From the makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo comes the soul-crushing tale of loneliness and despair, “Up.”
Day after day, a bitter old man sits alone in his house after the death of his beloved wife. We see every frustration and heartbreak of their lives together: they wanted children, but couldn’t have them; they wanted to travel, but never did. So now the old man sits, contemplating the minute sadnesses of existence.
Then, things get worse. Evil developers have him arrested on trumped-up charges and evicted. And at this point, the film lets loose its one bit of whimsy, as the old man sails his house away to South America using balloons. I expected this to end up being a dream sequence. But, as it turns out, we are apparently supposed to accept this as a real occurrence in the film. In any case, this brief intermission is merely set-up for the movie’s real sucker punch. Soon, the old man is slogging through the jungle, literally dragging his house behind him like an anchor--his only companions, a fat forsaken child and a slightly-retarded dog that no one has ever loved.
Eventually, our protagonist encounters his childhood hero (now disgraced), who promptly tries to murder him. And the old man, even after all that he’s endured already, discovers that he can still be made to feel fresh new pain and sorrow.
Exactly why Pixar decided to take such a radically different emotional approach to their tenth feature film is not entirely clear. Though one suspects that they simply wished to finally have a hit in the one country that had thus far rejected them. And in that, at least, they succeeded--as “Up” went on to make over $100 million dollars in France.
Spoilers: All the balloons pop, and the house is destroyed.
Erik’s Rating: 27
Who It Works Best For: Satanists, people who just need one more little nudge in order to kill themselves.