Up : 5 of 5

Up (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + BD Live) [Blu-ray]This Pixar masterpiece was one of the first Blu-ray discs I bought after I got my player, and I finally took the time to fully enjoy it last weekend! Since I live for behind-the-scenes information, especially when it comes to animated films, I watched all the bonus materials first, starting with the series of short documentaries on the second disc of the set. Directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson (who I discovered is the voice of Dug the dog!) are really articulate about what they were trying to say with the story of Up, arguably one of the most original and emotional plots ever animated, so I loved listening to them talk about the development of the film. There are segments about the "shape vocabulary" of the characters, the study of dog behavior and movement, voice direction (which created such authentic acting for Russell), and the incredible opening montage, which was kept silent to invoke the feel of Super-8 home movies. The longest feature is about the filmmakers' trip to South America to climb a tapui (the flat-top mountains jutting out from the jungle), and I was amazed at both the adventure of the trip as well as Pixar's realization that this type of research helps make a better movie. The film itself (which looks spectacular on Blu-ray, of course) has a Cine-Explore option (which reminded me of a scaled-down version of Watchmen's Maximum Movie Mode) that combines the audio commentary with picture-in-picture paintings, sketches, storyboards, and even video footage. It's wonderful to view these items in context (such as photos of plants in South America during the scene of the film they inspired), although it would have been nice to have still galleries available (something I was surprised to see missing). Pixar usually includes a new short on their releases, and this time it's Dug's Special Mission, which tells the story of events that occurred just before he meets Carl and Russell in the movie. It's a funny short, but not too amazing at barely over four minutes long. There's a really complex game as well, which shows off the capability of Blu-ray in a detailed geography quiz, but I only played it for a little while since I absolutely suck at the subject! It was a total joy to experience Up again, and I loved crying about the "Ellie badge" and noticing new details (like all the dogs in the audience during Russell's ceremony). I'm happy this beautiful film is on my shelf waiting to be watched again!