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THERE'S only so much one can say after seeing a movie one time (so far), but here's a quick collection of thoughts that came up while I was watching Pixar's new film Up.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Pixar's tenth feature film will follow the same success as its predecessors. As always with the Pixar philosophy, the story is solid, and so massive that it's hard to believe the film is only 96 minutes long. There never seems to be a point where it's not evolving. But that's not what particularly stood out for me.

What stood out to me is that there is no sugarcoating in this movie. Everything is presented realistically and straightly, with no softening or dumbing down issues presented in the film. After the first ten minutes of the film, we see childhood love turn into marriage, into starting a family, into a miscarriage, into death, into a lonely old man who can't let go of his life with his late wife. Some critics are arguing that it's much too depressing to have that in a kid's film - and here is an issue within animation that's annoyed me to no end.

Remember that Walt Disney did not make animated films for kids. He made them for everyone. In these times, though, "family" is usually immediately connected to "kids" - and by that, something that only younger children would enjoy. Up breaks through this preconception, for which I am all too grateful. In addition to a miscarriage and death, we see blood, guns, a boy who almost never sees his father, and an end for the villain that even surprised me a little. But why should these things be shaded over when appealing to both young and mature audiences? Even if there is a flying house and talking dogs, what the characters have to go through is reality. Taking those issues away loses your chance to get the audience engaged with your characters, no matter what age or background they have. It's a concept that's been lost in animation for far too long now, and I hope Up will encourage others to redefine what "family" is.

The only major criticism I will give is the option of using 3D glasses in select theaters. My theater provided this at certain times and had sleek black glasses to watch the movie with. It was my first experience with this, and in all honesty, I hope it's the last. DreamWorks' preview for the next Ice Age took advantage of this much more than Up, and the film itself didn't seem to use it very much at all. I couldn't help but think of the depth in the backgrounds of Snow White with Ub Iwerks' multiplane camera, but it simply looked odd and distracting to watch. If you're into the 3D glasses novelty, then go ahead, but I'll skip it next time and watch it with my own eyes.


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Steamboat Mouse Animation


A journal on a young animation student's thoughts on animated films, shorts, and the industry above it.

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