Friday, June 4, 2010

Up, The Second Viewing

I will not elaborate as much as I did in my original, scathing, "C" review. This is not for plot summaries, etc. This is similar to my revision of my "Slumdog Millionaire" review.

After getting into arguments with bloggers, etc., it was a good thing that I attended another screening of last year's Best Picture nominee "Up." The film admittedly shows much skill, but the problems for me are there, albeit in a smaller form. The "prologue sequence" is excellent. Of course, it strains a little for emotional response, but it works in the way that the rest of the film was intended to work: it inspires wonder and fluttery emotions. I loved it. Another great sequence is the one where Carl Fredricksen takes off in his house for the first time. When the colors of the balloons rush through the nursery of a small child, it's jaw-dropping.

I also admit I was more receptive the character of Russell than before. I'll admit that Dug (and Pixar) somewhat got me with his humorous lines and injection of "ruff" where "roof" should have been. Kevin's wail is hilarious, too. Pixar is the place for details. Nothing escapes them. That could be why their plot ties feel at times a little labored. Everything is connected.

The major problems I have with it this time, and what I believe really doesn't do good for the film, involve the ending, which Pixar is renowned for screwing up. Fredricksen and Russell are veritable mood rings in the climax, changing how they feel from instant to instant, unrealistically. (And am I the only one who thinks Fredricksen looks one time too many at his wife's "Adventure Book"? A lot of emotional manipulation there, eh?) The ending, with the whole "showing up for the ceremony," is rushed. I don't care how you slice it. The end with the fight between Charles Muntz and Fredricksen is an overused tactic, one I'm shocked Ebert didn't criticize. In a film of intense deliberations, this stuff is embarrassing. This is a film that gets steadily worse after the prologue (not that the body of the film is bad; it's good), and on that level, I see it the same way I did before. That's not to say that the film isn't good; it's just not as polished as it could or should have been. B-

6 comments:

Jozeph Dukö said...

PROGRESS !!!!!!!!!!! :(|)

Literary Dreamer said...

Ah yes, but the fight between Charles and Frederickson is humorous and different that a normal fight at the end of a film in that you have two old men trying to fight, which looks (and would look) awkward. It draws attention to its own absurdity. I mean, in that same sequence, you also have dogs with goggles flying airplanes!

Nick Duval said...

@duko Yes, that is worth a monkey.

@literarydreamer But it does also feel like Pixar is a smart-aleck and wants to lay it on thick. It's all too conventional, I think, despite the fact that the dogs are flying, etc., etc. This is all Pixar's thing, it feels conventional even though it isn't according to other standards. I won't rant again, though. I've done that too much about this film.

Jozeph Dukö said...

In away this movie is brilliant, it captures the humor of a flying house, and the sadness of why. Yes the flying dogs were funny, and yes the wife dies in the first five minutes; but the constant reminders of Elli (such as: Leaving the chairs behind, or giving the kid the grape soda cap) are enough to leave Chuck Norris in tears.

Adelaide Dupont said...

Probably one of the classic flying houses in literature (and hopefully film) is Mrs Piggle Wiggle's house.

It is a house which flies 'just because'.

Another is Pippi Longstocking's, which she actually lifts up. That film had some special effects which impressed me much along in the early 1990s, along with the music.

Stephanie said...

I love the fact that you sometimes re-watch movies and calibrate your reviews. I really liked Up. of course, I wasn't looking at it with a film reviewer's eye. I only review books. *LOL!*

For me, the whole thing just *worked.* I didn't mind the unapologetic sentimentalism, including Carl repeatedly looking at the Adventure Book, which I thought kind of gave the story thematic unity. And while the fight scene near the end was predictable and kind of over the top, I agree with Literary Dreamer that this movie put a different spin on it.

It's fun comparing our perspectives. Great review, as always! :-)