The only Way is Up!*

*Anyone remember that pop song from the 1980’s? I do, I even taped it to cassette as a kid!

In any case, up seems to be the only direction in which Pixar goes with their movies. Up as in upping the quality, up as in growing their revenue, and up in making more people happy. Yes, we’re discussing Up, the movie, here. I went out and saw it yesterday after once more a long and hectic working day (I really hate it, when client requests screw up my bi-weekly routine at my hairdresser’s). I had been tired and struggled not to fall asleep before, but once the good stuff began, that all was gone.

The first good thing was the short that ran up front of the main feature. With Partly Cloudy they actually managed to come up with an original story. Not that Presto (with Wall•E) and a few others were actually bad, they just weren’t as good as that one. This is more my kind of short that has this somewhat crooked humor attached of it instead of just being an appendix to another movie.

The main movie was just wonderful. I really loved every bit of it. Even the "annoying kid" (Russel) wasn’t that annoying at all once you understood his motivations. It’s particularly amazing how they managed to create a story that would have worked just as well in a non-CG, conventionally filmed piece. Starting with the retrospective on Carl‘s and Ellie‘s married live, that was deeply touching, to the relation between Carl and Russel in the later parts of the movie, everything made perfect sense. I also liked, how the movie was really taking a stab at some realworld stuff like hero worship, picture postcard motives and a few other things.

From the technical side, there were a few scenes where I thought the subsurface scattering in the skin was a bit too excessive, but overall there was a good presentation of the human characters, even if stylized of course. On the other hand, the dogs that appear in the film looked a bit too real for my taste and didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the design. In contrast to Wall•E‘s stylized colors, this one uses a far more varied palette which is used to good effect to associate certain things with Carl‘s life and specific environments. Regarding those, I found it a bit odd that, while a big part plays in the jungle, not a single other animal was to be seen except for the big mythical rainbow bird. Not butterflies, not other birds, note apes, not snakes, not bats. The forest was amazingly lifeless, which would be one of my criticisms with the movie, though still small. I didn’t see the movie in 3D, but given its other qualities, I doubt it would add anything meaningful to an already excellent piece of filmmaking.

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