|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Wednesday, 04 November 2009|
While other Pixar films are not exactly routed in reality, the have an incredible story that makes you overlook the fundamentals. However, that is not the case with this film. The film starts out promising. But then the best part of the film is the several minute montage of Ellie and Carl’s life together. After that, the film is not very engaging. The characters are not memorable. And that folks is where this film fails again. Every other Pixar film has lovable and memorable characters - Nemo, Sullie, Mr. Incredible, etc. In addition, this is supposed to be a movie that children can look up to. However, the creators turn the lead character’s hero into a villain. There was simply no need for that. In the end, I found myself questioning and pointing out the faults of this film’s creation and story instead of enjoying it from beginning to end like everything other Pixar film.
While the movie falls flat in my opinion, the video transfer is outstanding. Pixar has done it again. The 1080p AVC encode at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio has an incredible color palette. The various sceneries show off magnificent and rich colors. They are supplemented by incredible black levels that show no evidence of crushing. Contrast and brightness is pitch perfect, yielding superb shadow delineation. Textures are fantastic. Details on close-up shots are stunning. However, establishing shots of paradise falls and the forest yield somewhat undefined details. This could be a result of the resolution or of the original animation. However, there are enough of those shots to be a little distracting. That keeps it from he ultimate perfect score. This is a digital animated film so as to be expected there is simply no banding or artifacting.
While the video transfer falls just short of perfect, the audio transfer is truly amazing. I have come to expect nothing less from Pixar. The amount of detailed audio effects is expansive. The last act of the film contains some of the most impressive soundscapes. Dialogue is crystal clear and fully supported. The LFE channel is present throughout the film and comes in nice and strong for each hit and crack that calls for it. Dynamics are terrific and frequency response is nothing short of perfect. The surround channels are constantly filled with air ambience and discreet effects. This is an immersive track to say the least. As is the case with all of Pixar’s sound design, it can get a little rough for youngsters so be careful with the volume level when watching with little ones.
Like the simultaneously released, “Monster, Inc.,” “Up” comes in a four-disc package. There are two Blu-ray discs, one standard DVD copy and one Digital Copy. The first Blu-ray disc contains the main feature as well as some of the bonus materials. All content is presented in high definition. First up is the cine-explore video commentary by director Pete Docter and co-director Bob Peterson. This is a terrific video commentary that appears as a picture-in-picture feature. Along with the directors the video picture contains a plethora of conceptual art and storyboards. “Dug’s Special Mission” and “Partly Cloudy” are two animated shorts. “Adventure is Out There” is a look at the pre-production of the film. “The Many Endings of Muntz” examines the demise of the hero turned villain in the story. The first disc also contains some video and audio calibration tools.
The main focus of the second disc is seven featurettes. “Geriatric Hero” is a look at the design of the elderly in the film. “Wilderness Explorer” takes a look at the design of Russell. “Our Giant Flightless Friend” examines the creation of Kevin. “Canine Companions” goes behind the development of Muntz’s dogs. “Homemakers of Pixar” examines the house in the film. “Balloons and Flight” goes behind the flying house. The last part of the documentary is “Composing for Characters” which takes a look at the music. “Married Life” looks at the Ellie and Carl sequence. “Global Guardian Badge Game” is a BD-Live feature for kids. The last items on the disc are a montage and a couple trailers.
“Up” is not the number one animated film of the year as the front of the box states. Is it horrible? No. Kids will enjoy the scenery, but adults will find the story lousy. If you can dismiss the fact that Carl’s hero as a kid was an adult Muntz and yet the two meet later in the film an are now both the same age, then the story can be sentimental. The video and audio transfers are absolutely stunning. I hesitate to recommend this movie, but the disc is more than enough to get this package.