Back to films I saw last year (rather than last week), which means I jump from Kick-Ass to Up. And I’m glad to see that I’m talking about films I saw in November instead of September, which I initially thought, so there are fewer things to write than I thought and I won’t be posting nothing but film notes for the foreseeable future.
I saw Up in 3D in a crowded cinema on a Saturday afternoon, packed with kids and I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought of the first sublime ten minutes, with the montage of a relationship done so perfectly it brings a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. But I should be used to this by now from Pixar, after Ratatouille and Wall-E made it clear that (to paraphrase the timeless heading about comic books in newspapers only now catching up) animation is not just for kids.
After the opening scene, the film has a more traditional route (well, kind of) where a quest is initiated and circumstance gets in the way, with comedy and adventure along the way, but it’s still an unusual combination of a cranky old man and a lonely but optimistic young boy and a dog with a device that means you can hear his thoughts. It is thoroughly absorbing, very funny (any film that can get not one but three laughs from the reaction to the word ‘Squirrel!’ is impressive) and exciting – which are bywords for what Pixar does on an almost routine basis.
As always, the animation is glorious but I didn’t get anything extra from the 3D – the story was the absorbing factor in the film, not the extra dimension. The only other slight problem I had was with the fact that the climactic scenes involve two very old men with creaky bones performing very energetic and sustained running around and jumping – was I the only one who thought they shouldn’t be able to do that if they were so old? It’s only a minor complaint, especially as it’s so entertaining, but I had to put it out there. Otherwise, Up is a moving and magical piece of cinema, deserving of its Best Animation Academy Award and its nomination for Best Film.