Summer Movie A-Go-Go: “Up”

Posted: July 3, 2009 in Jeff Holland, reviews, Threat Quality
Tags: , ,

Up 1A couple weeks back, Chris suggested you go see Pixar’s Up.

Now, that probably should’ve been enough. It is a Pixar movie, and as should be pretty obvious by now, Pixar movies are both a) good family movies (not “kids” movies – by and large, Pixar’s films deal with themes that are at least as relevant to adults as children), and b) good movies to see on a big screen, because they’re just fricking beautiful to look at.

But if you still aren’t somehow sold, here are a few more reasons to go see Up:

1) It tells a beautiful, heartbreaking, decades-spanning love story in the course of three minutes. The opening montage expertly defines Carl, the old man, by showing you his entire relationship with his wife Ellie, from childhood meeting to her death, in the time it takes to run the opening credits. This is expert storytelling – showing the audience who he is, what his  hopes and dreams are, why he’s such a cranky bastard, and why we should still love him Up 2crankiness and all – with nary a word of dialogue (at least from Carl’s end – childhood Ellie’s quite a chatty one).

2) The most accurate depiction of dogs ever put on screen is in this movie – and they talk. Straight-forward, enthusiastic, put-upon, loyal, and extremely dumb even when they’re being extremely smart – this is a dog. Up just lends man’s best friends voices to clarify these feelings. On the one hand is Dug, the outcast of a pack of trained hunters, who really, really wants you to love him. At the other end of the spectrum is Alpha, who would be an utterly terrifying doberman except his voice-translator is set too high, Up 3making him sound like the world’s most evil chipmunk.

3) It has balloons in it. Don’t try to tell me you don’t like balloons. Everybody likes balloons. If I were to say to you, “I don’t like balloons,” your response – indeed, the response of anyone who heard that sentence – would be, “What kind of asshole doesn’t like balloons?” But this is a conversation that is heard rarely. Because everybody likes balloons.

There. Three perfectly good reasons to go see Up. To show you I’m serious, I would even say this movie gets:

Crystal Skull Crystal Skull Crystal Skull Crystal Skull

4 crystal skulls! A veritable Kingdom of Crystal Skulls! But without Shia Labouf, so it is better than that might sound!

Next movie? Gosh, I think I’m out until Harry Potter 6 shows up. Kinda front-packed this summer. And from where I stand, G.I. Joe can get fucked.

(Threat Quality Press – the only place to find posts that begin by extolling the virtues of a family movie, and end by saying “G.I. Joe can get fucked.”)

  1. V.I.P. Referee says:

    You know, it’s interesting that you’d mention the emotional (?) side of “Up”; the Pixar crew really seems to pay attention to more than visuals and stands out against their competition because of it. I think their films often surprise people–exceed expectation. You don’t expect to feel a sense of humanity in a film about toys or talking dogs. Kids (I’ll assume they’re a big chunk of Pixar’s target group) benefit from seeing characters’ motives and how stories come to be, rather than just enjoying cute comedy and bright visuals. There’s a wholeness/completeness to Pixar’s work.

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    When my girlfriend and I returned from the movie and dropped off my niece (6 years old, loved it), my older brother asked, “So it was a good kids movie, then?” I thought my girlfriend was going to leap across the dinner table and strangle him.

    Something like “Monsters vs. Aliens” is a kids movie. It is funny, and adults can laugh at the jokes too (I thought “Kung Fu Panda” was hilarious – and actually a pretty good action movie!), but at the end of the day the movie is intended to make children laugh.

    Something like “Wall-E” or “Up” (or my personal favorite, “Ratatouille” – thank you spellcheck) can be very funny and will bring children joy, but the goals of these movies seem more interested in telling a GOOD story, rather than telling a FUNNY story.

    And I think that’s the difference between a kids’ movie and a family film.

  3. Megan says:

    I’m going to share a little tid bit about balloons here. The balloons I use and the ones represented in up are latex balloons. The natural rubber latex that is use comes from the sap of the rubber tree , Heveabrasiliensis, that grows in Malaysia. That means they break down quickly in the sun and over time in landfills. They mylar balloons not so much.
    And please don’t give children under 3 balloons.

  4. southwer says:

    “I was hiding under your porch because I love you”

    “I like you temporarily!”


  5. Jeff Holland says:

    “I do not like the Cone of Shame.”

    One of those moments where you want to hug the crap out of a cartoon dog.

  6. southwer says:

    I want to hug the crap out of that entire MOVIE.

    I am also going to name any future pets Kevin, Russell, Dug, and/or Carl Fredricksen.

  7. […] There is probably going to be that staple of all Pixar movies where I damn near lose my shit (see: opening credits of Up), but somehow I will soldier on. LIKELIHOOD: […]

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