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UP
(****)

Movie Review by:
Larry "Bocepheus" Evans
Directed by:
Pete Docter & Bob Peterson
Written by:
Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen, Bob Peterson
Starring the Voices of:
Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer
Running time:
89 minutes
Released:
05/29/09
Rated PG for some peril and action
"The humor is broad enough so that you donít have to explain the jokes to your kids and can laugh at them as well."
The fine folks at Pixar have done it again with the entertaining and sometimes poignant tale in Up. The main character of the animated film is balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who is voiced by Lou Grant himself Ed Asner. Carl is a widower trying to get over the death of his wife Ellie (voiced by Doctorís wife). We meet the two as kids who are fans of famous explorer Charles Muntz, who is voiced by Christopher Plummer. Ellie is excitable and animated while Carl is quiet and reserved so the duo are perfectly matched. The relationship between the two is shown in a marvelous silent segment that leaves us with Carl alone in his house surrounded by massive development. His quiet existence is almost gone and suddenly there is a knock on his door by Russell (Nagai), a scout trying to gain his last merit badge by helping the elderly. Russell is persistent and extremely eager so Carl gives him a task. Soon after something horrible happens and Carlís life as he knows it is about to change and in a bravura sequence it does. He has attached hundreds of helium balloons to his house and at the right moment he sets the house free to search for adventure only to discover-Russell on his porch begging to be let in.

Once the two are safe in the house we learn that Carl wants to do something that he and Ellie had always planned-finish the expedition of Muntz, who has left in shame to find something he claims exists but cannot really prove. The two eventually find what they are looking for and in doing so also find a strange, large and colorful bird that Russell names Kevin. Kevin is goofy enough looking to entertain kids and his interaction between the humans who are suddenly in his midst is charming as well as entertaining. The fun gets even sillier when the trio encounter Dug (voiced by co-director Peterson), a dog who can also talk since his master has given him a collar that allows him to communicate. Dug and the rest of his canine friends (one voiced by Delroy Lindo) have been sent out to find Kevin by his master, the now elderly Muntz.

Eventually the group encounters Muntz and from there the film turns a bit more serious since from the looks of him Muntz isnít exactly a nice guy. Plummerís voice goes from silky smooth to dripping venom during the course of dinner and Asner does a fine job with his voice showing us that he understands that his idol isnít the person he expected. From this point on the film follows the standard adventure format that results in a happy ending all around.

Up is basically a kidís film but has enough in it to appeal to adults as well. The humor is broad enough so that you donít have to explain the jokes to your kids and can laugh at them as well. During the course of the film we see a man confront his own mortality while another seeks to redeem himself from being called a fraud. The ending of the film is perfect save for one note involving Russell that is set up but never happens. The credits sequence is very well done and at the end of the film you look forward to seeing what the folks at Pixar are going to dazzle us with next.

UP © Pixar/Walt Disney
All Rights Reserved

Review © 2009 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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FINDING NEMO

"Pixar has done it again, and, in the process, managed to salvage Disney's reputation - at least for a little longer."  (JR)

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