Thursday, August 19, 2010


Director: Pete Docter.
2009. Rated PG, 96 minutes.
Ed Asner
Jordan Nagai
Christopher Plummer
Bob Peterson

Plot: Carl Fredericksen (Asner) has lived a long and happy life with his beloved wife Ellie (Elie Docter). After she passes away he sets off to do the one thing they never got to: go to Paradise Falls in South America. He sets off on his adventure by inflating thousands of helium balloons and tying them to the top of his house, transforming it into a gigantic aircraft.

The Good: The brief scene and the lengthy montage that open the movie is a brilliant set up for the film that follows. More than understanding, it makes us feel there is a bond between Carl and Ellie even death cannot do part. By the time we get to the end of our adventure, we really identify with Carl's emotions. Between the beginning and end we get a wildly inventive movie that's not afraid to run with a ridiculous premise and silly notions. The key is in the execution of them and keeping you vested in both Carl and his initally unwanted sidekick Russell (Nagai), which it does beautifully.

The Bad: Its rather inconsistent with regards to Carl's need for a walking stick and his physical capabilities, in general. Sometimes he needs the stick, sometimes not. Sometimes he can perform great feats of strength, other times he's feeble. For older viewers, this will occasionally take you out of the moment and you might find yourself thinking too much.

The Ugly: That cane when "Kevin" spits it back up.

Recommendation: The folks at Pixar have hit another homerun. Its a tale that combines big adventure with big emotion. It even ALMOST got me (but darn it, I'm a man! I choked them back like a big boy). However, it never feels manipulative. Instead, its an expert illustration of character development that never sacrifices fun. By pretty wide margin, its the best kiddie flick of 2009 and possibly the best movie of the year, period.

The Opposite View: Matthew Sorrento, Film Threat

What the Internet Says: 8.5/10 on (#64 all time as of 11/23/09), 98% on, 88/100 on

MY SCORE: 10/10

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