Up: MSN Review
From toys to superheroes, from ants to monsters, from the bottom of the ocean to the twinkling reaches of outer space, the people at Pixar have blown our minds. But what direction is left for them? Up answers that question inside its first 15 minutes.
Jun 03 2009
When Pixar’s 10th ‘toon debuted at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival – the toughest crowd on the planet – it took roughly that amount of time for the world’s most hardened film critics to start sobbing like babies. Why? Because Up tiptoes into deeper, more adult emotional territory than Pixar have ever ventured before.
Unlike Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and WALL-E – which all teased with daring moments of tragedy and romance – Up doesn’t smuggle its message inside a fish, a robot or a superman. It’s a film about a little boy. He’s dorky, he dreams of adventure and he meets a little girl who’s just like him. Then it happens: the most heartbreaking passing-of-time montage you’ll ever see speeds us through the next six decades of their lives together. Until we find Carl again, 78-year-old, a widower, childless, sitting alone on his porch. Life has just flown by.
Sounds a little heavy for a Pixar flick? Take another look at that title. Realising that time has nearly run out, Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner) does something he should have done decades ago. He takes off for the wilds of South America – by tying thousands of balloons to his house and lifting off into the clouds.
And up, up, up we go into a flight of outlandish fantasy as Carl sets off on the adventure of a lifetime. This is Pixar’s most outlandish film yet: an eight-year-old stowaway explorer, talking attack-dogs and a villainous mad-genius adventurer are all looped into the story. But however funny (very) and smart (very) Up becomes, Pixar keeps everything anchored to very real human emotion. One second you’re laughing at a giant rainbow-coloured bird (called Kevin). The next second you’re welling up at the regret etched into an old man’s face (the animation is flat-out lovely).
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