Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 by Adam Quigley
This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
(Available as single-disc DVD, 2-Disc Deluxe Edition DVD, and 4-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Pixar is not a boon to cinematic originality. Their formulas are just as heavily recycled as any simple-minded rom-com, or any trashy horror flick. Pixar’s success lies not in the bare story arcs of their films, but in the way they tell the story. This is what differs them from so many of Dreamworks’ past efforts: they respect the art of storytelling. Up exemplifies this notion perfectly. The film displays a comfortable familiarity in its conflicts and character arcs, from the bitter protagonist seeking redemption to the boy in desperate need of a father figure to the idol-turned-villain ‘twist’ (if you can call it that), and so on and so forth. While in a lesser film, plot beats like these might act as a detriment, Pixar’s usage of formulas is actually one of its greatest assets. Rather than break free from the mold established by countless classic tales before it, they embrace those elements. Doing so not only provides their films with a rewarding accessibility that the whole family can enjoy, but by taking those ubiquitous movie tropes and making their inclusion feel organic to the story, the process also allows them to illustrate just why exactly those formulas work so well. It feels new to us because Pixar makes it feel new, as every familiar plot point is treated with only the utmost heartfelt sincerity and intelligence. Instead of Carl Fredricksen’s loss toward the beginning of the film acting as merely a way to facilitate the adventure that later ensues, Pixar takes the time to show us why we should care. And holy hell does Pixar know how to make you care. If you’re not choking back tears in the first 15 minutes, you’re probably not watching the right movie. When the film isn’t busy leaving you an emotionally devastated wreck, it captivates your senses with the pure winsome wonder of its visuals, and then thrills you with some of the most exhilarating action sequences to grace the screen since Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not to mention, you’ll likely spend most of the experience grinningly stupidly due to the non-stop hilarity of the film’s wonderful band of characters (Dug the dog is an obvious highlight, but it’s Kevin the bird who truly won my heart). There’s a rhythm and pace to the film that’s simply flawless, resulting in the rare film that will have you glued to the screen for every second of its runtime. It may be formulaic, sure, but you’ll be too busy loving the film to care.
Notable Extras: 2-Disc DVD – Commentary by director Pete Docter and co-director Bob Peterson, “Dug’s Special Mission” short film, “The Many Endings of Muntz” featurette, “Partly Cloudy” short film, “Adventure is Out There” documentary, and a digital copy. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as Cine-Explore, Geriatric Hero, Canine Companions, Russell: Wilderness Explorer, Our Giant Flightless Friend Kevin, Homemakers of Pixar, Balloons and Flight, Composing for Characters, Married Life, and the single-disc DVD.
|BEST DVD PRICE*|
|Amazon – $14.99|
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $19.99 at Fry’s and Amazon, and $22.99 at each of the other listed stores.
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $19.99|