Sunday, June 07, 2009

Film Review - Up

This summer season hasn't been all that friendly in terms of film. It started off horribly. The first movie I saw of the summer season was X-Men Origins: Wolverine and if you read my blog, you know what I thought of it. It was a cliche-ridden piece of filth with equally, if not worse dialogue and plot holes to numerous to mention. Then there was Star Trek. I have yet to write a review of that film, but I will say that I enjoyed it. It was worth seeing, but that was about it. So, up that point my confidence in Summer movies was pretty low, especially after hearing how bad Terminator faired. Meanwhile, the reviews from the Cannes Film Festival came in. And the reviews for this film were overwhelmingly positive. So I said to myself, I HAVE to see this movie. I'm a huge fan of animation, especially animation that exceeds over the rest like Hayao Miyazaki has done with some films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke and Pixar has done that throughout the course of their history. So I was expecting great things. Thankfully, it not only met my expectations, but exceeded them greatly.

Up, to put it simply, is an amazing film. Ed Asner stars as Carl Frederickson, an old man living alone with a dream of one day going to see Paradise Falls. So one day he gets a huge amount of balloons, attaches them to his house and away he goes. Little does he know, that Russell, a wilderness explorer that he met earlier, is outside on the front porch. The two of them take a journey and come across many peculiar things including an exotic bird, dogs with voice collars, and encounters that bring back memories of a time gone but not forgotten.

The film is rich in character and story and are the driving force of this film. What makes it even better is that the rich colors and effects used in the film support it. I've seen so many films that drown out the story by using huge amounts of money on special effects. Up shows the world that a movie is to be more about the next big event or action sequence or one big star, but about the story and the people you meet along the way and what you can learn by spending a short amount of time with them. After I left this film, I felt that I had a little glimpse into the mind of the main character Carl. I had invested so much of my emotion into his character that it felt that some of his experiences I had shared with him. That's the sign of a great film. One that will definitely be remembered by me at the end of the year.

David's rating: SEE IT
David's unofficial rating: ****(4 stars)

David's rating key:

SEE IT - Go see it, it's worth watching
SKIP IT - It isn't worth your time or money.

David's unofficial rating key:

4 stars - I'd pay the full price to see the movie twice and recommend it to everyone (Example: Up)
3.5 stars - Better than good, but I found something a little wrong with it. (Example:
3 stars - good, but not great. I'd see it once in theaters (Example: Star Trek)
2.5 stars - middling. I thought this movie was going somewhere, but in the end was disappointing. (Example: Titanic)
2 stars - A genuinely bad movie (Example: X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
1.5 stars - A genuinely bad movie that didn't have much to talk about, but wasn't the bottom of the barrell (Example: Jumper)
1 star - a piece of trash film that is inside the barrel, but not at the bottom. (Example: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days)
.5 stars - A really, really bad movie that I could barely sit through. (Example: Batman and Robin)
0 stars - I hated, hated, hated this movie and was genuinely offended by it (Example: The trailer for The Love Guru because of course I'm not going to see that movie... ever )


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I spent ten bucks to see this film on a Saturday night with friends. It was funny, and cute, had great character insight, and was, as is Pixar's way, brilliantly animated (or computer generated - whatever). I laughed, "awww"ed, and had burning sinuses at all the appropriate parts. That said, let me also say, I wish I spent five bucks on a weeknight, or - even better - waited til it came out on dvd and rented it for a buck from a redbox. This movie wasn't worth the ten bucks I spent on a single viewing and I seriously don't understand the hullabuloo surrounding it. Good, yes, but not amazing.

  3. Anonymous4:08 PM

    You need more details, dude. This is a bare-bones review. When you say something's rich in character, for instance, it's a good idea to provide some example from the film. Read some good film critics to see how to write.

    I'm only harping on you because you've got talent and taste. If you really push your writing abilities, you could go far.

  4. Anonymous3:18 PM

    I thought the Wolverine movie was half decent. I'm not the biggest comic book buff but know the wolverine stories from cartoons and thought the makers did a decent enough job of bringing it to live action. Curious to hear what caused such vitriol to come out of you. Were you expecting something THAT much better?

  5. Jenn, it sounds to me like your problem was mainly with the price of admission and not the movie itself. I agree with you that the price for a movie these days is ridiculous. But at the same time, you offer a weak argument for why you didn't think this movie was great. Having seen it twice, I can point out to you continuity, lighting techniques, moving background images, etc. Apparently, you and I have a difference of opinion on this and that's okay, but if you're gonna dispute me on what I think of a film, at least offer a reason why it was "Good... but not amazing."