Page 22 THE VILLADOM TIMES II, III & IV • June 10, 2009 New Walt Disney adventure film has heart by Dennis Seuling This is the time of year that the Hollywood studios unleash a large number of animated movies to capitalize on that massive audience known as kids on summer vacation. “Up,” from Disney/Pixar, is an animated movie that takes great care to establish characters that have depth and do not just spew wisecracks and one-liners. “Up” has plenty of humorous moments, but they are part of the narrative and they derive from folks who abandon loneliness for a risky feat to pursue a long-held dream. In a wonderful montage sequence that opens the film, the audience meets Carl and Ellie, two kids enamored of far-off lands, exotic adventures, and heroic explorers. Ellie, who never stops talking, is the antithesis of Carl, a shy kid dazzled by her enthusiasm. Down the road, Carl becomes a balloon vendor, and he and Ellie marry. Though they save for a trip to Paradise Falls in South America, the money is always needed for some immediate emergency. Time passes, and they grow into old age with their dream adventure never taken. Eventually, Carl becomes a widower, living alone in the same house. Surrounded by high-rise apartment building construction, he has refused repeated offers to sell. An altercation with the construction foreman brings Carl to court. When his future seems to point to a retirement home, Carl takes action, attaching hundreds of helium-filled balloons to the house, causing it to rip away from its foundation. He is finally going to take that trip to Paradise Falls in a unique form of transporta- Russell and Carl guide Carl’s house toward Paradise Falls in the Disney/Pixar film ‘Up.’ tion. The requisite sidekick is a young boy, Russell, who is out to win a merit badge for helping the elderly. The villain, Kevin, has a weakness for chocolate bars. The film is shown in some theaters in 3-D. For a change, the 3-D is used to enhance and enrich the story – not just as a gimmick. Director Pete Docter incorporates the technique subtly. In fact, this is probably the first film since Alfred Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder” to use 3-D sensibly. Saddle River Youth Theater will present “Beauty and the Beast” at Highlands Regional Playhouse in Allendale, for eight performances between June 12 and 20. This musical production is the culmination of nearly thee months of instruction and rehearsals for the musical theater students, who range in age from six to 16. The energetic performances, enhanced by colorful costumes and a spectacular set, are appropriate for audiences of every age. Performances will take place at Highlands Regional Playhouse, located on the grounds of Archer United Methodist Church, at the intersection of 37 East Allendale Avenue and Franklin Turnpike in Allendale. Remaining available show dates and times are: Friday, June 12 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 13 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, June 14 at 2:30 p.m.; Wednesday, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to be performed The imagery in “Up” is breathtaking. The house, soaring aloft with multicolored balloons its only fuel, is often exhilarating. Later, when Carl encounters a world-famous adventurer he and Ellie revered when they were kids, a gigantic dirigible takes the spotlight in a dazzling series of sequences. Carl, voiced by Ed Asner, has a square face, complemented by square-rimmed glasses and a shock of white hair. His look is reminiscent of the older Spencer Tracy. Carl uses a walker, but manages to have it double as a defense device and life saver as needed. Other voice talents are provided by Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger, and Bob Peterson. I was not the only adult in the audience unaccompanied by a child, and the kids in attendance were watching with rapt attention. The film captivates both young and old. It has a sweep, a joy, and a wonderful message about adventures being those you create, not necessarily those you crave. The care taken in the script is apparent throughout, though a pack of talking dogs and a Roadrunner-inspired bird are nods to more traditional cartoon characters. Carl, however, is the big surprise. Older characters typically are either supporting players in animated films or villains. We come to care about Carl, know his life’s story, and understand his eccentric plan to fly to a distant land rather than live out his years in an institution. “Up” has its share of sentiment, but it never goes overboard or becomes preachy, and that is due to its ability to mix pathos with fun. Who wouldn’t want to take a trip like Carl’s? Rated PG, “Up” is a superbly crafted film. This is a great choice for the kids or grandkids, and a pleasant treat for adults. June 17 and Friday, June 19 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, June 20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 each and all seating is assigned, so advanced reservation is recommended, available remaining tickets will be sold at the door 20 minutes prior to show time. Tickets may be reserved by calling the box office. Call (201) 825-8805; voicemail messages will be returned. Saddle River Youth Theater, founded in 1996, has been an integral part of youth theater education and production in Bergen County, for 13 years. As a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization, Saddle River Youth Theater has recently been awarded a 2009-10 Excellence Award from The Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. 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