She relays quickly that Cannes is overwhelming and crazy (so we have absorbed though we have never been....sniffle) but here are her notes from the premiere. More to follow
I had the pleasure of seeing the Cannes opening ceremony and the premiere of Up in the Grand Theatre Lumiere. After watching Tilda Swinton dominate the red carpet and Isabelle Huppert give a delightful introduction (in French!) as jury president, the film started. I had previously seen, and loved, the first 47 minutes at ShoWest. The rest of the film did not disappoint.That was always going to be a tough act to follow, yes. Will Rosengje's opinion be the consensus? If so, that's a very similar reaction to the last Pixar picture ('the first 40 minutes are the best!'). Some minor spoilers in this next bit so skip ahead if you don't want to know anything.
The highlight of Up remains the poignant, largely silent, opening montage that chronicles main character Carl Fredrickson's life with his wife Ellie. Carl and Ellie dreamed of being explorers and filling books with their adventures, but the daily struggles of life inevitably got in the way.
After her death, Carl becomes determined to fulfill his promise to Ellie and embarks on an unlikely adventure with a young boy named Russell. Despite offering a poignant, whimsical film experience, Up ultimately does not measure up to the lofty standards set by WALL•E.
This can be attributed to the film's determination to combine elements of both art-house fare and mainstream family-friendly releases. This decision makes the film accessible and immediately funny, but provokes some awkward juxtapositions. Carl and Russell are supported by a large animal crew that eventually includes a large bird and a pack of dogs outfitted with collars that allow them to speak. Toward the film's conclusion, director Pete Docter movingly reprises the opening snapshot motif. The result led to quite a few audience members having to lift their nifty 3D glasses to wipe away tears. Unfortunately, the scene is quickly followed by a prolonged action sequence that while visually stunning relies on several animal cliches. The dogs are frequently distracted by squirrels and treats in a manner that is sweetly amusing but tonally contradicts the preceding emotional material.end spoilers
I loved the movie and am confident it will be a huge success at home and abroad. I do believe, however, that the disparity between Pixar's visual sophistication and the expectations of family films will prove increasingly problematic in understanding and assessing their releases.Readers, how anxious are you to take that balloon ride with Carl Fredrickson and do you even care if Up falls just short of WALL•E -- maybe you considered that a ridiculously high altitude to worry about. Are you still waiting to be impressed by 3D or are you already there?
Up also represents the first film that has truly impressed me with the use of 3D. Docter deployed 3D to strategically create connections with the material rather than to create mere shock value. The images will alternately flatten and expand to heighten emotional tension. The film demonstrates that the technology need not be a gimmick when used effectively, a trend James Cameron will hopefully confirm later this year with Avatar.