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To escape eviction from his home, Carl attaches some balloons to his house and takes off to South-America, following the dream that he always dreamt with his late wife to go out on adventures. As it happens, an annoying boy scout joins him, and together they tumble into an adventure involving a lot of dogs, a zeppelin-like airship and a theoretically extinct giant dodo bird.
The film is very good. It would have been absolutely brilliant had it ended after 7 minutes or so. There is a sequence in which Carl meets his future wife when they are both kids, how they get along and play and fall in love, how they build dreams and houses together and how they age and end. Poof. That’s it, a stunningly perfect mini-feature, heartbreaking and wonderful. After this, you can literally hear the movie take a breath again, recovering from its own completeness. What is it with these Pixar opening sequences recently? The Wall-E silent movie masterpiece, followed by a not so interesting human intervention, was a similar phenomenon. Now we have a chase for peace and rest at the end of a life span that turns (of course) into a heroic adventure ride. As for the characters, the one I really did not like was to nice little dog, because I do not like nice little doggies drooling stupidly all over the place. But there is compensation when he gets a decent throwing and thrashing by the fierce Rottweiler and Bulldog competition that is running the villain’s air ship. That villain is nothing special, but solid evil, and he allows our heroes to shine the way they should.
When talking Pixar, there are always a couple of technology or craft that pop into the eye, I find: There is, for example, a spectacular use of space in the film, of people standing alone on wide deserted spaces, or of houses flying tiny-looking through the gigantic skies. This gives more stress to the vastness of space in the deserts and jungles they travel, and of course also the sky which is their way of transport. On top of that, there is the 3D thing, which by now has become solidly controllable. My summary on this: I enjoy watching it. I would not miss it. Pixar makes animated movies starting from the story and the movie, not starting from the animation, I believe. That means that whatever comes in through animation technique does not turn a bad movie into a good movie, it may turn a good (or bad) movie into a slightly more spectacular movie. Sometimes you want this, sometimes you don’t. And I am wearing glasses, so these additional things on my nose pressing into my skin annoy me out of my patience rather quickly. Even with “Up”, there were plenty of scenes where I wanted to take them off, so I can see a brighter picture with less flagellantist pain in my face.
Oh, and the Chinese dubbed version is not very well dubbed, if that is of interest…

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