Monday, February 1, 2010

Going Up?

I meant to go see Up when it came out in theatres, but it was summer and I had beaches to go to. Since then, I’ve had so many people talk about how wonderful this film is, I figured it was time to see it. Plus, one of my students lent it to me, so I didn’t even have to spend money at Blockbuster.

Boy am I glad I didn’t go to the theater for this one! Up?! They should call it Down! A handful of barbiturates probably would have seemed like an upper in comparison. It was only about three seconds into the movie when I was bawling like a three year old when the film is saying “I regret being old and never doing anything remarkable with my life!” And later bawling again when it’s all like, “life together with someone I loved was all the adventure that I needed!”

I guess it probably hit me harder than others who were able to see the more positive aspects of these messages. A few days ago, a student asked me what my biggest fear was, and I said failure, because that always seems like it’s the right answer (especially to over-achieving, stressed out students). But after watching the film, I don’t think that’s right. Because I’ve come to accept that failure has an element of control. I don’t really feel like I’ve FAILED something unless it was within my control and I screwed it up. If I don’t succeed at something as a result of factors beyond my control, I don’t really conceptualize that as failure (I used to, but I guess I grew out of it). What really scares me is loss. I’ve dealt with a lot of loss in my life – albeit not very well – and it’s never a feeling that I want to repeat. And that kind of loss, the loss of the one person who truly gets you? Gets all the crazy silly things about you and still doesn't want you to change? I just don’t know that I’d want to go on and have adventures after that. So I had to admire the main character, and worry about myself the whole time. Not exactly a fun way to spend 90 minutes.

My own psychosis aside, I did like the animation of the Paradise Falls region, and the DVD bonus feature about the art direction and their trip to South America made it even more interesting. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a cute film. Not one of Pixar’s best – the main character is interesting, but beyond that, most of the secondary characters are fairly one-dimensional (which was apparently the goal of the production team given their discussions in the bonus features, so I guess they accomplished what they set out to do…).

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