Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Only Way Is Up

I’ve resisted talking about Disney/Pixar’s Up because I knew I’d end up with spoiler alerts and I wouldn’t want that. But now that it’s on its second (or is it third?) week, I think it’s pretty safe to talk about the movie.

* OKAY: For those who may still haven’t seen the movie up to now—shame on you! And warning, spoilers ahead. *

I watched it twice already, the first time on a regular run and the second on 3D. What enhanced my second viewing wasn’t just the 3D effect. I saw more the second time around, and by more I don’t mean just visual depth of field. The movie also packs an emotional depth far greater than the usual animated feature; nay, even with most live-action films as well.

What a rare movie that caters to both adults as well as kids—brilliant! Of the many layers of symbols casually thrown into the mix, what hit me the most was the way the filmmakers used the (flying) house as a metaphor.

When Carl’s beloved wife Ellie dies, he ties hundreds of balloons to their house so that he can fly it to Paradise Falls in South America—a promise he made to his late wife. Russell, an Asian-American kid, joins him in his adventures in South America where they encounter a rare bird, talking dogs and a villainous has-been explorer.

I love how the house is a symbol of Carl’s heart. At the start the house is broken down, but he and Ellie managed to make it whole. After she died, there’s a shot where the camera pulls out to reveal the house surrounded by massive construction, which is a sign of progress—it’s as if Carl’s heart stopped beating in time. Carl finds the motivation to fulfill his promise to Ellie, so his heart soars again—but this time on thousands of balloons.

When Carl and Russell reach South America, they needed to drag the house on foot towards Paradise Falls. What a cunning metaphor for Carl dragging his past along, or rather his past weighing him down.

And for me, the most touching metaphor was when Carl finally realizes how Ellie has allowed him to let go. In order to rescue Russell from danger, Carl had to throw away all the stuff inside the house—including their favorite his-and-hers chairs—so that it can be light enough to soar again. It was the ultimate gesture of letting go. It was one of the most touching and exciting scenes I’ve ever seen in recent years.

The movie is really appropriately titled. Your spirits will soar when you watch Up. Best Pixar movie to date.


Ming Meows said...

my symbolical meaning talaga, naks naman.

♥ ruby ♥ said...

Up is unexpectedly good. Super amazing! :D

JeysÖn said...

Loved this movie!

Madaming pabaon. :)

MrCens said...

i was dying to watch this but i miss it, shit! time out magazine dubai reported that 80% of the viewers are adults and they ended up crying, huhuhuh!

Canuto said...

Oscar-worthy. If this doesn't end up among the Best Pic nominees, there's no justice.

(Though I like Ratatouille and WALL-E more)