It is difficult to fathom how a company like Pixar can maintain such a high quality with each new film (we’ll ignore Cars). Apart from the obvious technological improvements with each new release, the team manage to come up with more and more unique stories each year. In recent years the team has been moving away from more obvious children film set-ups like “What if toys/insects/cars could talk?” to slightly more obscure plots such as “What if the last robot on Earth had to pull an Al Gore and show everybody the errors of their environmental ways?”
Up, directed by the creator of underrated Monsters Inc, is arguably the most bizarre addition to the Pixar library. We follow Carl Frederickson, a grouchy 70-something-year-old man who decides to fulfil a life-long ambition of travelling to South America. To accomplish this he releases thousands of balloons from his chimney and, paired reluctantly with a seven year old Boy Scout named Russell, goes on an epic quest meeting a strange bird and talking dogs.
If you upset easily, you may want to take note that the opening ten minutes had grown men in tears awkwardly trying to dry their eyes behind their 3D glasses. While Up is a children’s film at heart there are some very serious themes dealt with, which may go over baby’s head but will hit his parents like a ton of bricks. It’s this switch back and forth from deadly serious to absolutely hilarious that should be commended, as the film avoids talking down to kids – but for all its serious foundation, UP is still a Pixar-patented comedy adventure with the hilarious dynamic of Russell and Carl. This genius combination provides plenty of laughs throughout their jungle adventure.
Up is also the stage to show off Pixar’s step into the world of 3D glasses. In all honesty, it seems a bit unnecessary. The colourful world that they’ve produced is amazing, and it is cool to be able to see it in perspective, but the additional money it will set you back just isn’t worth it. All in all, the characters may not be as memorable as those in other Pixar releases but the story will be difficult to forget.
In a nutshell: A spectacular and unexpectedly thought provoking addition to the stellar Pixar collection
Released: 16th October
Stars: Christopher Plummer, Delroy Lindo, Edward Asner
Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson