Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer
Carl: Hey, let’s play a game. It’s called “see who can be quiet the longest.”
Russell: Cool! My mom loves that game!
After his wife dies, an old man, Carl (Asner), refuses to let his house be demolished by a construction company. Instead, he ties a mass of balloons to it and floats away, destined for the South American location that he and his wife always dreamed of visiting. Unbeknownst to him, a young boy, Russell (Nagai), has hitched a ride on his floating house.
Will it be blasphemy for me to say I didn’t love this movie? It’s not that I didn’t like it, because I did. I just didn’t love it. I was reminded of my experience in watching Where the Wild Things Are. I went into both movies with high expectations that the movie didn’t quite live up to. In both cases I didn’t experience the emotional impact that I was expecting.
That’s not to say there aren’t tear-jerking moments here and there. I will admit, the photo album scene kind of wrecked me. But overall, I wasn’t so much involved. In fact, I think I made a little realization. Animated movies don’t work very well for me when they have people as the central characters. When it’s animals, or monsters, or a robot, the animation brings human-like qualities to something non-human. When humans are the main focus, the animation can actually take away some of that humanity, making me feel more detached from their predicament.
Also, that kid annoyed me.
All that being said, it is a lovely movie to look at, and it has a nice message about pursuing your dreams no matter where and when you are at in your life. Plus, it has some surprisingly adult themes about life, death, and love.
Oh, and there’s a big, funny bird too.
It’s never too late to have a grand adventure.
10 – 1.7 because I just didn’t feel all that emotionally involved in it – .5 for that annoying kid + .1 for that photo album scene = 7.9