Pixar’s latest a “tearjerker” and a “gamble?”

Posted by · 9:32 am · February 12th, 2009

That’s what this Anthony Breznican USA Today story suggests of Pete Docter’s upcoming “Up.”  Just reading through the brief recap of a footage screening, it seems to me “WALL-E” might not be the Pixar high-mark after all (not that it is for me to begin with, mind you, but it certainly is for the great majority of film fans).  I have to say, it seems to be a story that could have a lot of resonance within the zeitgeist.  After all, who doesn’t want to get the hell away from everything after the last eight years?

Here’s a taste:

Instead of Clint Eastwood clashing with street gangs, the old-timer in this story (voiced by Ed Asner) decides to get off his own lawn, tying thousands of balloons to his little wooden house to float away from his troubles.

Up opens May 29, and early footage reveals a gamble from the makers of Cars and Toy Story: a plunge into tearjerker territory. The first third of the movie establishes the main character, Carl, as a lost and angry soul after a happy, mostly quiet life with his childhood sweetheart, Ellie.

The montage of their marriage touches on themes rarely seen in bedtime storybooks: romance, financial hardship, a lost pregnancy, loneliness and the blink-of-an-eye passage from childhood to wrinkles.

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14 responses so far

  • 1 2-12-2009 at 10:07 am

    Zac said...

    WALL-E isn’t the high mark for Pixar for me either ; it’s up there, but the top would be The Incredibles.

    I haven’t been disappointed by a Pixar movie yet, and from the looks of the trailers, I don’t see it happening this year.

    Hard to believe Toy Story was almost 15 years ago. Man, time flies.

  • 2 2-12-2009 at 11:52 am

    Pauley said...

    That trailer made me rofl!

    “Please let me in Mr Frederichson?”


    Looks more my cup of tea than Wall-E

  • 3 2-12-2009 at 12:00 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    An animated film that deals with humanistic issues such as the loss of children, financial crisis, and loss of a loved one is rather interesting. It would be great to see this as a real break through in animated story telling where they can tell intimate, sad, realistic stories on a colorful and epic scope. I have high hopes.

  • 4 2-12-2009 at 12:05 pm

    Matthew said...

    I’ve seen that footage, and he’s dead on: there’s a montage that briefly shows clips of the sadness that comes with infertility/miscarriage, dashed hopes and dreams, and then carrying on to the death of a loved one. It’s heartbreaking, beautiful stuff. Really impressive work from Docter, director of the highly underrated Monsters, Inc.

  • 5 2-12-2009 at 12:41 pm

    mike said...

    I saw the footage at NYCC, it was great but different, especially after Wall-E.

    I think people will like it but, it is different than how people now perceive Pixar now (after Wall-E). It will probably do better than Wall-E since just watching it will have kids loving it (especially some characters that show up). It is more kid friendly but the message is there and not as in your face as some felt Wall-E was. Which I think is Pixar’s strength.

    I may just be rambling here though and what I wrote may not make sense.

  • 6 2-12-2009 at 2:47 pm

    Ben said...

    Didn’t I hear widely-read people talk about how Wall-E was going to bomb because of the lack of dialogue?

  • 7 2-12-2009 at 2:55 pm

    Jake said...

    Sounds like it’ll be a great film. Can’t wait.

  • 8 2-12-2009 at 6:12 pm

    Rafael said...

    IВґm looking foward to it!

  • 9 2-12-2009 at 6:44 pm

    Cinnamon Life said...

    While I love WALL-E, I certainly hope it isn’t the Pixar high mark. If WALL-E is the high mark, then that would mean that from now on, all Pixar movies will get progressively worse. I would hate to think I’ve seen the limit of what Pixar can create.

  • 10 2-12-2009 at 6:49 pm

    Josh said...

    Cannot wait for this movie. Even if I wasn’t psyched for the entire film, any Pixar movie in 3-D has to be amazing to look at.

  • 11 2-12-2009 at 7:27 pm

    junjun said...

    If there’s really one thing you can count on every year, it’s Pixar to deliver. I like how they can go from conventional bread ‘n’ butter to ‘completely way out there’ films. Up! is definitely on my short list of films to see this summer.

  • 12 2-12-2009 at 10:41 pm

    PJ said...

    I’ve learned to simply trust Pixar’s ability to make a great film; I was initially put off by the concepts of “Cars” and “WALL-E”, but they turned out to be wonderful, particularly the latter, so I’m eagerly anticipating “Up”. And I certainly hope there’s no high mark for Pixar.

  • 13 2-13-2009 at 3:29 am

    Eunice said...

    ‘Up’ is definitely on my list of must-see films for 2009 now. Wow. I can’t believe that I was just a kid watching ‘Toy Story’. Time flies!

    ‘A tearjerker’?. Well, it doesn’t take much to make me cry. I cried when Wall-E shut down, when Nemo reunited with Marlin, and even during that montage for Toy Story 2’s ‘When She Loved Me’.

    Anyway, if there’s anyone you can count on to be consistently amazing, it’s Pixar. The way they manage to weave in adult themes, good storytelling, and technical brillance with kid-tested animation just makes them the best today. I hope ‘Toy Story 3’ is just as amazing.

  • 14 2-14-2009 at 12:01 am

    Michael said...

    You have to admit, that Pixar does great montages. As Eunics touched on, “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2 will make anyone cry, just beautiful images which reflect the great song. I’ve read all the impressions from BNAT and other screenings, and while the first trailer of Up! doesn’t look like much, i can see a great film.
    I just hope in the near future the idea of Pixar releasing two films a year won’t affect the quality.
    P.S. Yay, it looks to be a Miyazaki vs Pixar Best Animated Film Contest, even as they have the greatest respect for one another. If Pixar win for Up!, there’s no doubt they will acknowledge Miyazaki