UP: Adventure is Out There!

What is it exactly about Pixar movies that can leave me crying like a baby?

I’m no stranger to tears in the cinema.  It would be more prudent to count the movies that I haven’t cried in, rather than the other way around.  I cry in sad movies.  I cry during happy endings.  I’m a big fat sap with over-active tear ducts.

Pixar’s UP starts with a young bespectacled boy who wants nothing more from life than to emulate his greatest hero: Charles Muntz, adventurer extraordinaire!  Playing in the street one day, he stumbles across Ellie, the robust extrovert girl of his dreams.

Cue tear-jerking montage of Carl and Ellie pursing all of their dreams save their greatest: to follow in the footsteps of their mutual hero, and visit South America.

It is the way of things that although they planned to make it one day, life kept getting in the way; and in the end, Ellie passes away and leaves Carl, alone and unfulfilled.

I’ll leave you to discover what happened to Carl after he hooks his house to a mass of helium-filled balloons, and takes off on his greatest adventure.

I saw UP in 3D, and I have to say that I’m incredibly impressed by the quality of 3D nowadays.  Thanks to Pixar’s spectacular graphics, the inherent 3D-ness of the characters is already excellent, and the actual 3D effects are applied sparingly, and are all the better for it.

The 3D does not POP out of the screen at you every second of the movie, and I think that – in comparison the a movie such as Bolt – it’s a better way to go about it.  Maybe it was just the novelty (Bolt is, I think, the first 3D feature film I’d seen), but the 3D was a little distracting when it was going on all the time.  In hindsight, Coraline is the same: 3D used to great and sparing effect.

If the image is already “in” 3D (either stop-motion animation like Coraline, or excellent animation like everything Pixar does), then the use of depth is not necessary in every moment of every scene.

All up, the story is amazing.  Fun, moving, squirrel!


and visually stunning.  The colours are vibrant, and the story artfully crafted.  I don’t think I could recommend this movie highly enough.

I’d like to finish with a word on Partly Cloudy, the short animation before the movie started.  While I love Pixar Animation Studios to itty bitty little bits, the shorts at the start of each movie just endear them to me even more, if that were possible.  My personal favourite is Lifted (from Ratatouille – which I am amazed to say, I can spell on the first attempt without assistance!), closely followed by For the Birds (from Monsters, Inc.), which I think was the “original” Pixar short, and introduced us to Pixar shorts, won many awards, and it single-handedly responsible for their being a category for short animations in the Oscars.  But, I digress, as usual.

Partly Cloudy – a somewhat unfortunate choice in respect to the fact that the previews featured a 3D trailer for Sony Productions Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – is the story of the “clouds” that produce babies, which the storks then carry away in their familiar white bundles to mothers and fathers of all species.

Yeah.  I cried during the short.  The movie hadn’t even started yet!  I couldn’t help it!  I just felt so bad for the poor cloud relegated to producing the babies of the “less desireable” creatures of the world.

— I confess I’ve somewhat soured on Wall-E after a rather unpleasant discussion with a friend, but UP could certainly give that a run for its money. 6 stars, without a doubt.

A Confession: I’m afraid. I’m a huge fan of Pixar movies. From the utterly huggable Sulley of Monster’s, Inc to the deeply moving UP, I have never failed to be impressed, moved, and overjoyed by Pixar movies.  The amazing combination of story, animation, attention to detail, and sheer LOVE crafted into every single movie is jaw-droppingly amazing. I fear the day that the last Pixar movie does not improve on the last.  I never want that day to come.


~ by ghostwolfe on September 11, 2009.

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