Yesterday, this column reviewed "The Incredibles," an animated film made by Pixar which won the Oscar for Best Animated Film of 2004. Over the years, 7 Pixar movies have won this award, far more than any other studio. With its colorful balloons and flowers, a nice choice for spring is the 2009 film "Up."
"Up" begins with the meeting of young Carl and Ellie, both adventure lovers, albeit with bookish Carl bit more cautious than feisty Ellie. They grow up together, marry and live a long life together. Their adult life lacks both children of their own and the outrageous adventures they coveted as children. But their affection for each other triumphs throughout. Eventually, Ellie dies. Lonely Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) now lives in their charming house alone. After his frustration causes him to hit a man with his cane, Carl is given one more night in his house before he is to be moved to a retirement home. Carl, a former balloon salesman, spends the night tying balloons to his house and in the morning, they pull his house out of the ground, and he flies away. While he is in the air, he finds that Russell, an enthusiastic young scout whom he met earlier, is on his porch. They are now stuck together in the flying house.
"Up" has breath-taking animation. The animators make the idea of a balloon-triggered house seem feasible. An each of the thousands of balloons is rendered in a slightly different color. The character designs are very well-done. Carl is shaped almost like a square, and Russell is shaped almost like a circle.
There are a lot of memorable characters in the film. Russell recognizes that Carl will benefit from his attention, and Carl sees that he has much to offer to the talkative young scout. They fill voids in each other's lives and make a great team. Another fun character is Dug, a dog who ends up helping them. Thanks to a device on his collar, Dug can talk.
"Up" is one of those animated films that belongs to audiences of every age. Not only can it be appreciated by fans of animation, but anyone who enjoys a solid love story or fun adventure will surely enjoy "Up."