Up 3D Blu-ray Review
When I discuss the brilliance of Pixar, the movie I most often use as reference is UP. It’s not the best Pixar film (that honor goes to WALL-E) and it’s not even the funniest (FINDING NEMO), but for my money, it’s one of the most creative, well executed animated films ever made. You realize this fact about 12 minutes into the film, or as soon as the montage of the life of Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) and his wife is complete. That simple montage, which sets up the entire film, is moving, touching, sweet, sad and heart-wrenching all at once. Directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson (who also voices Dug) managed to put more heart and soul into that short montage than most films can through their entire duration.
But what’s more impressive is their ability to recover from that montage. It’s risky to make your audience cry in the first ten minutes and then ask them to jump on board for the rest of the film, but that’s exactly what they do and they execute it beautifully. As Carl is hoping to float away in his house, he’s accompanied by an unwanted companion in Russell (Jordan Nagai), a young scout trying to get his “assisting the elderly badge” that gets caught on the porch. Although their dynamic is humorous, it’s not until we meet Dug that the film really starts to shine. Dug is a talking dog that audiences instantly fall in love with, easily connecting him to their family dog as he instantly loves everyone and gets distracted by squirrels. Soon, we find Carl, Russell and Dug on an adventure trying to save a rare bird.
Even after multiple viewings, I find myself surprised by how emotionally attached I get to the characters, even outside of the opening montage. When Kevin (the bird) gets hurt, I found myself gasping, even though I knew it was coming and he would be okay. When Dug gets the cone of shame, I feel horrible for the little guy as the other dogs make fun of him. All the while, I’m trying to remind myself that I’m watching an animated movie. It’s a true testament to the brilliance of Pixar that they can establish such great characters in such a short amount of time.
The hard part, of course, is deciding whether or not a story about an old widower and a little boy on an adventure is appropriate for young audiences. Personally, I wouldn’t let a really young child watch, only because the emotional strain and the intense images (especially of dogs) can be too much at times. UP is one of the Pixar films that seems more targeted towards adults even though it’s safe enough for children. That said, it continues to be one of the greatest animated movies of all time and if not for Pixar’s other masterpieces, it might actually be the greatest.
3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
Between UP 3D and FINDING NEMO 3D, I am now officially on board every Pixar film being converted to 3D. UP is breathtakingly beautiful without 3D, but with it, the film is taken to a whole new level. The colors are bright and vibrant and everything pops out on the screen, immersing the audience into the film like never before.
Video: Exquisite is the only word strong enough to describe how wonderful this film looks.
Audio: As great as the video is, the audio is just as wonderful.
Cine-Explore Commentary: This is a Picture-in-Picture video commentary with director Pete Doctor and co-director Bob Peterson. This is a very informative commentary that covers various aspects of the film and process of making the film, a definite feature that fans of UP should not miss.
Adventure Is Out There (21:59): Pete Doctor and his cast and crew talk about the pre-production as well as the plot of the second act. Another interesting featurette that’s worth watching.
Partly Cloudy (6:02): Another animated short from Pixar that you just must see.
Dug’s Special Mission (4:58): Another animated short that features Dug the dog who is the best character of the film. You have to watch this one as well.
The Many Endings of Muntz (4:49): This is about how the filmmakers tried different endings for the bad guy Muntz and how they ended up where they did.
Documentaries (48:01): These are seven documentaries (Geriatric Hero, Canine Companions, Wilderness Explorer, Our Giant Flightless Friend, Homemakers of Pixar, Balloons and Flight and Composing for Characters) that are very interesting to watch and worth your time.
Married Life (8:57): Alternate scenes featuring Carl and Ellie, and how the filmmakers tried to put together their love story.
Global Guardian Badge Game: An interactive game for the kids.
Up Promo Montage (5: 57): Promo spots.