Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscars on the way: "Up"

Nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and other awards

Just slightly over ten hours before the Oscars 2010 ceremony, I finally saw one of its favorites as well as most talked about cartoons of the year – “Up.” And yes, I understand how it earned all the praise, even though “Coraline” is still more like my type of cartoon.

“Up” features all the customary elements of a Disney animation – sympathetic heroes bound to prevail over caricature villains, cute and friendly pets, adventures, colorful landscapes, pleasant score and an action-packed third act. What marks it out is outstanding cinematography, charming story and a very moving emotional basis.

Grumpy old man Carl Fredricksen, devastated and lonely after the loss of his wife, devises a way to escape being moved to a retirement home and fulfill his and his late wife’s dream - take an adventure trip to Paradise Falls (somewhere in South America). He ties a mass of multi-colored balloons to his roof and takes off, soon to discover, that a chubby scout kid Russel involuntarily came along for the ride.

Through an incredible stroke of luck, they do end up right next to the Falls, but before Carl can relax in his chair and enjoy the scenery, he and Russel have to deal with a fantastic giant bird, a fluffy dog with a “talking” collar and explorer Charles Muntz – Carl’s childhood hero, living in his flying ship anchored in the wilderness.

Naturally there are plenty of ridiculous moments that only adults would notice: Muntz, who must be at least 20 years older than Carl (who looks at least 65) shows wonders of physical strength (must be wonderful mountain air), not unlike Fredricksen, who alternatively uses his walker for moving around, and then runs, jumps and climbs hanging ladders without any assistance.

In the same time, “Up” should be seen for what it is – a Disney fantasy which lacks real life logic, but offers what many cartoons don’t – a genuine human touch and feelings that both children and adults can connect to.

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