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Viewed – 20 March 2010  Blu-ray

I would generally say you can’t go wrong with the movies from Disney animation house Pixar.  The guys responsible for such gems as Toy Story, Monsters Inc and The Invincibles.  Yet of course sometimes they can fall a little short, such as the over-long and not terribly interesting Cars.  So how does this one shape up?  The story follows an elderly man who decides to realise a lifelong dream of visiting South America, and escapes being dragged off to a retirement home by turning his house into a balloon powered flying blimp. 

This admittedly bizarre premise is brought down to earth by a very human story of ambition and regret, of the things we always said we would do one day, but never get around to, and also about discovering that life has more to it than one hopeless dream.  The character of Carl Fredrickson is a likable old rascal that carries the film, and you definitely believe in his story, even if it feels ultimately tragic.  Also along for the ride is an adventure hungry boyscout called Russell who opens Carl’s eyes to other wonders along the way, like a hapless dog with a speaking collar and an endangered exotic bird being hunted by an old adventurer who bares more than a passing resemblance to Kirk Douglas.  Granted, the story gets a little weak when it moves into action / adventure territory (shocking, I know), and I was more interested in Carl realising his dream than saving some bird, and the repeated gag of the talking dog wears thin very quickly.  It’s a shame then that this one lacks some of the comedy of other Pixar movies, and can’t quite hold a candle to the brilliant Wall-E for unabashed ‘awww’ moments, but what it does is tell a fun story with some brilliant moments and likable characters, all wrapped up in Pixar’s unapologetic, gorgeous visuals – that excel in HD, not that you were expecting anything less.

Verdict:  3 /5

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