Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UP, up and away

Firstly I want to start by saying I love animation. Period.

It’s a shame that I can’t remember the first actual animation film I watched as a child. However I do remember Dot & the Kangaroo (well known to OZ Gen Xers). Crappy animation but tear jerker of an ending. Yes of course I remember the Disney films well (an avid viewer of Sunday nights Wonderful world of Disney – after countdown no less). I can’t say I had a favourite of Disney as I liked them all...well until I watched Beauty & the Beast many years later (I discovered it after all the hype – so I missed out on the musical but saw it on ice – can you imagine 2 X 30 something gay men in a sea of children yelling Brava for a teapot skating on ice...but I digress).
But animation (cartoons in my day) shifted from hand drawn Aristocats, Cinderella, The Rescuers etc to the technological animation advances like Toy Story. Smart funny and full of toy nostalgia – aimed at kids (or Gen Xers?). There was the multicoloured brilliance of Finding Nemo... tropical fish are that alive when it comes to their colour. Then the tiny details of Bugs life – the antennae of the ants alone were fantastic. The bar was raised when the classic post war modern styled The Incredibles. Edna (clearly based on Hollywood costume designer Edith Head) I fell in love with the moment she poked her tiny head/massive bob cut on the screen. Of course there are always the shit ones like Cars – so Yawn - but generally these films are an exploration of ideas and technology telling a story.

UP is yet another great animation film. Simply one man’s life dream to visit a remote jungle in South America and the old travellers he grudgingly collects along the way. The characters are funny and likable. The story is sweet - but not that Disney sugar coated nonsense - just a pleasant tale.

Now Disney ( or I should say PIXAR) have raised the bar yet again. The colours used in this film are amazing. The balloons and that bird even beat the palate of Nemo. I think they stole Florence Broadhurst old wallpaper catalogue (I’m reading her biography at the moment hence the reference but more of that later) Actually the Bird and the dog steal the show. I especially liked when the bird impersonates the old man...too funny. There are many hilarious moments in this film - The dogs with their talking collars is very clever – The main cute mutt you want to adopt, even if you are a cat person.

Anything else would be telling too much. This is a film that will easily universally be accepted for any age group – entertaining for the kids as well as the adults (or should I say Gen Xers taking their kids/nephews & nieces/ Partners). Yes like Dot & the Kangaroo there are sad moments – minus the crappy animation of course...making UP Pixar’s best film to date. Period.

4 and a half balloons of out 5.

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