Up Review!

Oh boy. I don’t even know where to start.

I’ve been a fan of Upcoming Pixar, a blog that keeps track of all Pixar news, for a while now. It began with my love of computer animation when we first saw it become mainstream, with Toy Story, and then grew and grew over the years. I eat up any slight tidbit of news regarding Pixar’s feature films, and I am the one all my friends turn to with questions regarding the films. I admire Pixar for staying true to themselves, and putting the emphasis on a good story every time. Can you name another studio that has hit it big on every single one of their movies? Didn’t think so.

Anyways, Upcoming Pixar reported that the Disney Senior Vice President of Animation Marketing, Donald Evans, grew up in Hartford, Connecticut, and therefore was hosting a screening of Up in Hartford today. I did a quick lookup of the distance from school, and saw that it was about an hour and a half away. That’s basically the length of a trip from my home in New Jersey to New York City, a trip I’ve done plenty of times. So a chance to see a movie that isn’t out yet, from my absolutely favorite company? Count me in. I phoned up my closest friends, asked them to accompany me, and we made the road trip this morning.

We left at 9AM for a 2PM showing. If I was going to this, there was no way I wasn’t going to get inside the theater. We arrived at the theater at 11AM, the first in line. Guess we could’ve left an hour later. Better safe than sorry, though, right? Anyways, it was like we were famous or something. Random people popped out of the museum to visit us in line outside, saying, “Wow, you came all the way from Boston?” Yes, yes we did. Is an hour and a half drive really that ridiculous? Donald even came out to talk to us for a bit, which was great. I definitely want his job someday. Marketing for Disney and Pixar animated films? I already basically do that, I just don’t get paid for it yet. After another two hours of waiting in line, we were brought inside, picked up some bags of popcorn and candy, and grabbed the first seats in the house.

Let’s get right down to it. First, we were shown the Toy Story 3 teaser. It was excellent, of course. It was great to hear all the old voices again, for sure. Nothing actually involving the plot or anything, though Donald did mention that it was about Andy growing up and going to college. Already a sad start, but I don’t doubt it will be good. Also, release date: June 10, 2010. Next, we saw that trailer for “The Princess and the Frog”, the triumphant return to Disney 2D animation, plus the movie musical! Disney’s definitely pushing the fact that this is the first ever African-American princess. The movie, plus a behind-the-scenes featurette we were shown, really capture the excitement at Disney over the fact that they’ve reopened the old studios for handrawn animation. I’m caught up in the excitement too, so I’ll have to check out that movie at the end of the year.

Lastly, we were treated to an UPisode, a short extra clip about Up that has been making its rounds on the web. Nothing new, but still funny. Then, the movie started! Oh wait! Actually, it was Partly Cloudy, the new short! No spoilers here, but it was awesome as usual. Okay, THEN Up started!

The movie is amazing. I don’t really know how else to explain it. If you’ve seen any other reviews of it, one thing you see a lot is that the movie is both the funniest and the saddest Pixar film yet, and that is definitely an apt description of it. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried multiple times throughout the movie, both from happiness and sadness. But some moments were funnier than anything I could have ever thought possible. There were so many references to other films, that I really hope the majority of audiences pick up on, from Indiana Jones to Star Wars. And it really all came together so well, I couldn’t be happier.

Lastly, we got to have a Q&A with Donald. There were a lot of questions of sequels, and he kept pointing out (like they do) that sequels come out of having a good idea for a story, not out of wanting to make a sequel. Interestingly, though, he flat out denied that there were any discussions of a sequel for Up 2 or The Incredibles 2, but never did the same for Monsters, Inc. 2. I really hope that’s part of the plan. Also, in case you were curious, his favorite Pixar movie is Finding Nemo.

I’ve given up on trying to determine how much I like a Pixar movie the day I see it. I tend to overestimate how much I love it that day, so I’m gonna give it some time before deciding. Plus, I have to go see it in 3D when it comes out for real. My initial reaction is that it’s my second favorite, to Ratatouille. I’m not sure anything will ever top that movie. But Up brought out so many emotions, that I really enjoyed the experience more than most other movies I’ve ever seen. So, those of you reading this from California, be ready. I’m dragging you all with me to a theater on May 29th.