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Leave it to Pixar to deliver what just might be the best 3D Blu-ray title of the year....
Buena Vista / 96 Minutes / 2009 / Rated PG / Street Date: December 4, 2012
Pixar movies get me to break down crying at one point or another. The Sarah MacLachlan song at the middle of Toy Story 2, when Boo says good-bye to Sully at the end of Monsters, Inc. - even in the Pixar movies that aren't among their best (Cars, A Bug's Life), this schmuck finds himself grasping for a handkerchief at least once. What's surprising about Up is that this moment comes real soon - in the first fifteen minutes.
As Up unfolds, we meet young Carl (who, as a grown man, is voiced by Ed Asner), a young adventurer who has a love-at-first-sight moment with fellow thrill-seeker Ellie, and before we know it, these puppy-love whipper-snappers are a young married couple. But as we see them make plans for the ultimate adventure - a trip to deep South America, a place called Paradise Falls - life quickly closes in on them. In a marvelously efficient montage, we watch as bodily harm, broken machinery and physiology that just doesn't offer the couple what they so desperately want - and it crippled me.
The first time I saw the film, I thought I'd gotten it out of my system, but when I checked it out again - with my proud mother sitting next to me - the floodgates opened up again: The early sequences of Up had me crying like a fussy baby, and I had the chance to embarrass myself again in the comfort of my own home when this beautiful Up 3D Blu-ray Disc came my way.
The bulk of Up is an adventure tale as epic as the imaginations of the young explorers at film's start - after Ellie passes away, Carl makes good on their desire to hit South America by soaring his house (via copious amounts of balloons) from the States to well within the southern hemisphere. There are compatriots (a Wilderness Explorer named Russell (Jordan Nagai)), bad guys (a vile Christopher Plummer), and animals both common and long-thought-extinct (there's a talking dog named Dug, and an enormous tropical bird Russell calls Kevin). And it unfolds like all Pixar movies, with elegance, a breathlessly fast pace, and an abounding sense of heart.
I don't mean to give Pixar a free pass in the critical department - after offering a rave to Monsters, Inc. earlier this week, I feel like all I do is worship at the Pixar-altar - but Up is sensational entertainment, a movie whose visual boldness will enhance the kiddies and whose universal, endearing story will force most adults to do what this guy did: shed a tear or two.