GUEST REVIEW: Up

Up PosterCurrently my favorite animated film, I will readily admit that this one usually chokes me up. More than once.

Disney/Pixar’s UP is, in my opinion, a masterpiece, beautiful on a number of levels. But behold, I getteth ahead of myself. (Be forewarned- I’m trying to be tactful, but I’m not afraid of spoiling plot points. 🙂

The Worldview,

The Good

UP is full of good stuff to admire. First and foremost on my list of refreshing worldview points is the portrayal of marriage, children, and family life as a good, fun, and enjoyable thing. How precious and how rare.

We also see in the scene with Mr. Fredricksen and Russell the breakdown of the family in the current generation- but instead of being shown as normative , it’s shown as just that- a breakdown, and a sad one at that.

The moral of the film? Maybe that adventure isn’t something “out there” that we have to go hunt down. Rather, we should find adventure in (insert my Christianity) obedience to God and in enjoying the life that He has given us.

We can also learn in a similar but separate vein that it is a waste to hold on to the past. Let us say with Job “The LORD giveth and The LORD hath taken away- blessed be The Name of The LORD!” There’s a time for weeping, but then we must press on. Mr. Fredricksen does this in the film.

This film almost goes against the standard Disney “follow your dream” stuff. The beginning sets up for this dream of going to Paradise Falls, but by the end of the film that dream has been forsaken in favor of seizing the short time that God has given us to invest in real pursuits.

Ellie’s a bit of a tomboy in the beginning, but as an adult, from the little we see, she’s very feminine and modest.

And I just want to say again how much I loved the portrayal of family. You can see my favorite 4 minutes of the film here– it’s kinda a spoiler, but I hope it will make you want to see the whole thing, if you haven’t.

The Bad

There’s one semi-crude moment.

Something that isn’t necessarily bad but is a stereotype that should be addressed and perhaps exposed is that again the woman has the energetic, go-getter personality, while the man (at first) is a shy introvert. I’d like to see more bold manhood and gentle, quiet womanhood (1 Pet. 3) modeled.

There may be some disrespect for the elderly- making jokes of things that happen in old age. However, it may be said that so much of good, clean humor is simply the exaggeration of stereotypes and common problems of any age group. They do it with kids, dogs- “point!”- and with the elderly. But we must be careful that we remain respectful of our elders- that must weigh in. (1 Peter 5:5)

Also- this might have been my biggest issue with this film- we see a bit of a green-peacey leaning in that Muntz is the bad guy because he wants “the bird”. But for a man to desire to capture a beast to clear his name isn’t a bad thing- indeed, I would say it’s a good thing! Take dominion! Now, Muntz has other character issues that make him truly a bad guy- but that’s kinda the point. I’d like to see a good man taking dominion. Yes, he should be a righteous man who “regardeth the life of his beast”, but that doesn’t mean a man who never catches or kills animals. Beware these hints of environmentalism. Let us steward well the earth that God has entrusted us- because we fear and love and worship Him!- not steward the earth that created us because we fear and worship “Mother Nature”.

The Art

The Good

Most of it. The animation? It’s Pixar. Some of it I found a bit simplistic compared to other animations, but it’s beautiful overall.

The story? It’s Pixar. Top-notch. It has been said that “story is king”, and I love how Pixar films seem to consistently have a good story, insistently interesting and usually with a touch of sweetness. UP was no exception.

The music? It’s excellent. Excellent. The perfect blend of just the right old-timey feel, sounding like something that would be played on a record player, and simply being downright beautiful. The music told the story excellently. Bittersweet, adventurous, small and lonely, bright and shining- and at home in all of ’em.

The Bad

No comment. This was a beautiful film.

Overall,

Like I said, Pixar’s UP is my favorite animated film. It’s beautiful artistically and refreshing theologically. I’d give it a 5/5, and highly recommend it.

———————————————————————————————
Gabriel Hudelson is a devout Christian who desires to see all aspects of our culture submitted to Christ.  A freelance composer for film and visual media, and the resident musician and sound-designer for his father’s Timepiece Family Media, Gabriel also reviews films and books, trying to point out both the good and the bad that they promote in worldview, as well as analyzing the artistic value behind the piece.  To hear samples of his music, visit http://resoundingmusic.com.
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