Tag: up

Review: Pixar’s ‘UP’ On DVD

Here’s the thing, reviewing a Pixar movie is like describing different levels of excellence. You essentially run out different ways of using phrases such as “pinnacle of storytelling” or “suberb characterizations” or “perfectly plotted story” or just plain “freaking excellent.” And, seriously, let me know of any film studio that’s released even three perfect films in a row, much less the ten that Pixar has given us over the last fourteen years. I keep wondering each film if this will be the one where the shine finally rubs off and a little wear and tear shows itself. After last year’s WALL-E I figured they had reached their heights and would be finally plateauing before their inevitable slide. Little did I know they had nowhere else to go but UP.

If you’re reading this review of the DVD version then you’ve already seen the film and, unless you really are cold-hearted, you love it. I already gushed about this film back in May, so I’ll spare you. You’re really here to find out what’s on the DVD. I was sent a copy of the four-disc Blu-ray combo pack to review. Fortunately, Disney has kept up their intelligent decision of packaging the standard DVD disc with the Blu-ray. I haven’t switch to the high definition disc format yet, but these combo packs still give me plenty to talk about. The full specs are listed below, but the DVD itself still has plenty to offer.

The theatrical short, Partly Cloudy is first on the list. Once again Pixar demonstrates they can out storytell anyone without even using dialogue.

As has become tradition on the studio’s DVD releases there is second short focusing on characters from the film. This time we get Dug’s Special Mission, which occurs just prior to the talking dog meeting Russell and Carl. This “special mission” was alluded to in the film and now we get to see what that mysterious bit of dialogue was actually referring to.

Next up is the Adventure Is Out There Making Of featurette that once again shows why the Pixar gang create such moving, captivating cartoons. In this twenty-two minute segment we see the entire crew of the film journey to South America to explore the plateaus that form the backdrop of the story. After watching this you’ll have a better understanding of how the filmmakers’ are able to infuse UP with so much feeling and creativity.

The fourth Bonus Feature, entitled Alternate Scene: The Many Endings of Muntz, gives you further insight into how much care and thought the creators put into telling this story as they discuss some alternative ways Muntz might have met his maker and why they choose the ending they did.

There is a feature length commentary from director Pete Docter and co-director Bob Peterson that adds an even greater depth of illumination into the process and thought being the making of the film. All these features come very close to imitation the “film school” style of the Criterion Collection discs and are well worth your time.

Last, but not least, is a quick short explaining what you can do with the Digital Copy that is included in this set. This last edition, the computer file version, really caps this off as being an ultimate set. You get the film in three different formats and a bevy of extras (you Blu-ray owners definitely score) making this an excellent set to own. See how synonymous excellent is with Pixar? Anyway, no matter what format you’re able to view it in, this four-disc Blu-ray set is the way to go.

BONUS FEATURES
up-dvd • Commentary by director Pete Docter and co-director Bob Peterson.
• Dug’s Special Mission
• The Many Endings of Muntz
• Partly Cloudy
• Adventure is Out There

 

 

 

BLU-RAY ONLY BONUS FEATURES
up-bd • Cine-Explore
• Geriatric Hero
• Canine Companions
• Russell: Wilderness Explorer
• Our Giant Flightless Friend, Kevin
• Homemakers of Pixar
• Balloons and Flight
• Composing for Characters
• Married Life
• Global Guardian Badge Game

UP Hidden Facts

* In the sequence where Carl’s house first lifts up, the Luxo Jr. ball can be seen in the girl’s bedroom as the house goes by her window.
* The Pizza Planet Truck, which first made an appearance in Toy Story, has made a cameo in nearly every Pixar film. In Up, the Pizza Planet truck can be seen at an intersection when Carl’s house flies over the town. The truck makes as second appearance in the Fentons Creamery parking lot at the end of the film.
* The number A113, which refers to Brad Bird and John Lasseter’s former classroom at CalArts, makes an appearance in every Pixar film. A113 is the courtroom number when Carl makes an appearance to plead his case.
* Fentons ice cream parlor in the movie is based on the real Fentons Creamery in Oakland, California.
* The flight number on Carl and Ellie’s tickets to Venezuela is 2319 – the same number as the alert in Monsters, Inc. when George Sanderson has a kid’s sock on his back.
* When Russell and Carl join Muntz for dinner in his dirigible, Carl is actually served the scallop dish from Ratatouille.

DVDs With Dean – Release Date November 10th

This week’s Tastiest Morsel
UP (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition + Digital Copy)
Pixar continues to pump out near perfect films and this film didn’t disappoint even though I doubted them after I saw that the premise was about a grumpy old man who builds a balloon house. I will never doubt them again. You can choose between the four-disc Blu-ray combo pack or a two-Disc Standard edition.

Fresh Catches
The Ugly Truth (Widescreen Edition)
Katherine Heigl seemed like she was on the brink of stardom before she starting biting all the hands that feed her by ripping apart the writers from Grey’s Anatomy and pissing on Judd Apatow after Knocked Up. I hope this is the last time she is mentioned on this site with this formulaic rom-com.

Spread
Ashton Kutcher stars in Spread as a young man who sleeps with rich older women to enjoy all the comforts of money. It may be interesting to see this movie since this story is usually about a female who uses her body to her advantage and not a male, and surprisingly the movie is being hyped a little for its acting which seems impossible with Ashton in the lead and Anne Heche as his sugar mama.

The Accidental Husband
I hadn’t heard much about this film so I checked it out on Rotten Tomatoes where it is enjoying a 0%. That was enough for me to skip this Uma Thurman romantic comedy.

