Often I try to pretend to be a bit of a film geek, and so I first I heard about this latest release from Disney and Pixar some months ago when it was shown at Cannes Film Festival. Ever since the Cannes screening I have read review after review about how spectacular and moving this film was, 'the best Disney film in years' yada yada yada. Reviews like this are great for generating a positive buzz, and definitely persuaded me to (eventually) spend my fairly hard earned cash to go and see it - especially since there wasn't a huge amount in the way of advertising. Anyway, while the reviews are great for getting people into the cinema, they're not always so good once you're there. I had such high expectations - that I was going to be crying with sadness one minute and with laughter the next. I wanted big, unexpected, amazing things. I'm not sure what Disney could have done to fulfil this, but they just didn't quite reach the mark.
It's not that this is a bad film, far from it, as the reviews said, it did have moments that were actually quite harrowing, and parts which really did make me laugh, but it just was not up to the hype. One review, for instance, described the beginning of 'Up' as being sadder than Bambi's mother getting shot, Mufasa dying in the 'Lion King', and Dumbo's mother being locked up...what kind of horrendous carnage can really live up to that?! Nothing that would pass a PG rating, that's for sure. So, yes, it was sad, I felt sorry for the old cartoon man, but my tear ducts stayed dry.
Downfalls aside, there is a lot about 'Up' that is rather good. I only wish I had seen it in 3D, as that would have enhanced the experience even more. For a quick summary, we meet Carl and Ellie Fredrickson, how they meet as children, fall in love, grow up and grow old together. Sadly even a love like theirs cannot last forever, and so Carl is left old, alone, and in danger of losing his house and his independence. What does he do to overcome this? Well, what anyone would do, ties hundreds of helium balloons to his house so that it lifts off and so that he can take it to South America. Yes, you read that right. From a fairly realistic beginning you do have to utilize your imagination as the story takes several sharp fantastical turns; chocoholic birds, talking dogs, death-defying stunts by two OAPs...but it's fun, it's exciting, and gives hope to Carl's once bleak outlook, which would be a comfort to anyone that has lost someone close to them.
Highlights of the movie would have to be the stowaway boyscout, Russell, who is both annoying and adorable, and the talking dogs - any dog I have seen since this movie I can totally see speaking like the ones in the film!
It's a good family film, but don't expect it to be as life-changing as some of the critics might have you believe!
Up - 4/5