The tenth Disney/Pixar feature, Up, looks like another lucrative crowd pleaser. Last night, Disney had another screening for the first 45 minutes of the film, introducing a handful of us media outlets to 78-year-old grouch Carl Fredrickson (voiced by Ed Asner), a persistent 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell, and other colorful and quirky animal characters.
The story starts off with Carl as a boy, meeting and finally marrying his childhood sweetheart. A medley montage takes us on an emotional rollercoaster as the couple grows old together, and the happy melody turns tender to mirror the death of Carl's wife. His house is the last one standing on a land developer's turf, and he's soon to be forced into a retirement home after unintentionally injuring a construction worker. With his last hours of freedom, he ties thousands of multi-colored balloons to his house and escapes to explore South America—a trip he and his wife planned, but never took. Russell inadvertently joins Carl on the journey, eager to "assist an elderly person" to earn his final Wilderness Explorer badge.
- A heartwarming story. As with all of Pixar's output, the film strikes an emotional chord with adults, too. It's speckled with many truthful nuances—such as the tennis balls placed on the bottom of Carl's cane.
- Breathtaking visuals. The thousands of colorful balloons, a sight in itself, should be even more mesmerizing in 3D. Also breathtaking are the details in the movie's sweeping shots of the skyline, the house floating above the clouds, and the table-top mountains and waterfalls of South America.
- Eccentric characters. While the main characters are human, the exotic wilderness provides the perfect environment for some new animal characters that kids will love: a giant, friendly monal pheasant with iridescent plumage, and a pack of tracking dogs equipped with collar devices that translate their humorous thoughts into English.