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This review is from: Up [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Like a lot of people, I was skeptical when I first heard about the story for Up. An old guy taking his house to South America, via balloons, because his wife wanted to go there before she died? It didn't sound dumb by any means, just kinda weird. Then I realized how weird the stories for WALL-E, Monsters Inc., Ratatouille and a few others sounded, and I knew I'd be seeing it no matter what. I may not like everything Pixar's done, but they have a good track record, and just like with WALL-E, they knocked another one outta the park with Up. If you ask me, I think this movie has the most heart of all Pixar's films, and that's pretty hard to do given the amount of heart that most of them have.
Up is the story of Carl Fredricksen, a balloon salesman who lives alone in an old fashioned house now in the middle of a construction site. He runs into a little trouble one day when he's encouraged to sell his house, and takes off with thousands of balloons tied to it. He wants to go to Paradise Falls, a beautiful location in South America that he and his now deceased wife were going to go, but things keep preventing them from taking the trip when they were younger. Everything seems to be going to plan at first, but Carl soon discovers that he's not alone. Russell, a boyscout, was on the porch when the house took off, and is now along for the ride. The two make it to South America, and try to make it to Paradise Falls, but discover a rare bird, 'talking' dogs, and someone that Carl used to admire when he was younger. What's in store for these guys is the definition of adventure.
Personally, eventhough kids obviously loved this film, I think Up is a little more for adults than children, kind of like how The Incredibles was. The theme of an old man trying to fulfill a promise made to his dead wife is pretty emotional, and seeing the couple grow old in a montage is sure to tug at anyone's heart strings. The cast of characters here is great, and since the cast is fairly small, everyone gets their share of time. Russell and Dug steal every scene they're in, and the humor is typical Pixar, with a lot of little jokes that anyone can enjoy. Having a boyscout out in the middle of a South American jungle is pretty hilarious on its own when you think about it. I can honestly say that this is one of the few movies in the last couple of years that I enjoyed every minute of. I was never bored, and didn't want the movie to end. The final scene did bring a tear to my eye, not because I found it sad, but because of how beautiful it was. Up deserved every bit of that Best Picture award nomination it got, and it's a shame that it didn't win it.
Simply put, the picture and audio quality for the blu-ray are perfect. There's NOTHING bad I can say about either, though it might've been even better if there were a 7.1 track in addition to the 5.1 DTS-HD Master. Either way, if you're looking for an animated movie, or any movie at all, to show off your home theater system, Up is sure to impress.
And just like the audio/visual quality, the extras are great too. First you get the dvd and digital copy, and both are good to have since you can have one in the car and the other on your computer or portable media player, then keep the blu-ray for home. Disc one, the blu-ray disc, has a good number of extras. Partly Cloudy is the short that played before the movie in theaters, and Dug's Special Mission is a brand new short where we get to see what Dug was doing before Carl and Russell meet him. There are also two featurettes about the animators going to South America for ideas for the scenery, and one involving the movie's antagonist and a kind of alternate ending with them. There's also an extensive commentary track that'll cover everything not given its own feature on either disc. Very informative, and I liked that they'd point out extra jokes that you might've missed. Disc 2 has even more, with featurettes for the four main characters (Carl, Russell, Dug and Kevin), an extended montage scene of Carl and Ellie when they were younger and growing up (get ready to cry during this one), and more extras covering music, promos, trailers and much more. Basically, the only possible thing missing from this set is the 3D version of the movie, which I'm sure will come out on its own when 3D tvs start to sell better.
If you like Pixar, you'll get Up regardless of the reviews. It's definitely a worthy follow-up to WALL-E, which is to me, Pixar's best movie to date. This is definitely one for the whole family, or anyone who just wants to watch a great movie with an excellent story and memorable characters. For the movie itself, or the blu-ray, there's nothing bad I can say at all. This is one of those rare perfect sets.