(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Up)
Doug (vo): Well, with how many times I've constantly praised the Toy Story series, you would think that Toy Story or Toy Story 2 would be my favorite Pixar film, and actually, they are not. That distinction goes to Up, in my opinion, one of the most perfect family animated films that has ever been made. It’s funny, it’s emotional, it has memorable characters, it’s colorful, it’s bright, the story’s easy to follow, you get wrapped up in the drama, it has tons of memorable moments. It’s basically what I think of when I think of a perfect movie. What’s the premise?
Doug (vo): A little boy meets a little girl and they instantly fall in love, well, not instantly, he’s a little shy and she’s an over-the-top energy-holic. But they do have something in common: that they both love adventure, and they love to travel. They make a pact that they will go on an adventure sometime, but unfortunately, all sorts of real-life events constantly get in the way. But they live a good life all the way up until old age until her untimely death. Obsessed over the loss of his wife, the little boy has turned into a grouchy old man, who’s about to lose his home, so he takes matters into his own hands and ties a bunch of balloons to the house and takes off into the sky, off to have an adventure searching for that patch of land him and his wife always talked about getting. Along the way, of course, he comes across some colorful characters, including a boy scout who accidentally got roped in, a rare bird who seems to get along with the boy, a dog named Dug...yes, now a new generation of children with that name are going to suffer. You’re off the hook for now, Nickelodeon...and an old pilot whose lifelong search for the bird has driven him insane, determined in capturing the creature, even if it means killing anyone in the way.
Doug (vo): On the surface, the story doesn’t sound like much, in fact, it even sounds silly. And, yeah, it is silly. I didn’t even get to the point about the dogs flying the little airplanes. Yeah, there’s dogs flying little airplanes in this. But if you’re willing to buy surreal ideas like a house that can take off with a million balloons, you know what? You’ll buy stuff like that as well. And that’s what the film manages to do. It manages to pull you in with every silly, over-the-top gesture because the dramatic moments are just as equally strong. You immediately identify with the girl and the boy in the opening. And I’m sure you’ve heard everybody talk about the first 10 minutes and how unbelievably good they are and...yeah, they are. My brother and I used to joke that you could just slap "the end" after the first 10 minutes, and the audience would probably be satisfied. It’s the history of their life as a couple together without any dialogue. It’s all done through visuals and music and, honestly, I didn’t think they were gonna top it. I thought maybe they played their Trump card too early. But the rest of the film is so imaginative and so colorful and so likeable that it’s impossible not to get as drawn in as you were with the first 10 minutes. The bird never says a word, and yet, it has a lot of personality. The relationship between the boy and the old man has its funny moments, but also has its touching moments. The way they nail the personality of a dog by giving it a voice box is ingenious. Even the side villains, as soon as this threatening hound showed up, I remember thinking to myself, "Oh, gee. Here’s the killjoy. No funny things are gonna come out of this guy." But sure enough...
[The film's secondary villains, three talking dogs, are shown. The leader, Alpha, speaks in a high squeaky voice]
Alpha: No. Soon enough, the bird will be ours yet again.
Doug (vo): This had me pissing my pants all the way through. Yeah, it’s childish. I know all they do is speed up the voice, but, by God, when you put that voice against that threatening image, it’s hilarious. Up has the perfect amount of drama, comedy, material for adults and material for children. It doesn’t need a whole slew ton of characters to sell toys with, it only needs a couple, but the couple they choose are so good and so likeable that it’s all you need. I’d say the only nitpick I have with it is how is it that the boy is watching the pilot when he is young and yet when they meet up, they look roughly the same age. I don’t know, shouldn’t that pilot be dead by now? I kept expecting them to explain that, but they never do. But honestly, if that’s the biggest problem with the film, I have little to complain about.
Doug (vo): I can’t think of anything else wrong with this film. The love is genuine, the friendship is genuine, the characters are genuine, the situations, as crazy as they are, seem remarkably genuine. It’s a strange story with strange people, but, hey. How many great tales that started off with "this is a normal story with normal people"? For all these reasons and more, if I even need it more, Up is my all-time favorite Pixar film*.
[The film's final scene, showing the house resting on the top of Paradise Falls, is shown]
- (Until Inside Out was released. As proven by Doug's Top 10 Disney Films, Up ranked at seventh, and Inside Out ranked third.)