Monday, December 7, 2009


Any adult that watches the beginning of Up and is not affected by the story of Carl & Ellie doesn’t have a heart. You might as well join league with the Grinch because you heart is two sizes too small.

I’ve seen Up twice now and watching Carl and Ellie meet, fall in love, and grow old together still moves me. Ellie is only physically in the film for about ten minutes or so and yet her character drives the film. She was Carl’s world and in those few images the filmmakers make you fall as in love with Ellie as Carl is, so that you completely understand his sorrow when she is gone.

The most astounding thing to me about the whole movie is that Ellie remains a character through the whole film because of the house. Carl carries Ellie with him physically by taking the house, the life they lived together with him on his adventure to Paradise Falls.

Even though this is a children’s film it is layered with subtext that live action films can’t accomplish. Pixar is truly able to perfect some of their stories like no one else because of the manner in which they are forced to tell them. By being an animated film the filmmakers have multiple versions of the film created before they ever being the final, animated version of the film. By the time they get around to that version they have more than figured out what works, what falls flat and how to make the characters on screen as three dimensional as their animation technique.

While Pixar normally has the best animated film category of the Oscars locked up, I am interested to see what will happen as there will be five nominees (one probably from Wes Anderson) this year. I think Up will still walk away with the golden boy, but it could be an interesting year.

Carl: Hey, let's play a game. It's called "see who can be quiet the longest."
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!

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