Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Soaring high Up

Pete Docter has struck gold with Walt Disney Pictures’ charming animation Up. An engaging story with the theme of how it is never too late to fill your dreams, Up is a visual treat from start to finish.

The movie rotates around a lonely old widower named Carl Fredricksen. He lives all by himself in a house and is haunted by property developers who are pestering him to sell his land.

Finally unable to take it no more the old man is pressed to retreat by tying thousands of multi-coloured balloons to his house to conquer a childhood dream: visiting the legendary Paradise Falls in Venezuela. Just when he was setting off on his adventure he discovers with dismay that he had even brought along a feisty boy scout named Russell who had been hanging around the house while it was carried away by the wind.

A relationship filled with amusing, sweet and touching moments develops between the grumpy Carl and overly eager-to-please Russell. The pair is later joined by Dug, a dog who is able to make his thoughts heard by using a vocal device on his collar and Kevin, a mysterious and colourful bird.

Touching, funny and graphically exciting, Up falls into the category of some of Hollywood’s best animations like the Ice Age and Toy Story franchises. It slips into the ‘Wizard of Oz’ mode when Carl’s home is carried away to another destination, but the similarities end there.

A plus point about the movie is that comedy is found in the least expected moments. For example, much to the viewers’ amusement, Russell proves that he is worthy to receive the ‘Assisting the Elderly Badge’ which he has been pestering Carl to help him earn.

Nearly every frame bursts with life. This is 3D animation at its best because the backgrounds are filled with details and activity. You are never given the opportunity to become bored because one incident follows another. The viewers are made to be a part of the adventure because they feel as if they are not merely watching it through screen but are actually in the frame.

Another striking feature about Up is that it does not follow clichés. The plot and storyline is original and therefore engaging. When the bitter sweet past story of Carl and Ellie is displayed at the opening chapters of the movie one expects the couple to make it to Paradise Falls together.

However over the course of their happy marriage circumstances conspire preventing them from reaching their goal.

It was only after Ellie has passed away and Carl finds his home under threat from developers that he is able to make his journey to fulfill their ambition.

The visuals too do not follow the stereotyped version. Carl and Russell resemble egg shaped Humpty Dumpties yet the images are quite pleasing and amusing. They are also a couple of unlikely heroes who happen to take form of heroes before our eyes at the finale of the tale.

Fredricksen is voiced by Ed Asner while Jordan Nagai had rendered his voice to Russell. This is a visually stunning family comedy which merges past scenes with the present. The emotions that are aroused with the dialogs and incidents which unfurl in the story melt your heart. Even tiny tots would be enthralled by the bright animations and vibrant characters bouncing off the screen. If you feel the need to rent a video this season, Up is a perfect visual treat!
Ruwini JAYAWARDANA - Daily News