"Up" Trailer: Why Pixar Won't Be Dethroned Anytime Soon

A trailer for Pixar's 2009 opus Up was released today. Despite using a good portion of it to toot their own horn like they did in Wall•E and previous films (they deserve to, though), this trailer already looks better than DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens, and it doesn't even show the best parts that I'd seen from it.

It has been more than 3 months since Comic Con, but I can still feel how big of an impression the Up footage I saw at the Disney panel left me. It was paired up with Bolt at the panel, and the two films couldn't be any more different. What sets Pixar apart from any other animation studios—including their own partner Disney 3D—is their determination to go beyond children's summer entertainment and deliver something unique and special. Instead of relying on bankable star power and witty pop culture jokes the way a live-action comedy would, Pixar always goes for stories that can legitimately be called magical.

You can already tell from the trailer that they're aiming for something different, with that unexpected reveal of the protagonist being a senior citizen. Up tells the story of 76-year-old Carl, who converts his home into a flying machine to visit a forgotten land at the top of Venezuelan mountains. First they made an environmental social satire with robots that can only make noises, and now they have a jungle action-adventure where the hero is an old man on a walker.

The film uses the funnier parts to sell it as a mainstream kids movie, but there's so much more to it than that. What struck me the most about the Comic Con footage was the emotion involved and the sense of wonder involved with its setting. The whole reason for Carl's adventure is the death of his wife, whom he'd always promised they would "see the world" with. Now a lonely widower threatened to be moved into a senior home by developers who want to demolish his house for a high rise, Carl decides to embark on a pilgrimage to see the mythical Paradise Falls in honor of his wife's memory. Yeah, a story about life passing one by, not exactly something the youngins would relate to, but what other animation studio in America would do it? Certainly not DreamWorks.

A friend of mine described this as Pixar doing Hayao Miyazaki meets Werner Herzog. Sounds about right. At this point, I'm more excited for this film that I was for Wall•E.

Nov
07
2008
Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.

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