Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2009. Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures. Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy, Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter. Produced by Jonas Rivera. Music by Michael Giacchino. Production Design by Ricky Nierva. Film Editing by Kevin Nolting. Academy Awards 2009. American Film Institute 2009. Golden Globe Awards 2009. Washington Film Critics Awards 2009.
Two kindred spirits meet as children and grow attached thanks to their shared spirit of adventure; this translates to love in their adolescence and marriage in adulthood, all the way through to their old age until he is left a bitter, lonely widower who has never fulfilled his and late wife’s dreams. When the senior home circuit starts coming around trying to put him out to pasture, the old fella gets a brilliant idea–why not tie thousands of balloons to his house and fly himself down to South America where he and the missus had always dreamed of going? It’s a simple plan except that a local boy scout accidentally ends up on the trip with him, and upon arrival in the exotic land of their destination they have been joined by a few furry friends with more than their fair share of quirks. The film is, as all Pixar entries, gorgeous to look at and filled with wondrous imagination, but also includes their own brand of character depth and emotional poignancy that will move even the most cynical of audience members. By the standards of the studio’s best work, especially Wall-E and the Toy Story movies, the project falls a tad bit short: it’s wonderfully sentimental at the beginning, richly adventurous for its second act and then descends into a good-guy-bad-guy chase formula in its conclusion which involves a strangely plotted, ill-fitting element of dogs with talking collars. Still, it shows off the company’s talents extremely well, and the voice work is spectacular.