Thursday, July 23, 2009

reasons why "up" is awesome

flabbergasted editor's note: this morning i checked the recent headlines on the blog-o-tubes and was shocked. a writer for sparkplug in the sea had posted an article that left me looking at the title like a winded rhinoceros: 11 lessons learned from "UP". what was so incredulous about the situation was that we had a very similar article slated for publication today on sheep go to heaven. the improbability of the situation was so perplexing that i immediately contacted the doppelganger blog's editor, if for no other reason than to share the uncanny moment.
i have decided to continue with today's publication schedule as planned, as our writer has not yet read the other post; maybe it's about the glories of the spacial direction.
last night i was speculating that my life and actions may be, in fact, governed by the phases of the new moon. this is adding evidence to the theory...

last week, mark and i went to see up again. you have do that with pixar films; they're too rich to appreciate fully the first time over. i didn't realize the profundity of nemo, ratatouille, or wall-e until the second, third, or seventh viewings. so, when i saw up on opening day and wasn't completely astounded, i was ok with that and knew i'd be back again.
pete docter and co. do not disappoint.


it's awesome before it even begins. partly cloudy is, perhaps, the best pixar short to date, second only to the sublime geri's game. in five minutes, you're touched, laughing, heart-breaking, then holding back tears of happiness. already worth your ticket price.

the opening montage of carl and ellie's life is lyrical storytelling at its best. in preparation for the first act of wall-e, the team said they watched every buster keaton movie on dvd (another reason why i love the film?) to learn how to tell stories without words. that cinematic skill has carried over into up, helping us empathize with why carl is a grumpy old man and to love him just the same. their entire married life in five minutes, and you know the whole story. darn near perfect.

sub-reason: look at all the other trailers for animated movies: cool, funny-looking, exciting hero characters. who stars in up? a curmudgeonly old man with a cane (and not a "cool" cane, but one of those with four legs) and an overweight asian kid (yet neither adjective is ever discussed, noted, or alluded to). i love those pixar guys....

instead of being shipped off to a retirement community some time after the passing of his dear wife, carl decides to live out his dreams.
on my desk is a 4x6 note card with the sharpied words, "it's not too late". no matter how old you are, no matter what's happened, it's not too late to follow your dreams, wishes, and hopes. even if it takes a lot of helium balloons.
at the core, that's why this movie is great.
if you never try, you'll never know...

talking about his father, russell laments that his dad isn't around much, not making time for him. maybe his dad buys him a new four-wheeler for Christmas to make up for it, who knows? but walking through south america, talking to carl, russell remembers how he and his dad would go out for ice cream after scouts.
"i know that sounds boring," he says, "but i guess it's the 'boring' stuff that i remember most."
best lesson in any movie this year.

another sub-reason: a standard movie would have resolved this sub-plot with russell's father appearing at the end, sealing the movie with sugar. bless pixar for being bold and wise.


finally, carl gets what he came for, to live in peace and quiet in his house next to the place he and ellie dreamed of. it's peaceful. it's quiet. it's boring. it's lonely.
he's sitting around doing nothing while the people whom he does care about are out doing (and chasing) things, and he decides to go after them. the balloons are losing buoyancy and his house is too heavy. so he starts throwing things out. everything. this was, perhaps, the most profound statement i noticed on the first time.
the story established how much these things mean to carl. they are his life, his remembrances of his time with his wife. but they're just things, and they're holding him back now. he is able to hold on to the memories without holding on to the actual things. he lets them go (without a second thought) and his life takes off again.

dang, i need to go see it again. anyone up for up?

(p.s. today is a tally hall day)


Natalie said...

Is it blasphemous to say I want to see it again when it comes to the dollar theatre?

Jaime said...

squirrel! :)

kwistin said...

a writer over at 'sparkplug in the sea' has nominated this post for recognition. the editors at 'sparkplug' have carefully read, considered, and chosen this post as one of their all-time favorites.

it is lively, entertaining, enlightening, thoughtful, and overall charming, just as the movie it describes. not to mention the impeccable timing....

thus, we'd like to award you with the 'warm fuzzies best blog post of the month' award.

***award: warm fuzzies best blog post of the month***

well, there you go. wall-e is to jeff. :)