It started with a cartoon drawing: a cluster of gaily colored party balloons held by a cranky old man, his eyes asquint, as if daring any kid to take one. Pete Docter’s sketch, made back in ’04, suggested another droll innovation at Pixar, a studio proud of taking risks in a traditional genre; mean and old are words rarely attached to the main character in an animated feature. But Docter, 40, who’d done the 2001 Monsters, Inc., and his co-director and co-writer Bob Peterson didn’t want just to have fun with the elderly gent. They would send him and the audience on a journey in two new directions: penetratingly inward and exaltedly up.
Those, you might say, were the compass points of last summer’s Pixar wonder WALL-E, of which Docter was the original director (before handing the project to Andrew Stanton). There are other similarities between that futurist galactic epic and Up, which will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 13 and come to North American theaters on May 29. Both movies are about lonely creatures – a droid left on Earth, a man whose cherished wife has died – taking a perilous trip. Both protagonists are stout and box-shaped and don’t talk much. Both films, under the thrill-ride wrapping, are unabashed love stories. And though it’s not yet summer, we can declare that Up, like WALL-E, will prove to be one of the most satisfying movie experiences of its year. (Read more HERE)