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06 June 2009 @ 04:57 pm
movie comment: a definite thumbs up for UP!  
I went and saw UP with the kids today, and we all enjoyed it tremendously. As is always the strength with a Pixar movie, the characters were incredibly appealing and felt real (even the talking dogs). For complexity of character and pure character arc, I don't think UP was as strong as THE INCREDIBLES or TOY STORY or even WALL-E. But I will say that I laughed out loud multiple times at humor that did feel derived from character and did not consist of unrealistic smart-mouth-screenwriter lines. I especially compliment the writing for Russell, who felt like a nine-year-old kid in terms of dialogue.

I thought the script relied a little bit more on gimmicks and had a shade more preposterousness than other Pixar flicks, but of course when you're talking about dogs flying airplanes, and a lost land in South America, and floating a house around by having it tied (with string) to a bunch of balloons you're already well into the land of speculative. Some of the stunts were a little hard to believe, but again, it's a freaking floating house!

Another strength of Pixar's storytelling is how there are little things in the plot that come back later or explain things without having to explain them. Examples here are: "Squirrel!", the tennis balls on the cane, the names of the dogs, the squeaky collar, the helium tanks in the front yard, and the GPS (which was used then conveniently resolved). There's plenty more as well.

Overall, a highly enjoyable movie that I would recommend to all ages. It's the second week but the theatre was packed with families, which is a good sign that the movie will have some serious legs and keep Pixar in the movie-making business for some time to come. Which is a good thing for all concerned!
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jeffsoesbe: bald man thinkingjeffsoesbe on June 9th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
I think you nailed it with the comment that UP was more firmly ground in the real world, with real characters that have real lives. Thus "impossible things" feel more impossible.

Ratatouille and WALL-E, involving sentient rats and robots, get more leeway for the impossible things. Once I'm good with the talking, sentient, cooking rat, everything else seems less crazy.

It's an interesting lesson in how far down the road of "impossible things" a writer can go before the reader says "that's just silly". I think that's one of the points where the DreamWorks animated movies (Shark Tale, et al) fall down - they pile up too many impossible things until their characters are really people, in people worlds, who just happen to look like animals...
Dave Thompsonkrylyr on June 9th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
Oooo. I like the Dreamworks comparison. I'd say in general, Dreamworks also usually goes for the easy laugh, instead of for the heart. (Although I thought the first Shrek was great.)
jeffsoesbe: xkcd try sciencejeffsoesbe on June 9th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
That "Pixar v Dreamworks" difference finally hit me when I saw FINDING NEMO and SHARK TALE in close succession.

In NEMO, sure the characters talked and used their front fins as hands, but they were primarily fish. They moved like fish, lived in fish domiciles, did fish things. THere was an essential "fish-ness" to the characters.

SHARK'S TALE, they wore clothes and lived in houses, and had lights, and discos, and gangsters, etc. They were people, in fish skin. Little, if no, "fish-ness".