Saturday, August 22, 2009

High marks for Up

Prior to watching Up, I read a review of it that began like this:

If you haven't seen Up yet, stop reading right now and run to your nearest 3D cinema and watch it. Go! Now! Wait, bring your friends, your parents, your lolo and lola, your best friend. Better yet, bring the love of your life, that one you're going to marry, that one you're going to propose to soon, that someone you've been pining for since you met but haven't got the chance or the courage to do so. Bring them. I guarantee you, this is one movie watching experience you want to do with them.

I was puzzled by the second half of that passage, because as far as I knew, Up was an animated film about a grumpy old man who hitches his house to a gazillion balloons and flies off, inadvertently taking a rotund boy scout along for the ride. How exactly is that something you'd want to see with "the love of your life"? Adding to my mystification was my brother's report from his friends who have seen Up that it's "a love story". A love story from Pixar, riiiiight.

But it all made perfect sense to me barely 15 minutes into the movie, as tears were already trickling down my face (and I would cry several more times after that). By golly, Up WAS a love story, and a very beautiful one at that. I won't go into details lest I spoil the impact for anyone; suffice it to say I was truly moved by this unexpected facet of this brilliant gem of a film.

And its other facets were just as flawless. As a cartoon, it was a visual treat (or I SHOULD say "delight", hehe)-- the colors were candy-coating vibrant and really popped (no, that wasn't a balloon pun), the characters were just cute, cute, cuuuuute as heck, and the backdrops and props were rendered in painstaking, breath-taking detail. As a comedy, it was laugh-out-loud funny, with the right balance of well-timed physical comicality and smart verbal humor. As a story with a message, it was inspiring and heart-warming without being sappy, delivering the normally trite themes of "pursuing your dreams" and "life as an adventure" with a refreshing guilelessness-- no preachiness, no melodrama, no hard-sell, just a simplicity, an innocence, and a purity, almost, that were far more effective, and paradoxically, far more powerful.

Ultimately (and no pun intended again), Up is a joyfully buoyant movie. It will appeal to the young because of its spirit, and it will appeal to the not-as-young with its soul. It will make the young ponder their old age, and it will make the not-as-young reflect on their youth. And regardless of the age, it will tug on the heart, and lift it up, up, up. And that's why I cried so many times throughout. And that's why, as Tatot wrote, you should watch it with someone special.


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