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Pixar's UP is an Awesome Ride
Earning $35 million since its release, the new Pixar animated movie, UP, is simply great for any age. Pixar's UP is targeted at a slightly age group, say 9 or 10. The PG13 rating is a mystery as there is no bad language and violence, if you can call it that, it so mild and harmless one hardly notices it.
The story is actually quite adult level and begins with a series of short scenes about the old man's life from a kid in the 30s and progressing through his life's events living until the end in the same house. It is like a animated time machine that we all go through. The thread throughout the movie is about one's dreams to "get done" before the end. In this case, the girl he meets as a boy, is the girl who becomes his wife. Her dream is to find the lost paradise valley where a famous explorer is said to have found an ancient species. We first see this as, "stuff I need to get done" in a book she keeps throughout her life. Of course, like many of our dreams, time and events seem to push them to the rear of desire and marriage, jobs, kids all prevent us from getting them done until one day when age has made it impossible, it is too late.
Thus, when his wife fails to have a baby, she becomes depressed and time quickly moves on in the first 15 minutes of the film. Soon, we see she becomes ill and before she dies, she hands her book of dreams she had since a girl to her husband. Depressed, the old man (Ed Ashner) does what probably most old people do: sit around, feel useless, live in the past, is angry about how it has all ended. His house is the last of a once country street now a urban city. To him, everyday is identical to the other and he refuses to give up his house to more lucrative offers. Then, he opens his wife's "book of dreams to do". Angry for not doing it while she was alive, he is now determine to do it!
One day, a young boy knocks on the door dressed in a cub scout uniform. He's trying to get his "Elderly" badge by help old folks in some way. He is persistant and not offended by a grouchy old man.
Thus, the rest of movie is an "odd couple" formula, the old man and the kid. The ride is wild once the house is airborne by a zillion balloons filled with helium. The destination: The Lost Paradise in South America. Once there, they encounter the talking dogs, a rare, never before seen bird that has a personality much like the old cartoon, the Road Runner (since the Pixar is a creation of Sonoma resident, John Lasseter, he was no doubt a Road Runner fan as a kid) that lead to the forgotten explorer that the old man and his wife idolized as kids.
The movie is a heck of ride, filled with many funny moments and even though it is predictable, the theme will resonate with all adults about how quickly life passes by your dreams, whatever they are and before you know it, it will be too late. It is also about how age can be meaningless between a 10 yr old and a 80 yr old man who become like a father and sonm each being fulfilled in different ways. Its never too late!