Pixar outdoes itself with the endearing, entertaining Up
Featuring the voices of Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, and Jordan Nagai. Rated G.
A 3-D animated feature from the folks at Disney and Pixar, Up is about finding deeper meaning in life and continuing to question your own motives, even when they seem to be working for you.
Watch the trailer for Up.
It centres on crusty, 78-year-old Carl (voiced by Ed Asner, also 78), a retired balloon salesman who has survived the death of his childless wife—their lifelong love story is told in a heartbreaking five-minute preamble—only to turn their two-storey home into a cozy mausoleum.
Now that urban developers are closing in, Carl decides to take that South American vacation the couple had always planned. And he’ll get there in the only vehicle available: his house, lifted by about 10,000 balloons.
He actually knows how to steer the thing, and is partway to Venezuela before he notices that a pesky neighbour kid named Russell (Jordan Nagai) is on the porch, still working on getting his Boy Scoutish badge for “assisting the elderly”. The roly-poly boy knows nothin’ about nothin’, but he does manage to help the old guy get into even more trouble when they arrive at Paradise Falls, a place (like the movie) that is equal parts Flash Gordon, Chuck Jones, and The Lost World.
There are no dinos around, but the spooky place offers one magical bird, a pack of talking dogs, and an older and even crankier adventurer (Christopher Plummer) who has taken scientific exploration to a fascistic degree.
Two of the dog characters are voiced by WALL-E writer Bob Peterson, who wrote the script here and codirected with Pete Docter (he also helmed Monsters, Inc.). The Pixar boys have outdone themselves with a subtle palette and startling inventiveness.
There's much to make you laugh and cry, but the image that lingers is that of a gentle, bewildered man carrying his past overhead like a multicoloured cloud on a leash.