2009-12-29

Movie Reviews: Mongol, Up

I will be reviewing 2 movies today that I watched recently: "Mongol" and "Up", in that order.

"Mongol" was great. I thought it was a nice touch that all the dialogue was in Mongolian (or so I think). It gives the whole film a more authentic feel; even better is the fact that all of the actors are from that part of the world (i.e. the actors aren't Caucasian with makeup, etc.). I also thought it was interesting how the whole movie focused only on Temujin's (Genghis Khan's given name) early years; these events aren't as well known to Western audiences, so it's a great service to Mongolian history. The film effects were great (it had a sort of old-style color feel), while the action was, well, action-y.

"Up" was also great. Most of the movie was standard Disney/Pixar fare (floating away in a house, landing on a magical island), but the first few minutes really made the movie special, because their more mature content is not typical of a Pixar kids' movie. The movie opens with the elderly protagonist Carl Fredricksen (in his childhood years) meeting and falling in love with a female fellow fan (Ellie) of the famed (but later discredited) explorer Charles Muntz. The next few minutes shows a silent (save for the great instrumental background music) montage of clips from their married life, starting with their marriage and ending with Ellie's death. The scene of Ellie's death is a touching moment in itself (and unusually somber for a Disney film), but what I found more moving and dark was the point of their marriage when, after buying a crib and other assorted items for a newborn baby, the doctor tells Ellie and Carl that Ellie is infertile (the scene is shown, though no words are spoken, but this is very strongly implied). I think what also really made this movie great was Carl going back to the picture of Ellie in remembrance, and then at the end, finally letting go of the house (which, magically, falls right next to the waterfall on the magical island). The rest of the movie wasn't really that special, but the whole movie really came out to be more than the sum of the individual scenes.

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