With email like this, who needs reviews?

An email from my dear friend Bryan Rust (CAUTION: “Mild” spoilers.) :

Hi Jeffrey:Jane and I finally made it to see Up!  My only regret is that I forgot to bring Kleenex.  This is, after all, a Pixar movie, and I should always anticipate that There Will Be Tears.  Anyways, this could get pretty long-winded, so I apologize in advance–humor me while I free my inner film-critic.

Where to start?  By acknowledging the miracle that is Pixar.  Here we have an animated film that is, in part, an homage to Werner Herzog for cryin’ out loud, with Fitzcarraldo images presented intact.  No lowest-common-denominator pandering allowed!  We have another beautiful piece of filmcraft that is concerned with advancing the story and characters with as much integrity and imagination as is possible.  And, we have a 3D movie that isn’t afraid to rely on 2D images when necessary (pictures in an album, an old black and white newsreel).  I can’t think about the image of an older Ellie sitting in her chair, bathed in sunlight, without getting a little emotional.
I was really looking forward to the much-ballyhooed opening sequence, and it surpassed my expectations to the point where I’m still catching my breath.  The section with the neckties couldn’t be more than a minute long, yet an entire novel’s worth of information is communicated.  Only in retrospect can we appreciate that it is Ellie, not Carl, who selected this dazzling parade of neckwear.  It encapsulates everything that Ellie brings to Carl’s life–variety, style and a sense of fun and adventure.  It also takes us from a pair of newly-marrieds to late-life companions in a few blinks of an eye.  Phenomenal!

I still can’t get over the fact that this is only Pete Docter’s second feature.  It takes an assured hand to get away with interrupting a breathless action sequence with a joke–a slow-burn joke at that (I’m talking about Russell hanging by a garden hose and slowly being wiped across the window of the dirigible).  Any other studio would complain about such a thing killing the excitement, but Pixar has faith in it’s directors. They let Docter take all the time he needs to get his payoff.

Well, that’s enough preaching to the choir.  I hope the writing, editing, writing and editing are proceeding apace.  Have a great weekend!
Bryan Rust

Thanks, Bryan. I will. Although now you’ve tempted me to interrupt my editing and go see Up again. In 3D this time.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet departed the Patheos network in order to escape click-bait advertisements that were offending him and his readers. He will re-launch Looking Closer at lookingcloser.org soon. He is the author of The Auralia Thread, a four-volume fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors, and a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly. He teaches creative writing and film studies; speaks internationally about art and faith; served as Writer-in-Residence at Covenant College; and is employed by Seattle Pacific University as a project manager, copyeditor, and writer.