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Masand's movie review: Up is a visual extravaganza

Sep 19, 2009 01:55 AM IST India India

Cast: Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Delroy Lindo

Direction: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

The new Pixar offering Up, released both in 3D and 2D, blends inventive animation with old-fashioned values to deliver a dazzling and exhilarating family adventure that is impossible not to love.

The film's hero, Carl Fredricksen, is a grumpy seventy-something year-old with creaking bones, who we first meet at the age of eight as a geeky kid with a yen for adventure. When little Carl meets Ellie, a sprightly young girl with exactly the same passions, they form a bond. In a long, wordless montage, we see their lives play out. They dream of all the real-life adventures they'll have when they grow up; they marry and settle into their home; life takes over and the money they're saving for their dream-trip to Paradise Falls in South America gets spent in fixing their home. Ellie passes eventually, and Carl is left alone.

Returning to present day, the film follows Carl as he decides to escape eviction and subsequent relocation to an old-age home by planning a daring escape. Tying thousands of colourful helium balloons to his beloved house, he takes off for Paradise Falls, hoping to have the kind of adventure Ellie and he always dreamed of.

There's just one problem though, Carl discovers – an eight-year-old boy-scout Russel has joined him on this trip. Over-enthusiastic and persistent, Russel is the perfect foil for Carl's crankiness. Together they head out for an adventure neither of them had predicted. An adventure that involves talking dogs, a rare multicoloured bird who loves chocolate, and Carl's childhood hero who turns on them.

Rich in colour and minutely detailed, Up is a consummate visual extravaganza that's grounded in real emotion. Like the best Pixar films, this one too subtly touches upon several important themes – the frailties of our heroes, preservation of our wildlife, and the importance of friendship over materialistic attachments.

It's a film for adults and children alike, who take away different things from the experience, but who will be united in their sheer excitement over the spectacle of this unlikely adventure.

I'm going with four out of five and two big thumbs-up for Up; a simple enough entertainer that doesn't have to try too hard to woo you.

Rating: 4 / 5

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