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Up (DVD Review)

10 Sep, 2009 By: John Latchem

Prebook 9/15/09; Street 11/10/09
Box Office $290.9 million
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 two-DVD set, $45.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for some peril and action.
Voices of Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Delroy Lindo, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger.

Up tells more story in its first 10 minutes than most films can manage in an hour-and-a-half. And from there the adventure is just getting started.

Pixar’s 10th feature film is perhaps its most heartfelt, telling the bittersweet story of elderly Carl (Ed Asner), who rigs his house with balloons to fly to South America, where he is joined by young stowaway Russell, in an attempt to fulfill the childhood dream he shared with his lost wife.

The story combines the bizarre sensibilities of a Hayao Miyazaki film with the rugged escapism of Indiana Jones. The animation is simply stunning, which is no surprise for a Pixar film. The studio excels at crafting its images to tell a story, unlike many CG-animated movies that try to cram in too much action.

The basic DVD version of Up only includes a handful of extras compared to the Blu-ray version (which offers a picture-in-picture mode, eight more featurettes and a game) but is still loaded compared to most other home video presentations.

For starters there’s the theatrical short Partly Cloudy, a hilarious dialogue-free cartoon that pokes fun at the traditional story of storks delivering babies by focusing on the bird that has to deliver the offspring of dangerous creatures such as sharks and alligators. A new short, Dug’s Special Mission, focuses on the events that led to the dog meeting Carl and Russell in the film.

“The Many Endings of Muntz” offers viewers a glimpse at several potential endings for the film, as filmmakers struggled to find an ending that best fit the film’s themes of growth and change.

There’s also a fascinating featurette, “Adventure Is Out There,” which chronicles the journey several of the filmmakers took to South America to explore the tepui mountain formations that served as the setting for the film.

Finally, a commentary with directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson provides a good glimpse into how the filmmaking process formed the nugget of an idea into a finished product.

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