Saturday, November 28, 2009

I love this movie

There is no such thing as a holiday weekend without a good movie... This weekend I had the great good fortune of watching the movie UP for the third time… It’s now out on video and it is one of my favorites of the year.

I love the unlikely cast of characters – the elderly Mr. Frederickson, an overweight Mexican boy named Russell, an endangered bird, and a dopey dog who talks. But most of all I love the unexpectedness of the tale which plays upon real life themes to redefine the meaning of adventure…

The story opens with a touching vignette of Mr. Fredrickson’s life with his wife, Ellie, who always dreamed of visiting the fictitious South American landmark, Paradise Falls. When they were children, Mr. Frederickson promised he would take Ellie to Paradise Falls; but the mishaps of married life prevented them from ever making the trip.

For the brunt of the movie, Mr. Frederickson is - like me, like so many of us - preoccupied with his self-prescribed destination (Paradise Falls) rather than the process of getting there. “Now if you’ll assist me,” he says to Russell, “I am going to Paradise Falls if it kills me!”

But at a certain point Mr. Frederickson must choose whether to hold onto the past, and his fixed idea of what his adventure should look like, or embrace the present, and the unexpected people with whom he has the opportunity to experience it.

The story proves that getting where you want to go is rendered meaningless if you sacrifice everything important – namely, people – to get there. It also challenged me to remember that life will never be what I expect: my idea of "paradise" (in this life anyway) is illusory and bound to "fall;" my far-off heroes may in fact be villains; and most importantly, my “adventure” is most likely to be bound up in life’s simplest, most seemingly mundane and “boring” pleasures, like car rides, walks in the park, quiet moments of reflection, and picnics with the one(s) I love.


Daniele said...

Hmmm...I'm guessing you didn't watch it with your kids? I wonder if I would have liked it better if I had seen it through a grown-up's eyes. My review:
Significantly more jaded than yours, I'm afraid. Thanks for the different perspective!

HM Baker said...

I admit I was skeptical myself before seeing this movie because, unlike other Pixar films I've loved, it is grounded in the "real" world... It won me over, however, for all the reasons I named. I was with kids all three times but this last time was the most relaxed because I was snuggling on the couch with Audrey instead of sitting in a noisy theater...