Comic-Con 08: What Exactly Is Pixar's Up All About?
by Alex Billington
July 26, 2008
Earlier today Disney presented a panel at Comic-Con on their two big upcoming animated movies: Bolt and Pixar's Up. We've already seen the trailer for Bolt, which looks absolutely hilarious, but so far we haven't heard a single peep about Up! In fact, the most we've seen is a logo, but no one even knows what it's about. Since Disney decided to break the tradition of attaching the newest trailer in front of each Pixar movie, our first glimpse of anything Up was revealed at Comic-Con this year. And damn was it a tearful introduction! Pixar's own Pete Docter, of Monsters Inc, debut some concept art and a few scenes from Up and it looks just as good as everything else we've seen from them over the years. Read on for more details.
Docter explained that Up is essentially an homage to our grandparents. Our hero is the 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner), a short and square little man who walks with a cane. When he was young he met a girl and fell in love with her. Her dream was always to explore Paradise Falls in Venezuela, but unfortunately life got in the way and it never came true. Now Carl is an old widower and he sets off on his own to head down to South America to live out that dream before his life ends. Most of the movie takes place in the wonderfully envisioned mountains of Venezuela, where Carl eventually lands after his house sails south (see the logo with the balloons). As Docter said (and showed in concept art), we are off to a "lost world where anything can happen and will happen" and a world we've never seen before.
Along the way, Carl meets numerous other characters and creatures. One of them that Docter showed us was a young, chubby 9-year-old boy named Russell. He's collected all the merit badges (for the Wilderness Club) except one - assisting the elderly. So he stows away in Carl's house and floats with him down to Venezuela as well. We were shown the scene where Carl takes off in his house with all the balloons and starts floating through the air. It was a magical scene, but not like anything I've seen before. The best reference I can give for this and all of the concept art might be to call it Pixar's version of a Hayao Miyazaki film. In fact, Docter specifically addressed the legendary Japanese filmmaker saying "We're all huge fans of his. He's an amazing filmmaker." He goes on to say "Miyazaki pays so much attention to small details that make you feel like you're actually there. And we're trying to do that in this film as well."
Docter said that the first teaser trailer has debuted online and could be found exclusively on Disney's site: disney.com/pixar. We've posted it below for your viewing pleasure, so for the first look at Carl (the man on the porch) and Up, take a look at this short teaser clip below. Enjoy!
Watch the very first teaser for Pixar's Up:
Although Up instantly looks like another classic Pixar movie in the making, it's not quite at the level of Wall-E. Carl as a character seems incredibly entertaining, but he's not instantly lovable. Wall-E was so cute that everyone would fall in love with him the moment they saw him. Carl is a grumpy old man who we'll probably fall in love with and feel bad for by the end, but isn't specifically someone who initially comes across as a likable character (at least in my mind). Alas, as time goes on and we begin to see more from Up, being a Pixar fanboy, I'm sure I'll begin to fall in love with this as I have every other Pixar movie. As a finisher, Docter perfectly describes Up: "Pixar takes you to a lost world - it's a love story and it's a Pixar movie." Disney is releasing Up on May 29th, 2009 next summer.