Saturday, 10 October 2009
I don't cry at movies. I'm as capable of emotional nuance as the next guy, and I'm not that hard to be affected, but drawing tears from me is like drawing blood from stone. Not gonna happen. But Up came fucking close. I'm by a whisker too much of a man, but it was down to the wire. The montage at the beginning of this film, is so exquisitely put together and devastating yet beautiful and all the superlatives in the world wouldn't sell it for what it is. The best single sequence of film in recent memory might be a bit strong, but not as strong as you'd think. Fuck that was affecting. You have to kick yourself to remember that your in a kids film. But that's what Pixar do, and have done so well with nearly every movie they make. That's what makes them the most consistent producer of great movies going. They value visual splendor, to be sure, but they also value bringing a genuine humanity, often in anthropomorphic form, and a genuineness to their story-telling. Not a hop-scotch of pop culture references and sight gags like every other animated movie from any other studio right now. They draw both pathos and humor from character and the films are all the better for it.
Up tells the story of octogenarian Carl Fredericksen, who on the back of his wife's death and the prospect of losing his house, has a moment of end of life insanity and Fitzcarraldo style (in metaphor), flies his house to South America, with the aid of about 1000 balloons he's attached to the roof. Only thing is he's inadvertently hijacked boy scout Russell, and thus the two of them share some jungle set adventure. Up isn't Pixar's best film I don't think, aside from the stellar opening, but Carl may be the strongest character they've ever created. There's something so much more powerful about emotion coming from someone so reluctant to give it, thus making Carl's journey the most impactful and the most humanly realistic this supposed kids studio has ever given us. The film also may be the most visually stunning offering Pixar has given us and the jungle and airborne scenery looks a treat. Narratively, it gets a bit caught up in cutesy animals about half way through and perhaps the villain is a bit tacked on, and as film perhaps it doesn't come together as well as Wall-E or Ratatouille but for the first half hour alone it is certainly something to see.
Its a shame it remembered its intended audience after the opening, because for twenty minutes I thought I was watching the best film I was going to see all year, but that was not to be. Its still a stellar movie though and more proof that Pixar can not be topped.