#114: Up (2009)

When and how did I watch this?

August 8th, 2016, on Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I’d seen its entirety probably once, and several moments in it a handful of times. Of course, the crux of the film for me has always been the opening ten minutes, telling an unforgettable story in such a short period of time.

What do I know about it now?

I have mixed feelings about Up. Edward Asner as Carl is the clear winner of the film — he is human, full of sorrow and pride and, in the end, almost impossible resolve. The peril feels real, and the big turn in Carl’s life is one of the most compelling in all of cinema, where he learns the difference between holding on and letting go. Many of the scenes are visually breathtaking.  It’s quite easy to forget we’re actually watching an animated feature.  On the other hand, Russell is terribly annoying and it becomes difficult to comprehend why an elderly and life-embittered Carl would care. Of course, that’s the point of Russell’s presence, but it feels like he is merely a shoehorned device to create conflict.  Some of the narrative stretches are boring.  It all comes together in the end, however, and we’re left summing it up as one of the greatest Pixar films of them all.

What are some themes in the film?

Life/death, pride, materialism, loyalty, posterity/humility

Did this affect me personally?

People that don’t cry within the first ten minutes are heartless.

Why is this ranked #114?

Pixar/Disney films are always in line to be among the best, and this one is no exception.  I believe there are still four other Pixar films ranked higher (one has since slipped beneath). It certainly belongs below Toy Story/Toy Story 3/Wall-E, but in my opinion, not as high on the list as it is.  There are far better films adjacent to it, despite its rightful acclaim and splendor.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She has a better outlook on this film than I do.

Would I watch it again?

Definitely.  It’s a great family film and addresses real issues. It’s also a visual feast.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Almost everyone in the country has seen this film.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Yes.  Again, perhaps my criticism is harsh, but I believe it doesn’t belong this high on the rankings.  This certainly doesn’t diminish its greatness. All of the factors you would find in excellent cinema are in there.

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