Monday, June 8, 2009

Fed UP

For my youngest daughter's 6th birthday I decided she was receiving enough plastic-junk-made-by-slave-children-around-the-world and instead bought her tickets to see UP! in 3-D. We'd been fed the previews for the past few months, those previews featuring the house floating away under a Guinness-sized cluster of balloons and an endearing, chubby boy scout. Ah-ha, I thought, this movie combines all the favorite balloon memories from my childhood, from CURIOUS GEORGE to that French movie THE RED BALLOON which we had to watch at school to Nena's hit '80s song 99 LUFTBALLONS, all rolled up with the chubby boy scout. There was no need to read reviews online--it was Pixar. At the best it could be NEMO, and at the worst--well, it couldn't be as bad as CARS.

And it wasn't a bad movie. It just couldn't decide what it was, and ended up being something like THE NOTEBOOK crossed with THE BUCKET LIST crossed with SILAS MARNER, with some snarling dogs and a Charles-Lindbergh-gone-nutty thrown in. Unlike most other Pixar films, I can't see it moving any merchandise. My daughter ended up on my lap, hiding her head ineffectively (because of the Buddy-Hollyesque 3-D glasses) in my arm, freaked out by the dogs. Nor did it even need to be in 3-D, since there was no "breaking the barrier" stuff, and it was stinking TWO HOURS LONG. Even Buddy Holly would've gotten a headache from wearing the glasses that long.

My point isn't to rail about the movie, actually, which I would give a B. It's to note once again, for all of us, that you can't judge a book by its cover (or back copy) or a movie by its preview. But there's no use in saying it because we all do it and will do it again. I'd love to hear from anyone who has been hideously misled or pleasantly surprised by any books or movies recently, based on what they thought it would be about.

As for my daughter, when we were walking out, her trauma over, she said, "I hated my birthday present." Yeah, well at least I didn't have to break it out of one of those impossible plastic packages, undo three million industrial twist-ties to pry it loose, and then spend the next six months stepping on itty bitty pieces from it.

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