G.I. Joe A Real American Hero: Complete Collectors Set [The Complete Series]
Finally, they are releasing the full series instead of odd collections of partial seasons. Just like the recent Transformers set it comes with the old PSAs and some featurettes, and unlike that set it comes with a dog tag flash drive and a Footlocker collector’s case.

Greg Behrendt is That Guy from That Thing
Greg Behrendt is that Guy who wrote that book He’s Just Not That Into You and had a weird TV advice show for a long time touring stand-up comedian. This is him getting back to comedy.

Double Dip DVDs
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut
Ugh. This double dip hurt me because I fell into the trap of buying one of the Best Buy exclusive versions for the initial DVD release. Now, they release a loaded set for less than thirty bucks and I am kicking myself. This includes five discs of content some of which was available separately before like the animated comic book, The Tales of the Black Freighter (which you can watch interwoven into the film), and the “Under the Hood” short.

Monsters, Inc. (Four-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]
This is the same as the previous release but it comes in the traditional Disney Blu-ray style with a standard DVD and a digital copy.

Mamma Mia! The Movie – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! DVD Gift Set Version
After the random reissues last Christmas season made decent money we can expect to see a lot of double dipping over the next few weeks. This first set includes the soundtrack and a booklet.

Dawson’s Creek: The Complete Series
This is a reissue with a nicer casing but no new features or content.

Review: Pixar’s ‘Up’

About midway through watching Up I realized I have a big problem with Pixar. Each Pixar film is so fantastic and I watch it so many times with my son that the previous one is fresh on my mind when I go to see the new one. How is that a problem? Well, I find myself starting to compare the current movie with the previous one and that isn’t a fair judgment to pass. And so it was with Up as I initially found it lacking the same magic of WALL-E. But that is part of the point. Up has a magic all to it’s own that sets it apart from previous Pixar films. The story focuses on the unlikely protagonist Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner), a seventy-eight year old balloon salesman who finally fulfills a life-long dream, and promise to his deceased wife, when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and sets off on an adventure to South America. Along for the ride is precocious Wilderness Explorer (think Boy Scout) Russell (Jordan Nagai) who is attempting to earn his “assisting the elderly badge”. Along the way the two encounter long-missing explorer Charles F. Muntz (Christopher Plummer), a childhood hero of Carl’s, and Dug, the talking dog (not as corny as it sounds). Intrigue and action ensue. It all sounds rather simplistic, but in true Pixar fashion there are many layers to the story as we learn more about the characters as they learn more about themselves and each other.

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Considering this is only the third Pixar film to have the main characters comprised of humans beings (the others being The Incredibles and, partially, Ratatouille), and normal ones at that, this felt like their most emotionally honest story to date. Having previously used anthropormorphized monsters, automobiles, toys, insects and marine life as cyphers for telling their stories, this time the crew from Emeryville give the storytelling heavy lifting to two characters at opposite ends of life. Russel is just beginning to live and is eager to learn, yet lacks a role model to impart on him those valuable lessons that we all learn from adults. Carl, on the other hand, feels he has nothing else to learn and no one left to share his life with. Circumstances get these two compatible puzzle pieces together and the denouement shows us that they are a perfect fit. Characters have always been Pixar’s greatest strength, so much so that the story just seems to fall into place around them like a comfortable blanket. This time around, the unlikely pairing of two characters seventy years apart in age is the exact perfect choice for the tale being told.

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Up is directed by Pete Docter, who previously directed Monsters Inc. and worked on the stories for Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and WALL-E. Co-directing is Bob Peterson, who has had a hand in one form or another in about half of the company’s back catalog. The visuals in Up are pretty stunning in places and we even get the added depth of 3D. This is the first Pixar film to get the 3D treatment, however much like all other technology used to make this film, the added effect deftly serves the movie, not the other way around. There are no gratuitous 3D scenes and this movie will look just as amazing viewed in 2D. From the mundane setting of a living room to the grand vista of a South American lanscape the attention to detail is spot on. Each character is imbued with a physicality that matches their personality and everyday objects are as close to real as you can get without live-action filming. The animators at Pixar are masters at their craft and Up exemplifies that in no uncertain terms.

It’s been brought to my attention from many sources that it is perhaps cliched nowadays for critics to gushingly praise anything Pixar produces. However when they, ten films on, consistently produce animated features that outshine not only animated films, but the best that live action has to offer, I only see that as a positive. If all filmmakers took lessons from Pixar’s playbook there would be a noticeable lack of unwatchable motion pictures that overwhelmingly plague the theaters. And wouldn’t that be a fantastic change?

Super Bowl XLIII Film Ads!

I know I’m in a distinct minority here, but the only thing that interests me about the Super Bowl each year is the advertisements, and usually only the ones promoting the latest films and TV shows. Thanks to the wonder that is the Internet, I don’t even need to endure the game anymore. In that spirit we will be adding the latest Film and TV ads to this article all through the weekend and probably into Monday and Tuesday, so keep checking back often. Also, look for further commentary on the ads once they’re all up.

[UPDATED] – The film ads will now be contained here. If there are any good ones for TV shows, we will add a second article.

First up is the new teaser for G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Enjoy!

 

Here’s the teaser for Land of the Lost!

 

Race to Witch Mountain

 

Monsters Vs. Aliens in 3-D! Put on your 3-D glasses now!

 

Fast and Furious for your viewing pleasure!

 

Two for Up!

 

STAR TREK!!!

 

Jack Black in Year One!

 

Angels & Demons:

 

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN!!!