Up in 3D (PG)

The promotional hype surrounding Up gave us all the impression that Pixar had made a nice family movie about an elderly man who recaptures his youth through a series of funny misadventures with nice bright colours and fast-paced action, with a hint of the usual quirky Pixar humour. Well I know you need to sell things but Up is so, so much more than your average slick animated feature. Up is one of the funniest and quirkiest Pixar films but it also packs a lot of emotional punch and maturity that proves that once again they have raised the bar of excellence that, it seems, only Pixar themselves can beat.


Up follows the story of Carl Frederickson who from an early age was obsessed with adventure and becoming an explorer like his hero Charles Muntz, as does a certain young lady named Ellie. The first ten minutes of the film follows the lives of Ellie and Carl from when they are little kids, to their marriage, their ups and downs, and then finally to Ellie’s last breath.  Neither Ellie nor Carl’s dreams of a life of exploration are realised and Carl, now a retired balloon salesman, becomes obsessed with keeping her memory alive by preserving their multi-coloured house and possessions. When a large, monotonous construction company starts bulldozing the area to build new skyscrapers Frederickson takes his stand to protect his home too far and is faced with eviction. Knowing that it’s now or never, he decides to live he and his wife’s life-long ambition to somehow get the little home they’ve spent all their years in to a place called ‘Paradise Falls’ in South America. He finds all the balloons he can and in a last act of defiance flies off in the home he and his wife loved to the place they always dreamed of living.

I regard the first ten minutes of Up to have one of the most immaculately woven openings to a film I have ever seen. It’s just so beautifully told, it pulls some emotional punches that are sure to bring on the tears, shows quick wit and perfect visual humour. The rest of film remains in the same vein with the action keeping a nice pace and the gags are perfectly timed in a very Monsters Inc fashion (Indeed it’s the same director, Pete Docter). Some gags, like the dogs with the talking collars, are just typical Pixar gold and guaranteed to get laughs from kids and adults alike. It is definitely more grown up than some of its’ predecessors and has some tragic moments in it that you wouldn’t usually attribute to Pixar films, but nonetheless allows great character development and gives a more human feel to the film. Pixar have got the balance just right here and I believe Up easily ranks highly as one of the best Pixars, with the likes of Toy Story and Monsters Inc.  It is also so utterly fantastical that it can easily be compared to the likes of Alice in Wonderland or Mary Poppins and seems to have the same kind of originality, magical feel and quirkiness to it that the classics have. Pixar make fairytales and I’m sure these films will be the Mary Poppins’ or Snow White’s of the future, and rightly so.

Also don’t worry about whether to see it 3-D or not as it makes no difference whatsoever. Up fails to capitalise on the use of 3-D but it doesn’t really need to as it will look stunning anyway and it’s not important to any part of the film so if you’re saving your pennies go and see the 2-D version.

I urge you to see this while you can, and judging by the early ticket sales I think you’ll have plenty of time.  I’m now wondering what they have in store for Toy Story 3 because if Up and Wall-E are anything to go by Pixar really can’t go wrong.

5 out of 5



13 responses to “Up in 3D (PG)”

  1. Ewan says :

    I agree with everything that you said except for the comments about 3D.

    True there were no big moments where there was something coming out of the screen towards you, but I tend to find that this detracts from a 3D film, for some reason it always reminds me that I’m watching a film. Whereas if 3D is used subtly, as it is in this film, then I find it all the more immersive an experience.

    That’s just me though, and as we all know well enough I’m weird when it comes to films.

    • the20 says :

      I’d agree with you here Ewan, I actually thought the 3D was quite good in Up and served to aid the overall look & feel, unlike, for example The Final Destination, where it was a gimmick.


    • the20 says :

      Well although the 3-D did add a nice subtle element I don’t think it was integral to the film’s looks. I’m sure the film would still be spectacular in 2-D and if you’re wanting to save the pennies then 2-D would be a good way to go.

