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Monday Movies: Up

This weekend, The Girlfriend and I went to see Up in 3D, my first-ever 3D movie. It was fun, but I was a little disappointed to be initiated into the ways of 3D by a movie that makes almost no sense and has almost completely unsympathetic characters.

The people who think it’s Pixar’s best are insane — Wall-E deserves that title, because at least in the first part, it actually achieved something new and interesting. But Up? Yes, the montage of his marriage to his childhood sweetheart was touching and represents a rare glimpse into the anxieties of old age in a children’s movie. I also found it satisfying when he got the house to the appropriate place and then was like, “Okay, now what?” And the talking dogs were good.

The premise, however, is stupid, and they don’t do anything to set it up other than have the guy’s balloons sometimes start to pick up his cart when he’s selling them at the zoo. I suppose they wanted his plot to escape the retirement home to come as a surprise, but they knew that everyone would come in knowing that the house was going to be lifted by balloons — so why not do a little montage about how he sets it all up? Also: if this was a possibility, why didn’t he ever do it when his wife was alive? They didn’t have kids, after all, and it’s not like they were in high-pressure careers. And how exactly does this balloon thing work? I know it’s “just a movie,” but they invite those kinds of questions when he’s worried about getting the house across the cliff thing before the helium runs out, etc. Finally, as The Girlfriend pointed out, the whole subplot with rescuing the bird from the childhood hero seemed unnecessary.

I thought it might be redeemed if it was all the old man’s elaborate fantasy, which then wouldn’t have to make sense. In fact, that might be the only way to “save” it on an interpretative level. Perhaps when it comes out on DVD, we’ll have a director’s cut where it concludes with the little boy visiting him at the old folks’ home and the old man rattling on about how they’re going to get on the airship, etc., while the little boy is scared and confused and just wanting to get his merit badge.


June 22, 2009 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. I keep checking in to see if the film critics of the nation have burned down the site yet.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | June 22, 2009

  2. TGF is figuring in the post, good
    i was wondering what’s with all these forlorn looking youtube videos
    perhaps i should change this abbrev, but it’s like pretty apt naming imo, TGF – transforming growth factor

    Comment by read | June 22, 2009

  3. my first-ever 3D movie

    You’ve never seen Captain EO?(!)

    Comment by jms | June 22, 2009

  4. Didn’t see it in 3-D, but did see it with kids. It’s magical for kids, especially the bird stuff. Liked it a ton, but personally liked Wall-E quite a lot better. I should ask the kids which they prefer.

    Comment by old | June 22, 2009

  5. Adam,

    I agree that the film only works successfully if you understand the latter two-thirds of it as the old man’s fantasy. Yet why does this interpretation have to made explicit by the film itself in order to be a truly valid one?

    Comment by Nicholas | June 23, 2009

  6. I didn’t mean that it had to be made explicit — more just trying to imagine what it would look like if it actually was made explicit.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 23, 2009

  7. I recognize that it was deployed in this instance to be funny, but the term, “have (one’s) (X) virginity taken,” is so distasteful. I’m not sure why? I think maybe it’s because it sounds disturbingly physical, like the virginity is an actual little organ that’s being removed from your body.

    It’s especially gross in the context of one’s so-called “3D virginity,” which brings to mind the unpleasant picture of a Pixar animated creature reaching from the screen into the audience to extract a tiny lump of tissue from out your penis.

    Comment by jms | June 24, 2009

  8. I agree that it was somewhat tasteless. Perhaps I could’ve used “popped my 3D cherry” instead.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 24, 2009

  9. Sorry, that probably came out as harsh. I just couldn’t resist the joke. I’ll edit it in the post….

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | June 24, 2009

  10. You’re getting soft in your old age, Adam.

    Comment by jms | June 24, 2009

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