DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

UP, Blu-ray – 5-Disc 3D Combo Pack (2009/2012)

A terrific animated feature for the entire family, with the added fillip of 3D.

Published on December 10, 2012

UP, Blu-ray – 5-Disc 3D Combo Pack (2009/2012)

Directors: Pete Docter & Bob Peterson
Voice Talent: Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai
Studio: Pixar/Disney 107692 [12/4/12] Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray & Bonus/More Blu-ray Bonus/DVD & Bonus /Digital Copy
Video: 16:9 color 1080p HD on Blu-rays
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 on Blu-rays, DTS 5.1 & 2.0 on others, French & Spanish Dolby Digital EX
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Theatrical short “Partly Cloudy,” short “Dug’s Special Mission,” “Cine Explore: The Making of Up,” “Adventure Out There,” The Many Endings of Muntz – alternate scenes, Global Guardian Badge Game, Married Life – expanded back story, Seven documentaries on: Geriatric Hero, Russel, Kevin, Canine Companions, Homemakers Pixar, Balloons and Flight, Composing for Characters, Screen saver, Pixar process for setting up your home theater capabilities
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: *****

Pixar just seems to be getting better and better, and this one shines in 3D, making terrific use of the format. What an unlikely animation feature hero is Carl Fredericksen – a squarish-looking senior who has become a curmudgeon in his house surrounded by bigtime construction, following the death of his adventurous wife Ellie. When confronted with being taken to a boring retirement home, he rigs up his little house with thousands of helium balloons (he was a balloon seller) and takes off for a cliff above a huge waterfall in South America which he and Ellie were long planning to go to. Once in the air, Carl is surprised by a stowaway—Russell, a very enthusiastic little Scout boy with an absent father, who insists on aiding Carl as a senior in order to secure his remaining merit badge for assisting the elderly. He was designed to look like a child version of one of Pixar’s animators.

Upon reaching the area in South America, the two run into first a strange fantasy bird (which the animators patterned somewhat on an ostrich) who likes chocolate, than a talking dog named Dug, and finally the crazy old explorer Charles Muntz, whom Carl had seen in newsreels as a child and idolized. At first Carl is thrilled to meet Muntz, but then it turns out the reason Muntz is there is only to capture and take back to civilization the strange bird being befriended by Carl and his “small mailman.”  Carl and his little Scout, together with Dug and the bird (named Kevin) go thru some amazing adventures fighting off Muntz and trying to save themselves and the bird. Dug is just one of a huge pack of dogs which Muntz has trained to serve him and given them special collars that allow them to speak, but he is too good and turns against the pack in order to aid Carl and Russell. Their final adventures take place in and on top of Muntz’ giant dirigible. (I’m a cinch for any movie with a dirigible in it. And though I’m a cat person I found Dug especially lovable.) The music is also a vital part of the story, and the characters are varied, unique and endearing. One viewer described it as a childhood fantasy come to life. The snapshots with the end credits tell the story of the later life of Carl, Russell and Dug (who sires lots of little Dugs).

This is a totally exceptional animation feature that would probably even appeal to those who say they don’t like animation, and it’s a wonderful family film. And the 3D is an added attraction. I don’t know why we need five discs in order to get the 3D version, but that’s Disney’s way. Especially not with the 50GB capacity of Blu-rays, and there’s three of them here—that’s 150GB!

—John Sunier




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