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Young Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai) hangs on for dear life as Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) looks on in astonishment, in
Pete Docter's Disney/Pixar animated film "Up", which opened last Friday across the U.S. and Canada.  (Photo: Disney/Pixar)
Soaring To The Sky In Life's Golden Years
By Omar P.L. Moore/        SHARE
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Up" is as enjoyable an experience as any film live-action or animated will bring to moviegoers all year, and Pixar is to be lauded once again for its continuing commitment to combining family and adult-friendly entertainment.  With Pete Docter's new film the Emeryville, California-based company offers entertainment over a span of generations with appeal to all in between, with the story of an aging widower Carl (voiced by Ed Asner), who actualizes adventures he had always dreamed of, thanks in part to a ten-year old boy named Russell (voiced by Jordan Nagai) who actually respects his elders -- and that makes a change for Hollywood films.  Who needs the 60-something Harrison Ford swashbuckling through the forests and the wilderness as Indiana Jones when you can have 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen?  Strangely enough, the animated old man C appears more humorous and believable than the real-life Mr. Ford, and though the actor did just fine a year and a week ago in Mr. Spielberg's smash hit "Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull", you have to hand it to Mr. Asner, Mr. Docter and the entire Pixar team for making Carl such a heartfelt and real figure.  We feel Carl's pains and triumphs early on in a tender, moving montage -- a clear, concise line of events encompassing the ups and downs of life.

Carl's modest house is all he knows, and like Walt Kowalsky of "Gran Torino", the neighborhood around him is changing rapidly.  Carl intends to stay in that ole house of his and die there.  But before too long, a clever move and the love of adventure takes Carl to new heights, floating on (and beyond) cloud nine. 

Filled with humor and affection, "Up" glories in the simple things in life that make us laugh and feel alive, things that we all too often take for granted -- but as Carl seems to tell us, it's the journey that counts not the destination, even though aspects of that too brings plenty of laughs, twists, turns and suspense.

"Up", written by Bob Peterson and Mr. Docter and co-directed by Mr. Peterson -- who also voices the film's loyal, lovable dog Dug -- is absorbing and engaging without the 3D experience, which neither overly enhances nor detracts from the film's events.  "Monsters Vs. Aliens" was a Pixar delight in the spring, and its 3D showcase was an asset.  That film however, also stood alone without its visual enhancements -- after all, the bright and colorful animation was its strong point -- and the same is true here.  "Up", which opened last Friday across North America, similarly soars on its own ambitions, joys and discoveries.  It's one of the sweetest treats to hit the streets so far in 2009.

With the additional voices of: Christopher Plummer, Delroy Lindo and John Ratzenberger.

"Up" is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association Of America for some peril and action.  The film's duration is one hour and 36 minutes.  In Disney Digital 3D.  Disney, it should be said, collaborated with Pixar for another remarkable film.

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2009.  All Rights Reserved.     


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