Sunday, November 15, 2009

Disney/Pixar's UP is a Soaring Hit

Before this summer, Cordy had never stepped foot in a movie theater. I worried that at four years old she wasn't ready to sit through a full-length movie, and I also knew that most movies out there tackled subjects I wasn't ready for her to see, or used humor I didn't want her to start repeating.

But when I saw the trailer for Disney/Pixar's UP, I thought maybe this would be a good first movie? Aaron took her to a Saturday morning showing, and less than two hours later reported that she loved her first trip to the movies, and UP was a great first movie. I took her a week later to see it again, and once again she watched the entire film with limited squirming and talking.

After that we anxiously awaited for UP to come out on DVD, which finally happened last week. I received the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for review, and the day it arrived we ordered pizza for dinner, sat on the floor and watched UP together as a family.

For those who haven't seen the movie, here's the movie's synopsis (from the studio):

Up follows the uplifting tale of 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. Their journey to a lost world, where they encounter some strange, exotic and surprising characters, is filled with hilarity, emotion and wildly imaginative adventure.

Now, that's the basics of the story, but there's so much more in this story than what is written in that synopsis. The opening sequence of the movie is the story of Carl & Ellie, including how they met as kids, their marriage, their struggles through life (including infertility), growing old together, and Ellie's death. We learn that their greatest dream was to visit Paradise Falls together in South America, a dream that Ellie never sees and Carl is determined to accomplish for her.

I'll admit: I cried during this movie. It was hard not to cry, seeing the touching relationship between Carl and Ellie and Carl's willingness to carry out their dream after her death. Thankfully, there is plenty of adventure and humor to keep from dwelling on it for too long.

My daughters loved UP. Russell and Dug (aka the kid and the dog) are their favorite characters and they giggled and giggled over some of the antics between the two of them.

Although the opening is a little slow for young children, the action picks up quickly after that and from then on my kids refuse to budge until the movie is over. If you've already seen the movie a few times, you can always skip the backstory (a la Finding Nemo - who doesn't skip past the mom fish's death?) and get right to the action.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray/DVD combo include director commentary, a new short animated film called Dug's Special Mission, alternate endings, character profiles, and on the Blu-ray disc, a Global Guardian Badge Game, where you can identify countries, states and capitals to earn badges.

UP is available on DVD and in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack that includes a digital copy for your computer or iPod. Even if you don't have a Blu-ray player yet, you might consider the combo pack, giving you the DVD for now and the higher-quality Blu-ray for when everything eventually switches over to Blu-ray in the future. The combo pack is currently $19.99 at Amazon - a great price for a holiday gift for your kids or others you know.

1 comment:

Val Barr said...

I absolutely loved "Up," and I definitely cried during the movie, too. :-)