Directed by the guys who wrote animated features that set the bar for animation - WALL-E, FINDING NEMO and RATATOUILLE - UP further burnishes the reputation of Pixar. The first thirty minutes are as brilliant as anything in WALL-E. The movie opens with a "meet-cute" - two little kids play together - she gives him courage and doesn't mind that he doesn't speak too much. In an elegant montage we see them marry, love each other, miscarry, grow old together, and grieve alone. It's wonderfully done, and I was crying almost throughout. The movie continues with our hero, now an old man, left alone, holding out against the surrounding redevelopment project and life in a nursing home. The old man has a plan: he's going to hitch his house to thousands of helium balloons, travel to Peru and find a long-missing explorer. Only glitch is, a pesky boy scout was clinging to his balcony as he flew away. As this familiar cine-odd-couple fly off to Peru, I enjoyed the shift from pathos to comedy. But as the movie became a jungle adventure, I struggled to maintain interest. The mad-explorer who has descended into Mistah-Kurtz madness, surrounded by dogs fitted with collars that enable them to speak - seemed to come from a different movie. And seriously, if you had invented a dog-collar that allowed dogs to speak, you wouldn't need to scurry off in disgrace. The movie only just regains it's bearings in a lovely scene where the old man realises that the boy-scout gets no real parental attention.
UP played Cannes 2009 and is currently on release in Russia, Canada, the US, Egypt, Kuwait, Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Romania and Venezuela. It is released next week in New Zealand and the Ukraine. It opens on July 29th in France, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Spain. It opens in August in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Iceland and Greece. It opens in September in Germany, Bulgaria and Norway. It opens in October in Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and Japan.