on a bit. The pensive and thoughtful moments lasted a hair longer than necessary. Definitely a flaw if your intention is to hold the attention of pre-pubescents.
Thinking back on the Pixar catalog of films there are many memorable characters, many of which have spawned some profitable merchandise. It seems that Up lacks that component. While I can care less about
merchandising, beyond that of a DVD, it seems that the characters aren’t ones that will stick in the publics mind. And I’m guessing the kids won’t be clammoring for the Carl doll, with the extra high plaid pants, and Vicks vaporub scratch and sniff hand, this Christmas. More to the affect, these characters are likely to fade from the public’s mind soon after the movie fades from theaters.
Lastly, and this is peripheral to the movie itself, but the 3D visuals weren’t exactly popping off the screen. There was depth and dimension to the film, but nothing really jumped out at the audience. With a barrage of three dimensional cartoons on the way it will be easy to see what direction 3D is taking, but I’m of the opinion that kids (and adults) should be reaching out to grab the objects in front of them. 3D effects are a waste if you don’t, at some point, question whether something is close enought to touch or not.
As the Devil’s Advocate I give the film 2 out of 5 pitchforks. It’s a slow moving picture, with easily forgotten characters, which seems to pander to kids rather than entertain them.