Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This once again demonstrates the genius of Pixar. The studio truly regards animation as a storytelling device, and that is frankly what makes the guys at Pixar so damn good. Not the fact that they have such amazing digital technology to bring everything to life, but the fact that they represent some of the best storytelling in film. Yes, animation is not live-action and therefore what you are looking at is only a depiction of the corporeal form, and yet Pixar's animated movies often have more characterization and substance then their more "real" competitors at the box office. The story of Up, directed by Pete Doctor, follows Carl Frederickson (Ed Asner), a Spencer Tracy lookalike whose adventurous wife died earlier in their marriage leaving Carl to be quite the lonely tenant of his old fashioned house that is becoming surrounded by skyscrapers. Their marriage is represented by a wordless montage which I only point out because it is frankly the most emotional and well written part of the film. Carl then one day decides to strap a bunch of balloons to his house and fly off on an adventure (of course Carl decides to bring his house with him, he is the type to be afraid of "the new" without something from "the old"). Unfortunately, a fat boy scout named Russell (Jordan Nagal) was standing on Carl's porch during take-off and the two find themselves as companions on the trip. On the trip they encounter some very wild and humorous animals over in South America such as Dug the Dog or Kevin the bird. In a sense, Carl needs Russell as a solution to the loneliness that he feels in his life and Russell needs Carl to learn that some of the best experiences that one can have in life are accessible right in your own backyard (and it quite literally is a backyard in Carl's case). That is the beauty of Pixar, they bring about these deep adult messages in a story that is not just meant for kids (where many animated companies screw up by being too child-friendly) but a story that is for all ages, even if you are a senior citizen like Mr. Frederickson.

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