Apart from some forgettable short films in the past, today is the first time I tried a 3-D movie and what better way to get introduced to this than a movie which has so many dimensions and stimulates your eyes, is a real sonic treat for the ears and stirs your heart all in an hour and a half. Throw in a great short film called Partly Cloudy to start it, and you will leave the cinema with a smile, guaranteed…
This movie is not your usual kiddie animation offering from Pixar, and whilst it retains the high quality productions bursting with rich colors, what makes it stand out, literally too, is the storyline. The 3 D is sharp, and the goggles offered at the Orchard Cineleisure were clean and effective in bringing out the effects. You could almost reach out and touch the characters on the screen. I was seated dead centre too, and I guess that helped.
But the heart and soul of this story of love, adventure and the relationship between a grumpy old man and the boy is a journey of discovery, where each person discovers happiness. It is a little darker than usual, with death and some violence with a more menacing moment at the tail end of the movie, which may disturb younger viewers, so I would not advocate leaving your kid in the cinema alone with this show.
It begins quite sadly and in a bittersweet start, the protagonist, Mr Fredrickson, meets the love of his life, grows old with her and loses her, all within the first 10 minutes of the show. They are seen to have never fulfilled their aim of visiting Paradise, in South America. This is despite his vow and ‘crossing his heart’. We then see a panning shot which zooms out to show his old home surrounded by masses of re-development, which serves to juxtapose how old and left behind, and also alone he must feel.
Then cue the eager beaver boy scout boy Russell, which in a politically correct ploy, is either Korean or Asian, complete with cherubic red cheeks and overloaded to the hilt with modern technology but in a single-minded desire to gain that last badge which will allow him to get Senior Wilderness Scout status in the hope that his estranged father will come forth and pin that badge on him. The hints to separation and divorce and a splintered family are subtle and yet portray the settings of this movie in a modern and perhaps realistic setting where not everyone exists in a happy “Waltons” or “House on the Prairie” sort of world.
The unlikely duo journey to South America with the aid of a violent storm on a house floating with the help of balloons and meet the strange bird Kevin, the talking Dog Doug and the old man’s idol who vowed never to return to civilization until he captures the bird. This twist on the Wizard of Oz theme with elements of self-discovery is new and yet turns to the old theme of finding oneself amidst adversity without seeming contrived and appeals to the viewer at many levels.
It isn’t all serious, as the comic moments and the old guy, young kid contrast routine is nicely worked in with plenty of hilarious moments, interspersed between the more tender and serious ones.
The love story between the old man Carl and Ellie is also very tender and heart –warming, and even though they did not fulfil the aims of reaching South America together, the lives they lived together is filled with love, kindness and joy. With references to an old song “Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey”, sums up the feeling conveyed in the short lead up to the loss of the wife. They also make do with what they have, making their own “South America” in the jobs they do at the zoo. It is a testimony that it isn’t important where the journey leads you, if you can go through the journey of life with someone you love.
Highly recommended, firstly as a show at the cinemas, as a keeper for the sound effects and most importantly, a storyline you will not tire of watching again, especially with a loved one.