Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Disney-Pixar's Up: they keep on surprising me


Back in 1995, I went to the cinema and bought a ticket to see the first Pixar movie: Toy story. Since then, Pixar movies have been praised by both critics and audience. Up is no exception and, although critics were skeptical about how the movie, featuring as main character a 78 year-old man (or so), would be able to entertain children, it's been a success since its release.

A bit of introduction: I think Pixar has really been innovative under many points of view, both technological and artistic. Toy story was a milestone in this genre: since its release the way animated movies are done changed forever. I think creativity and intuition are the reason why some movies by Pixas raised so many concerns before their release. Think of Ratatouille (winner of the Best animated picture Oscar): it's a story about a rat in a kitchen "who" dreams to become a cook. Or think of Wall-E: no dialogue for almost half the movie. Obviously there were concerns about such a formula to entertain an audience composed mainly by kids. Another box office success and another Oscar. And I must admit that I liked Wall-E. Big time. Should I find another movie with an equal ratio of entertainment over silence, I'd only think about Kubrick's 2001, A space odessy.

With Up, it's the turn of an octuagenary, former balloon seller, widower, who's trying to fullfil his last wish, a dream he shared with his wife since he was a kid. Another one of the bets won by Pixar. The movie begins with sort of an Overture, ended by a funny sequence a tempo with the most famous aria (an habanera) of Bizet's Carmen: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle. This part introduces the beholder into the life of the main character, Carl, since he first met his would-be wife up to his present life as widower. This flashback is incredibly emotional: since the sweetness of Carl life as a child, the warmth of its wedding life, and the tenderness of the remembrance and the solitude. This first part, moreover, is almost dialogue-less and recalls the first part of Wall-E, although much shorter.

The rest of the movie is the story of how Carl struggles to fullfil their last and only dream. Obviously Carl's the antipode of the super hero: it's an old man with his wisdom and physical limitations. This second part is much more conventional than the first. Indeed, I think there's an abyss between the two and although the movie is wonderfully rendered, there are some really impressing sequences and a bunch of funny characters, the second part never hits any peak as emotional as the first part achieves.

I think the story might seem a bit conventional, even weak sometimes. Don't forget that it's Disney targetting a young audience. Moreover, after seeing so many hypnotizing (the ancient greek way: zzz...) super heroes movies, I liked this one where so many roles are shifted. It's not a child but an old man who pursuits its dream. There are no fairies, but a child with familty problems. Carl hasn't got any super power. Carl's a hero his way. A hero as a hero could only be in children' fantasies. And his strength finds its roots in the past, when he was a child. In the world where everything's possible. Until you've grown up.

P.S.: I haven't seen the 3D version. Yes, yes, I know. It's such a nonsense, isn't it? But hey, the ticket costed 7.5 Eur and the "3D supplement" costed an additional 3.5 bucks. Each! A robbery.

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