This week "He said - She said" discusses the latest animate film from Disney and Pixar, Up. Opening Friday, May 29, the film stars the voice of Ed Asner as a man who flies to South America by attaching helium balloons to his house. On his journey he meets some interesting characters; humans, animals - and a mix of the two. As always, we recommend seeing the film before reading, because we're talking ALL aspects of the film including plot spoilers. He said:
I am writing this immediately after having left the screening, in hopes of justifying my current emotions that are more than just Up. This movie has me fuming, oozing, EXPLODING with joy, and not just because it is as successful as Wall-E. The animation world's cupid, Pixar, has sharpened another arrow and fired it straight into my heart, with a movie that recalls the simplicity of fares like Cars but has the same loveliness of the company's so-called "best" film (Wall-E). In fact, this could be argued as one of Pixar's more "childish" movies, with its basic story and abundance of universal cuteness. But as Pixar nearly always does, this movie refrains for just settling with the cushions of cuddly creatures and one heck of an imagination. It yearns to explore so much more, especially about love. These days, Pixar may be the only true storytellers of that little idea called love.
Remember those moments in Wall-E where the film's visual beauty and gargantuan sweetness had us debating whether or not we should cry during a movie supposedly "made for kids"? Those feelings are here again, and they're just as magnificent. If Wall-E didn't already make it obvious, it is now even easier to say that nuclear armistice isn't going to save the world from doom - Pixar will.
Wow, and I thought that I liked Up. I'm surprised you found it childish though, I thought it was very adult. The story of Carl Fredricksen (Asner) who has lost his wife and his place in the world with age, being thrown out by developpers and at loose end without the woman he spent his life with. Then to meet and almost be killed by his childhood hero, those are impressive themes to deal with in a kid's movie. But Pixar handled them so well, the opening montage was really beautiful and went a long way toward keeping me on his side even when Carl made some poor decisions. It helped that he was loved by Russell, Dug and Kevin. Can I just mention how much I loved Dug and Kevin? Dug for his fabulous doggie syntax and Kevin for his weird, expressionless bird face and bizarre mannerisms. How much do I want a talking dog collar?
You are right, there are some very adult elements to this movie. There's even a few spots of blood every now and then, which seems a bit unusual for a Pixar movie. But more so than other animated movies, this one still had the simple elements of kids movies - expressive, cute animals and even human beings that are kind of fuzzily endearing in their own way. But the usage of the dog collar reminded me heavily of Disney's Homeward Bound films, which brought me to the feeling that this was going to be a bit light (despite having the "dark" plot elements you mentioned earlier). The big swarm of dogs was also reminiscent of the pooch colony in Beverly Hills Chihuahua, also a Disney film. Not bashing the greatness of Dug or any of his fellow dogmates, but it was character choices like those that made the age minimum for the film even lower. But I guess this is good news, since we probably loved Dug and Kevin as much as any kid would. It seems like we both agree this was a great film. So let's try to make this a bit more interesting. I am going to say that this film will do great in the box office, but will not have the same overall effect as Wall-E did. However, I am going to say this is probably in the top three of films made by Pixar. Well, maybe five. After all, there's Ratatouille, Toy Story, Monsters. IncWall-E to be reckoned with. What do you think? Does this stand up there with the best of Pixar, or recent animation movies in general?
Before you discount Up at the boxoffice, remember it's Pixar's first 3D film. I'd be surprised if that doesn't help it make a few extra million. Granted, a Pixar film will do great anyway, but I'm wagering this will help. I think it can beat Wall-E's take. Remember last year when people were wondering how a movie about a robot on a post-apocalyptic wasteland would do? At this point I don't underestimate Pixar. As far as how it stacks up, I would easily say this is one of my favorite Pixar films. I didn't love Toy Story as much as you apparently, it's good but I think later films like Wall-E and Ratatouille have surpassed it. But Pixar is still the king of animation as far as I'm concerned. Dreamworks films almost always disappoint me, I know a lot of people really enjoyed Kung Fu Panda but I found it kind of boring. Laika, who recently released Coraline could become a factor at some point, but I'll have to see more from them first. Blue Sky started out great with Ice Age, but the sequel, as well as Robots were pretty disappointing. I'm not saying Pixar can't do wrong, I'm not a big fan of Cars, but their track record is totally impressive.
Wow, I nearly forgot about Blue Sky. But I guess that's what happens when you deal with demigods like Pixar, and sometimes donkeys like Dreamworks and Blue Sky. As much as films like Kung Fu Panda and Robots meet the requirements of entertainment (with a fun cast and premise intact), it seems like Pixar is the one force that is really towering above the rest. And they will be for sometime, until Dreamworks stops making Shrek sequels, or until Pixar makes another film like CarsCoraline, which I will try to catch as soon as it comes on to DVD (which I think we both agree is not that good). But you have also reminded me of that supposedly great film.
This has clearly been a less confrontational episode of "He said, She said," but let that not reflect on our strong enthusiasm for this film. Megan and I both agree that Up is definitely the way to go as far as latest releases - especially those that are animated. Whether this will match Pixar's bests remains to be seen - by you guys. Either way, Pixar has rewarded any aged human beings with a very funny and warming story that is sure to, (once again), excite us and move us in ways only great movies can.