      I have to say I agree with you Ewan on the use of 3-D in films. I prefer the more subtle approach of Up to the throw-things-in-your-face style that Final Destination has – as Doug has already stated. Up is the best looking 3-D film I have seen so far but Christmas Carol and Avatar look like they could set the new standard for 3-D films. We’ll just have to see.


  2. chiaroscurocoalition says :

    Dave is right, this film really doesn’t need 3D at all. My biggest gripe is actually about the local cineplex, which previously had offered a few screens of a film in 3D and one in 2D. For Up, they had a 2D print but restricted to two awkwardly timed screenings a day, basically forcing the audience into ponying up the extra cash for the 3D experience. It was a cynical cashgrab that dampened an otherwise fantastic filmgoing experience.

    • the20 says :

      I don’t know exactly which ‘cineplex’ you’re talking about, but when Up came out at Cineworld there were multiple showings right through the entire day for 2D, with the 3D showings beginning a little later and running through.

      You could argue no film really needs 3D. I’m not convinced of it as a feature in general. It’s pretty an all, but so far it only serves to slightly take me out of the cinema experience. It wont be a proper advancement until it becomes a more cohesive technology that doesn’t require glasses to be worn.

      Until then, I’ll just enjoy it in the context of what it is.

      Of course, maybe Avatar will prove me wrong…

  3. chiaroscurocoalition says :

    Avatar will be the litmus test, I expect.

    The Cineworld on Renfrew Street only had Up 2D on at two times a day from the first day of release. The first week one showing was at noon and another at 6, I believe. I notice this because I avoid 3D if at all possible.

    • chiaroscurocoalition says :

      should have replied on that thread. soz.

    • the20 says :

      Ah, different cities.

      I guess they just decided not to double the film up, use the screen to offer another option. Which obviously means they will keep the a) more expensive option and b) with 3D being the ‘thing’ right now, the popular option.

    • the20 says :

      Well I am not a big fan of the 3-D so far but I wouldn’t actively avoid it. It’s one of those things that will get better with time but as it stands right now I really haven’t seen a film where it makes a huge difference to the experience. Avatar will be the yard-stick no doubt.

      I have to say the trailer for the new xmas carol film impressed me with it’s 3-D look though.


      • chiaroscurocoalition says :

        I say ‘actively avoid it’ in the sense that when there’s a film like Up, you know that it wasn’t designed as 3D film. Pixar has an eye towards longevity, and until at-home 3D technology is perfected and widely available, they’re not going to sacrifice their composition and mise-en-scene for the sake of a gimmick.

        What was damning about the cinema’s choice of limited 2D showings was that it was released at a time when there wasn’t much else out, as far as big movies go, at any rate. During the clogged summer months, G-Force and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs were still given full 2D schedules. They had a 2D print of Up, they just opted to limit the availability. There are more people than you’d think who have one eye impaired, rendering 3D completely useless, and to screen a prestige picture like Up in this way is abhorrent.

      • chiaroscurocoalition says :

        And yeah, some of the bits in the xmas carol trailer looked pretty good in 3D, but it’s still Zemeckis’ awful body-capture-whatever technology, which puts me off. Admittedly, I quite enjoyed Beowulf’s 3D, but that was in spite of the character animation.

      • the20 says :

        I suppose when you think about it, the fact 3D is useless to monocular people isn’t much of a loss as such. The drive to have 3D movies is to make it more life like. We experience life in 3 dimensions and people want to drive movies in a similar way. If you’re monocular, you experience life in 2D anyway, so the fact you can’t see the 3D, isn’t a great loss to you as you’ll already be experience movies in a life like fashion.

        Changing them an extra £2 to do it however lol

  4. Ewan says :

    I think it will be interesting to see how long 3D sticks around for. It’s been around for quite a while and has come and gone as a fad at least twice.
    I personally doubt 3D will be around any longer this time than any its previous incarnations.
    I’m not sure if I’ll go see Avatar, it just didn’t appeal to me at all, kinda looked like Ferngully crossed with Tim Burton’s dreadful version of Planet of the Apes.

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