Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pixars WALL*E and Up

I could not be more excited about Pixars next one WALL*E! With Ratatouille being one of the best films I saw last year, Pixar are batting with one hell of an average. I have read about Pixars next one for 2009 called Up, and it almost made me cry with what they want to do with it.

But WALL*E looks amazing, touching, and just looks cool as fuck! God bless ya, Pixar.

UP comes out May 29th, 2009 and will be Pixar’s first 3-D movie. Lasseter said that all Pixar and Disney Animated movies from BOLT onwards will be made to release in Disney digital 3-D. Lasseter loves 3-D. He says even all of his wedding pictures were taken in 3-D he loves it so much.

UP is directed by Pete Doctor (MONSTERS, INC) and Bob Peterson and follows the most likely adventurer… Carl… a 78 year old man. He’ll be voiced by Ed Asner and is a grumpy ol’ bastard who walks on a cane that ends in four little legs, each one has a tennis ball on the end, like you’ll see at nursing homes.

Pete Doctor called it a “coming of old age story.”

The movie opens with Carl as a young kid in the ‘30s. They showed us this opening with storyboard reels. Carl is a chubby kid, arm in a cast and he makes friends with an adorable ball of energy named Ellie.

She wants to follow her hero explorer out in the wilds on adventures. She wants to show Carl something, but makes him cross his heart and swear he won’t tell anyone. He does and she shows him her adventure book. A scrapbook with clippings from her explorer hero, a guy named Muntz.

She says when she gets big she’s going to go where he went. She’s going to South America (“It’s like America, but south,” she says matter of factly). She has drawings of waterfalls and says she’s going to live there some day. It’s a place called Paradise Falls.

The rest of the pages are blank and she says she’s saving them for all the adventures she’s going to have… the only problem is she doesn’t know how she’s going to get there. Carl has a balloon in the room and she says, “That’s it! You can take us in a blimp! Swear you’ll take us!” She makes him cross his heart. “Good, you promised. No backing out!”

Carl is wide-eyed, clearly in love with this girl, in love with her spirit and enthusiasm. He barely speaks.

We get a montage now. No dialogue, just music. Ellie and Carl get married. They’re happy together. Carl sells balloons as they build their house. The years go by. They’re still young and playful. In love. They have picnics, look at clouds and see different shapes. Eventually Carl points out one in the shape of a baby. From here on out she sees nothing but babies in the clouds and smiles.

Carl awkwardly smiles as well.

Then we see them sitting in the doctor’s office. It’s dark and grey. Ellie has her face in her hands, crying as the doctor shakes his head no.

She sits in their front yard. She’s sad. Carl comes to cheer her up. He brings her the old Adventure book and she smiles again.

They make a Paradise Falls jar and put money and coins into it. The pile starts to grow but a series of events happen over time. Car tires blow out, the coin pile decreases. They put more money in it and Carl has his leg in a cast and the money decreases. The roof blows off in a storm, etc.

Now they’re elderly and the Paradise Falls jar is empty, forgotten. Carl loving looks at his elderly wife doing the daily chores. She’s happy, but you get the feeling that he’s sad for not giving her what he promised her. He looks at the crayon drawing of Paradise Falls she had in her adventure book and makes a trip to the travel place.

He has two tickets to South America. He hides them in the picnic basket and takes her out on a picnic. He makes it to the top of the hill. She doesn’t, collapsing halfway up. He runs to her.

Next we’re in a hospital. He’s very sad. She pushes her adventure book to him and makes him cross his heart. He does.

Next we see him slouched, wearing a black suit. He’s surrounded by hundreds of balloons… if I remember right they all had her name on them.

This sequence was already heartbreaking in this early form.

Carl lives on a few more years before his house is threatened by impending construction. So, he ties thousands and thousands of balloons to his roof with the intention of sailing to South America and bringing Ellie, in spirit, to Paradise Falls.

He apparently can steer his house with his weathervane.

But he has a stowaway when he makes this journey. A chubby asian kid named Russell, a boy scout trying to get his last merit badge, one for assisting the elderly.

They make it to S. America, but just before they get to where they need to go they crash and thrown from the house. The house starts to float away and just before it’s out of reach, they grab on to a garden hose and keep it from leaving them.

Neither of them can climb back up to it, but they don’t want to leave it, so they each tie a line to themselves and traverse the South American jungles pulling the house behind him like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon for the last 15 miles.

They showed us a test piece, with temp sets and character models and it looked really funny. Carl was short and squat, with his tennis-balled cane. Russell is whining. He’s tired. Carl is short with him and Russell falls over dramatically, but the balloon keeps him from doing much more than floating up and down. He ends up dragging forward on the ground, where he sees a bug and gets excited. He unclips himself and runs after it.

Carl looks back and sees he’s the only one tethered. He calls after the boy, getting no response as he’s slowly lifted up further and further and further until he’s out of frame. A bird squaks and he grumbles. There’s a tussle we don’t see and his cane drops to the forest floor.

They announced that the villain will be voiced by Christopher Plummer and that was it for their UP presentation.

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