Up in 3D (PG)
The promotional hype surrounding Up gave us all the impression that Pixar had made a nice family movie about an elderly man who recaptures his youth through a series of funny misadventures with nice bright colours and fast-paced action, with a hint of the usual quirky Pixar humour. Well I know you need to sell things but Up is so, so much more than your average slick animated feature. Up is one of the funniest and quirkiest Pixar films but it also packs a lot of emotional punch and maturity that proves that once again they have raised the bar of excellence that, it seems, only Pixar themselves can beat.
Up follows the story of Carl Frederickson who from an early age was obsessed with adventure and becoming an explorer like his hero Charles Muntz, as does a certain young lady named Ellie. The first ten minutes of the film follows the lives of Ellie and Carl from when they are little kids, to their marriage, their ups and downs, and then finally to Ellie’s last breath. Neither Ellie nor Carl’s dreams of a life of exploration are realised and Carl, now a retired balloon salesman, becomes obsessed with keeping her memory alive by preserving their multi-coloured house and possessions. When a large, monotonous construction company starts bulldozing the area to build new skyscrapers Frederickson takes his stand to protect his home too far and is faced with eviction. Knowing that it’s now or never, he decides to live he and his wife’s life-long ambition to somehow get the little home they’ve spent all their years in to a place called ‘Paradise Falls’ in South America. He finds all the balloons he can and in a last act of defiance flies off in the home he and his wife loved to the place they always dreamed of living.
I regard the first ten minutes of Up to have one of the most immaculately woven openings to a film I have ever seen. It’s just so beautifully told, it pulls some emotional punches that are sure to bring on the tears, shows quick wit and perfect visual humour. The rest of film remains in the same vein with the action keeping a nice pace and the gags are perfectly timed in a very Monsters Inc fashion (Indeed it’s the same director, Pete Docter). Some gags, like the dogs with the talking collars, are just typical Pixar gold and guaranteed to get laughs from kids and adults alike. It is definitely more grown up than some of its’ predecessors and has some tragic moments in it that you wouldn’t usually attribute to Pixar films, but nonetheless allows great character development and gives a more human feel to the film. Pixar have got the balance just right here and I believe Up easily ranks highly as one of the best Pixars, with the likes of Toy Story and Monsters Inc. It is also so utterly fantastical that it can easily be compared to the likes of Alice in Wonderland or Mary Poppins and seems to have the same kind of originality, magical feel and quirkiness to it that the classics have. Pixar make fairytales and I’m sure these films will be the Mary Poppins’ or Snow White’s of the future, and rightly so.
Also don’t worry about whether to see it 3-D or not as it makes no difference whatsoever. Up fails to capitalise on the use of 3-D but it doesn’t really need to as it will look stunning anyway and it’s not important to any part of the film so if you’re saving your pennies go and see the 2-D version.
I urge you to see this while you can, and judging by the early ticket sales I think you’ll have plenty of time. I’m now wondering what they have in store for Toy Story 3 because if Up and Wall-E are anything to go by Pixar really can’t go wrong.