Children's / Reviews

Up (2009) Blu-Ray review

After his wife dies, Carl tries to honor her life-long dream and gets sucked into a rousing adventure.

Up is a glorious film from beginning to end.  Funny, heartbreaking, and full of heart, it is the jewel in the crown that is Pixar Animation Studios.  With gorgeous, vibrant animation and a cast of likable characters, this is Pixar’s finest work to date and a film that they will have a hard time topping.

As the film opens, we are introduced to Carl and Ellie, two children who share a love of adventure and soon discover a love for each other.  In a rousing and heartbreaking 11 minute opening, we see their lives together as the grow, marry, buy a house, restore the house, find they can’t have children, and on through the death of Ellie.  This a a heart rending segment of the film and every time I see it I cry like a baby.  All in 11 minutes.  Really.  This is powerful filmmaking at it’s best.  Not contrived and false to get a reaction like some films (What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams) just wonderful talent giving you the beginnings of the story and the spark that sets Carl off on his adventure.

When Carl is court ordered to a retirement community, he takes matters into his own hands and launches his house with the help of a ton of balloons to make his way to Paradise Falls in South America, where he had promised Ellie they would go while she was alive.  With the help of a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell, who just happened to be hiding under Carl’s porch when the house lifted off, they work to get the house to the falls.

I’ll admit that when I saw the trailer for this film, I could not have been less impressed.  Sure, it was bright and cheery and standard Pixar/Disney fare.  But it did not spark my interest.  Why would I want to see a movie about a house being floated by balloons?  As my son got a little older and started showing interest on what was going on on the television, I rented this for him.  I found myself fully engrossed in the film while couldn’t have cared less.  He was all of 6 months old at the time, so no big surprise there.

Loving the film as I did, I purchased it for him for Christmas 2011.  I figured that he would eventually fall in love with the film the way I did.  As I watched it yesterday, he sat on my lap for most of the runtime.  He is 19 months old now and seemed to really enjoy it.  He giggled and pointed and was almost as engrossed in it as I was.  Is there a more true sign of a great film?

As with all of Disney/Pixar’s blu-ray releases, this is a brilliant transfer.  The video quality is top notch.  Computer animated films fare amazingly well on blu-ray and the Disney/Pixar releases really shine.  This is a stunning looking film and the quality will blow you away.  This is what HD is meant for.

The sound quality is equally stunning.  From the quiet beginning scenes to the aerial dog fight (with actual dogs, no less), this is a thrilling sound mix that will give your front, center and rear speakers a workout.  The sound stays pretty level throughout the film as well, never going from quiet to blow your eyes out loud. (Again, I am looking at you Super 8.)

This is also a feature packed blu-ray.  I am not going to go into all the features because I haven’t worked my way through them all, as of yet.  Obviously in my reviews I do not focus too heavily on the special features, but this thing is filled to the brim.  For the purchase price, you certainly do not get ripped off by a featureless disc.

This is an amazing film.  Plain and simple.  It will make you cry more than once and it will make you laugh and smile.  It is a glorious achievement in the Pixar line of films.  This is the film that converted me to being a Pixar fan and I now trust them with everything.  (I was not a fan of Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, or Ratatouille.)  If you haven’t managed to see this somewhere by now, do yourself a favor.  It is a wonderful, brilliant, magical film for young and old alike.

Movie **** out of ****

Blu-Ray **** out of ****

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