What can you really say about Pixar at this point that hasn’t already been said. There’s more ambition and creativity in a frame of their movies thatnmost entire feature length films. They don’t just make the best animated movies in the world; they make the best movies. So it is with this, their tenth movie, that Pixar changes the rules and elevates the game all at once.
You know the story already, and I won’t dare spoil what you don’t know. Carl Fredrickson is an old man being driven out of his home by land developments. To save his house, and keep a very special promise, Carl ties thousands of balloons to his chimney. He rips free from the foundation and takes off on a one of a kind adventure story with annoyingly adorable and tenacious Wilderness Explorer, Russell, in tow.
Wall-E was one of my favorite films last year and I was in complete awe the entire time I was in front of the screen. (All three times!) Here, Pixar dropped my jaw to the floor. When Carl’s house takes flight, I couldn’t stop smiling I was so giddy. In 3D, it’s truly a sight (and sound) to behold. When director Pete Docter orchestrates a two shot from the window of his house, I couldn’t stop smiling. When Carl finally gives in to the adventure he’d been waiting his whole life for, you guessed it.
There’s a sweetness here that is above and beyond what Pixar has achieved in the past. From the moment the film starts, it’s charming you. The Pixar short “Partly Cloudly” was missing from our 3D print, but I have to say that this is the most subtle and best use of 3D in film to date. Instead of being a cheap gimmick, Pixar pulls you into their world.
Everything is drawn from story, and it’s so beautiful to watch a film take on a life of its own. You can’t predict this. Maybe certain parts, but I was worried that Carl might not make it to the end. Or he would, and then there would be some flash-forward to Russell as a grownup visiting his grave. How the film ends is elegant, simple, and most of all fitting. I can’t wait to see it again. (This time with the damn short!)