This week, we watched the short Partly Cloudy, feature film Up, and shorts Dug’s Special Mission and George & A.J.
Partly Cloudy, the theatrical short released with Up, is a heartwarming story about clouds that make the children of the world, both animals and humans, who are then delivered by storks. Though most of the animals are sweet, one of the clouds makes the harmful, sometimes, aggressive animals such as crocodiles and porcupines. The short focuses on the relationship between this particular cloud and its stork, which is funny and sweet. Highly recommended to watch alongside Up.
When Up was released in 2009, I remember it being my favorite Pixar film to date. Looking back on it now, I find it just as delightful as I did then. The character of Carl Fredrickson is definitely an archetypical old man, yet he is someone that is easy to love and relate to. And of course, we all know a Russell: an endearing, yet often annoying kid that just wants to be loved. Much has been said about the opening scene of the film and it really is as heartbreaking as everyone says it is, particularly as an adult. That feeling of loss is so palpable and it is truly a credit to the animators, musicians, and writers that are able to make us feel like we know the characters of Ellie and Carl in just a matter of minutes. The highs and lows of life; it is all there.
The best thing about Up is the sense of adventure it provides for the audience. This is clearly the intention, with the oft-repeated phrase “Adventure is out there” as a reminder not just to Carl but also to the watchers. The film is chock full of lessons that I find extremely important: it is never too late to achieve your goals and change the way you live your life. And your heroes are not always what you think they are. When exploring these themes, the film shines. When focusing on talking dogs, it is a little less effective, fun as talking dogs may be.
For kids and adults alike, Up is a classic Pixar film that should be revisited, particularly in 2019 when sometimes it feels like the world is a dark place. Up is just the thing we need.
As a companion to Up, the short Dug’s Special Mission was released with it on home video. Like BURN-E, it takes place during the feature film and focuses on a side character, this time the ever-loving dog Dug. This is a fun little short, but mostly unnecessary.
Even more unnecessary is the other home video short called George & A.J. This traditionally drawn, uncompleted short follows the story of the two workers from Shady Oaks Retirement home who come to pick up Carl at the beginning of the film. Silly and mostly uninteresting, this is an easy skip.
Next week, we will be watching the short Day & Night, Toy Story 3, and Hawaiian Vacation short.