For the first time, Cannes opened with an animated film and the expectation was that Up would be a Pixar film to rank alongside Finding Nemo and Toy Story. This proved a false hope. The first 3D feature film from Pixar follows Cars and Wall-E in taking a warm-hearted look at life on earth before overdosing on sentimentality. Pixar, it seems, is turning into the new Steven Spielberg, expert at setting up worlds and plots, but unable to avoid saccharine endings, which stop good movies being great ones. Carl (Edward Asner) and Ellie are childhood sweethearts who dream of being adventurers just like their hero Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). A superb silent montage sequence as good as anything the cartoon outfit has ever done gives us a potted history of their life together until Ellie dies, leaving Carl a lonely 78-year-old widower. He decides that he owes it to his wife to finally go on a big adventure. Facing eviction from his marital home, Carl, with echoes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, turns his house into a flying machine using children's balloons. The sequence is the only one that makes full use of 3-D in a picture that could easily be seen in 2-D. Carl inadvertently takes a young do-gooder scout called Russell (Jordan Nagal) along for the ride. Before you can say Around the World in 80 Days, the unlikely friends arrive in a lost world of talking dogs and rare colourful birds in South America. Yet, with the story perfectly setup for a classic adventure, the film quickly runs out of ideas and drowns in a series of sentimental clichés, with Muntz a terribly underdeveloped villain.
* Kaleem Aftab
Updated: May 17, 2009 04:00 AM