Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's up with Up?

This is not about kid's lit - but a kid's film - still, it's all about story. Granted, it's belated, but after finally seeing the new Disney/Pixar movie, Up, I feel like the boy in The Emperor's New Clothes who points out what everyone has chosen to overlook: The emperor is starkers. Why is everyone delusional about this film? 
I was relieved we hadn't brought a kid along. It's a film for children - so why does the narrative have to hinge on a tragic premise - death and sorrow. Sure, it's an effective plot device - but one that manipulates the audience - needlessly playing on its tender heartstrings. The preface about the unfulfilled dreams of the Fredrickson marriage could have been backstory. Then there's the heavy handed fortuitous meeting of the boy who needs a father and the grumpy childless widower. If Mr. Fredrickson whipped out his wife's sappy scrapbook one more time I would have thrown tomato avatars at the screen. 
It's only fair to mention, by comparison, I loved Wall-E. Sure it was sentimental, but the love story was not a gratuitous tear-jerker - it was woven seamlessly into the plot. Wall-E learned about love from watching videos of old romantic movies. More important, he was a charming character.
The maudlin story line of Up notwithstanding, the characters weren't that appealing. I didn't really care about Mr. Fredrickson or Russell. Was Kevin, the bird, really that endearing? And the talking dogs, except for Dug, seemed unnecessarily menacing. I wasn't even captivated by the animation. 
That's why I'm not down with Up
Back to the Obama girls' summer reading lists soon.

3 comments:

Shane Eli... said...
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Shane Eli... said...

I completely agree...I think a big part of it is that there was nothing propelling the story once he got up in the air. I thought the movie was going to be about this fantastical journey, but within three minutes they arrive at the falls and the movie lost all of it's momentum. They just injected talking dogs and obnoxious birds to distract audiences from the fact that nothing substantive was really going on...and just when things got too ridiculous he pulls out that Photo Album and the sentimentality is supposed to come rushing back?

Blah, give me Ratatouille, Iron Giant or Wall-E anyday...

Spencer said...

Great! Another movie I don't have to see. They're really adding up.