One of the things that I love about Pixar is that they
remember what a lot of filmmakers – and sadly, particularly those working in
the CG medium – have forgotten:
A film needs a story.
So many films today focus on technological dazzle, shock value, making pretty
pictures, or cleverness. None of these are bad things; any and all of them can
add enjoyment, but for me a good story is more important than anything else. I’ll
enjoy the spectacle, the beauty, the wit, but what stays with me is the story.
If story is absent, everything else fades quickly. Pixar’s films have had
consistently strong storytelling, letting the characters carry the viewer along
on their adventures, and this summer’s offering, [[[Up]]], is no exception.
Up doesn’t come near to matching the sheer dazzling brilliance of last
summer’s [[[Wall-E]]], but it is a sweet and charming movie in its own right,
and like Wall-E, it remembered to have a story.
Not only that, but Up takes a startling number of storytelling risks,
particularly for a movie aimed at children.
First there was the absolutely heartbreaking montage of Carl
and Ellie trying to save for their dream trip, and having their dream
constantly derailed by crisis after crisis, only to have Ellie fall ill and die
just as the trip was finally in their reach. This montage is also a rare
instance of a wedding being the beginning of a couple’s story rather than the
“happily ever after.” Seeing Carl lose the legal battle to stay in his home was