Someone had their thinking cap on when they chose 'Up' as the opening film for this year's Cannes Film Festival, notching up a couple of firsts in the process. Pixar's tenth film became not only the first animated but also the first 3D film to open the prestigious event and has been charming the hearts and eyes of viewers ever since.
The creators of 'Toy Story' and 'Finding Nemo' have created their least likely, most likeable protagonists to date. Boy scoutish nine-year-old Russell is the 'Denis the Menace' to Carl Fredricksen's 78-year-old George Wilson, and ends up being a stowaway when the balloon maker sets sail in his house to South America. It’s a balloon adventure the likes of which Richard Branson could only dream of. The two unwittingly assist each other in the voyage, where they both discover the values of friendship, family and home.
Renowned for spellbinding, original stories, told with smile inducing precision, Pixar opens 'Up' with a heartwarming story of true love. This dialogue-sparse, emotionally rich four-minute scene is one of those rare cinematic sequences which stay with you long after the film ends. It’s a standard that the film struggles but still tries to maintain for the remainder of the running time.
'Up' has everything you could hope for in an animated family film; a great script littered with wonderful throwaway lines, perfect comedy timing, action, stunning CGI plus an emotional hook to keep the adults glued too. This timeless tale isn't afraid to broach real-life issues of loss, parental neglect or death, seen mainly through the eyes of Mr Fredricksen's character (brought to life thanks to the skill of Edward Asner).
What makes 'Up' is Pixar's blend of hilarity, sweetness and the special life-affirming quality that only the company can provide. Disney's 'The Princess and the Frog' and Wes Anderson's 'Fantastic Mr Fox' will have to deliver some magic in order to steal the animated film Oscar next March.