Monday, June 8, 2009
One benefit of working on antique machines is long render times. A sequence which would take five minutes on a newer computer can take hours on one that's just a few years old.
Two hours of waiting, plenty of time to skip out to the movies.
Prior to sneaking out to see "Up", I had only see a couple feature films from Pixar. I liked the fish one, it hit all the right marks. The superhero one left me cold, if I were a 12 year old it may have seemed clever.
"Up" starts out strong enough. A real human, in a real state. Even though its a little sappy, its a well earned.
The first ten, fifteen minutes establish a concrete reality. I don't mean a house-flying or not-house-flying reality, I mean the old guy behaves in a recognizably human fashion. And it's not a kiddie movie. What eight year old knows the long ache of bygone love? It's a cheap emotion, for sure, but it's a real emotion -reminiscent of Jonas Odell's "Family and Friends" -a little dark, a little humorous.
Then, in the lingua franca of the internet - WTF? "Up" is less a hot air balloon, more of a 30,000 foot drop into kiddie film. The craft of the writing is evident -people laugh at jokes that aren't clever or remotely funny because they are properly timed and executed.
Here's what bugs me. Romeo and Juliet, you know Romeo and Juliet, they fall in love but their families will kill one another if they find out. This grim fact colors and forces every action that follows. In "Up" we've got this old guy set on remembering his wife in a grand fashion, there's a kid that tags along (because it seems like the buddy film is the new Broadway musical)and then we get unnecessary hijinx.
I'll admit, I hate the hijinx. I like the crabby old man.
Here's the real thing: the old man, in the presence of his childhood hero, his dead wife's childhood hero, the catalyst for their love decides FOR NO REASON AT ALL to obstruct the hero's seemingly innocent (if obsessive) quest for redemption thus throwing away all hope of finishing his own quest.
Beyond the first section, I found the film to be a mess of cuteness and unmotivated characters. Big disappointment, especially compared to "Finding Nemo" which used many of the same tropes but maintained emotional realism throughout.
Notice how I hadn't mentioned the "Real 3D". It's a creatively bankrupt gimmick which adds absolutely nothing, and possibly detracts from the film experience.
And the "balloon" musical theme is noticeably overused and not very good.