…Because I hated it!
After so many quality pictures, it seemed Pixar could do no wrong. They told fun and exciting stories that appealed to both kids and adults. They had values and ideals, but they were rarely preachy, though WALL-E was a bit heavy handed at times. But still, Pixar makes good films, and the critical response to Up was no different, it even won the Oscar.
Trouble is, this movie is terrible. It has none of the appeal of Pixar’s previous efforts. It doesn’t relate to kids or adults. Rather, it’s a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be. And it makes us suffer along with it, as it tries to decide between intense themes of our own mortality and self imposed isolation and having enough fart jokes to keep the kiddies hooked. Either way, it’s one big boring failure.
We start out by meeting old man Carl. He’s a depressed widower (yay kids!) whose life is basically one long “sigh.” We know this because the movie begins with a lifelong montage of Carl’s hopelessly pathetic existence. He marries the first woman to talk to him, promises her a life of adventure and proceeds to continuously disappoint. He works as a balloon man at the zoo? Theme park? Who knows. Point is, it’s obvious that he and the little lady don’t do shit for fifty years, and it’s only too late, after she’s kicked it, that Carl decides to become inspired to live her dream of going to South America.
Well, he’s inspired by that aaand the fact that an assault he commits leads to a forced stay in a retirement home, the bane of the elderly. So instead, he flees the country, and we all know how. Carl’s brilliant plan is to fill thousands of balloons with helium and simply float away. Don’t worry, he’s a professional, which still doesn’t explain how he fills and ties thousands of balloons overnight. But, really that’s the least of the improbabilities.
Once the house floats off towards adventure, Carl realizes he’s got a stowaway in little obnoxious obesity poster-child Russell, the lost junior camper who we already know is destined to win over the grumpy old fuck. After a quick thunderstorm, they arrive at their destination, again overnight. Without really any maps, they hit the exact spot they were blindly aiming for. Total time from plan to land is about 48 hours.
And it’s now that the movie totally loses any kind of sentimentality or meaningful impact. It turns into a five-year-old’s idea of jungle fun time. First off, Carl doesn’t even try to return this kid he’s effectively abducted, but that’s OK since Carl’s one of those harmless strangers. Another good lesson for the kids. There’s a giant bird who Carl insists he hates, yet saves anyways. There’s a talking dog. Yeah, that’s right. A dog, outfitted with a device to allow it to talk. You know what movie also tried that? Fucking Congo. Predictably, the dog is an idiot.
At one point, Carl meets his own childhood hero, the exiled adventurer Charles Muntz. Now, Muntz has got to be over a hundred years old since he was an adult when 78-year-old poopy pants here was a wee little shit. Muntz has been looking for the giant bird his entire life. But his life long dream is eeevil, since it would separate the bird from it’s chicks. Too bad helping his idol get the proof of a previously unknown species and redeem his good name in the scientific community wasn’t on Carl’s list of adventures.
Muntz wants to bring back the animal and it all seems legit, but it turns out he’s totally crazy(!) and Carl has to eventually kill him, yes kill him, to rescue the bird he doesn’t even really like in the first place. Remember when this movie was about a man trying find peace and resolution after failing his dead wife? Notice how it turned into an old man fight not seen since Gandalf and Saruman smacked each other around with sticks.
You lost me movie. The jokes fall flat at every turn. The plot is as obvious as it is useless. There is no charm to the old man and the fat kid. There is even less motivation for me to cheer for them. I don’t actually give two shits about any of these characters. Hell, I got more choked up when Pee- Wee’s bike got stolen. Or when The Red Balloon gets away from the french kid.
And speaking of balloons, are we really expected to entertain not only that balloons could support a house’s frame and tear it from it’s foundation, but that you could walk along the ground and drag your the house like a 50 ton kite over your head? You gotta be fucking kidding me.
I’m all for suspending disbelief, I watched LOST after all, but this movie is just riddled with lazy writing, terrible story telling, and lame “messages” that get hawked around quicker than an NBC “more you know” spot.
In a year that boasted some really good animated features, from Coroline to 9, it’s hard for me stand by and let everyone continue to think that Up is anything more than a trite, bland waste of time and talent. It’s shiny and smooth, but the air is just too damn thin.
Sorry if you hated this review, but hey, I warned you in the title.