I know I’m a little behind on some of these, but with the Oscar winners as well as the nominees, I wanted to wait some time after the awards so I can find myself in that objective place again.
With UP, plain and simple, it’s a difficult movie not to love. It shows an understanding of its older audience while imparting some difficult to say advice to its younger audience. The message, even for older audiences, is a slippery slope because as an audience member I found myself torn. I wanted Carl to move on, but at the same time, there’s always that fear that it’ll be equated with forgetting the other person. With such a message, I was incredibly impressed with the storytelling.
Because after all, that’s what this movie is a return to, the art of storytelling. Sure, it did so with beautiful visuals but at no point did it surrender to spectacle. There are so many movies out there (I’m going to go ahead and name Avatar here) who have absolutely stunning visuals, but when paired with a mediocre or even lackluster script, I find myself indifferent. The characters in UP not only entertained, but engaged in a way that I honestly never thought animated characters could do. It was refreshing to see some credibility lent to the industry after some of the animated garbage that’s being put out.
But to label UP as merely an animated movie is to do it a great disservice. It transcends the medium and, as I said earlier, brought such real and dimensional characters to the screen. It really is so much more than an animated movie. Don’t get me wrong, I love animated movies probably more than any 22 year old man should, but there’s a certain stigma with the genre. There’s this pre-conceived idea that it should be something flat. This idea is constantly being challenged, like I said in my post on The Iron Giant, but with UP, it’s proven to be a whole new playing field.
One can only hope that the same level of involvement and integrity is brought to future animated projects. UP found the courage to address an unpleasant topic in such a beautiful manner in its opening sequence. From there it proved that these kinds of movies can have heart and humor, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In the end, UP proved itself to be both an emotional and incredible journey, with the characters and the visuals, hopefully changing the way that animated movies are viewed.