Up

The Nominations:

  • Animated Feature Film
  • Music (Original Score)
  • Best Picture
  • Sound Editing
  • Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Black-and-White:

A review by SpacedCowboy

Up may be the biggest surprise of the year, at least in terms of nominations. With an Original Screenplay nod, as well as noms for both Best Picture and Animated Feature Film, Up is breaking ground.

Here’s the film synopsis from imdb.com :

A young Carl Fredrickson meets a young adventure spirited girl named Ellie. They both dream of going to a Lost Land in South America. 70 years later, Ellie has died. Carl remembers the promise he made to her. Then, when he inadvertently hits a construction worker, he is forced to go to a retirement home. But before they can take him, he and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, whose trying to get an assisting the elderly badge. Together, they embark in an adventure, where they encounter talking dogs, an evil villain and a rare bird named Kevin.

In my view, Up delivers: good story, plot development, character development, music. I continue to regret that animated films do not deliver with a kick-ass, sword wielding female lead character, but that is another story. For what it is, Up was a very, very good movie.

For years now, it has been the impression of this scribe that the art of movie-making has been best expressed in the realm of animated films. Maybe it is because of the needs of creating an “artificial” milieu for an animated film that a deep, more nuanced script is developed, containing all the established, classic elements of storytelling. For more on this topic, visit, for example, my thoughts on e.g., Ratatouille (a great film with minor flaws…)

In any case, Up has it all: a protagonist with a back-story, a mission, antagonists and conflict. Every character, arguably even the baddies, grow. There is joy, even amongst the pallor of the conflict with Muntz – an antagonist who similarly has a story of his own, and a story arc throughout the film.

For the Oscars:

While it is a very good film, I am not convinced this is the first animated movie that should/will win Best Picture.

It is, however, a no-brainer as best Animated Feature Film.

I am deeply intrigued by the nomination for Original Screenplay. Bravo, I say. As I describe above, I do think that the animated films of the last few years have been among the few that have consistently hit-the-mark in expressing what centuries of human history have shown to be a good story. I refer to Ratatouille, Wall-E and Surf’s Up as examples. Up continues the tradition. Had it not been nominated against Inglourious Basterds and The Hurt Locker, I would give it a shot. However, even in their company, it can holds its head proud.

For the other categories, I do not have a strong opinion: Sound Editing didn’t particularly capture me. Music – Original Score: perhaps. I’m puzzled why Crazy Heart didn’t garner a nod here, though, and if it did, it would have enjoyed a slamdunk.

Bottom line: a wonderful, uplifting, complete film. Well deserving of one or two Oscars, and a worthy continuation of the trend of animated features saving the art of storytelling.

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One Response to Up

  1. […] And Away! New review of Up. […]

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