Pixar and Disney are known for their films’ stellar visuals and Up, their latest effort is still setting the animation bar ever higher.
From Toy Story to Wall-E , Pixar has revolutionized animated storytelling for the 21st century. In Up,
Pixar’s scope has significantly elevated. Carl is trying to get to Paradise Falls — a locale his late wife believed was the most beautiful on earth. Carl decides to literally take their
house to the island when the world is closing in on him.
There, the adventure only begins. A neighborhood scout, Russell, has unknowingly become a stowaway. Each character brings an emotional core to the fantastic visuals that are Pixar’s hallmark.
That is why Pixar’s films resonate with never-before-seen power. Who would have thought that a electronic child-like voice calling “Wall-E” would melt our hearts?
With that in tow, we head Up. The cast and creative team behind Up share a few words of wisdom on the power of Pixar.
Ed Asner is Carl and as the trailers have
indicated, Asner’s character is a little cranky. “He’s old, we know that,” Asner says.
Up’s hero is actually still mourning the loss of his wife. “He had a wonderful love affair with his wife who’s taken from him, leaving him childless,” Asner says.
Carl’s view of the world may seem to be seen through the eyes of someone who lives life as one who has loved and lost bringing life’s journey to a end. But, Carl seeks to
“He dreams beautiful dreams of his wife. He’s willing to fight the dogs of society to maintain his dream. I respect that enormously in the end.”
Russell, as voiced by Jordan Nagai, provides a engaging Yin to Carl’s Yang. “The boy gives me joy. Someone to identify with, the wonderful thing is since he’s got an absentee
father it goes both ways,” Asner adds.
Youth versus experience
Nagai found serving as the youth to Carl’s aged experience came easily. “Carl is all grumpy and doesn’t like going outside and stuff,” Nagai says. “Russell is
determined and likes running around. They’re kind of opposite.”
What did Nagai enjoy about portraying Russell? “He’s so funny. He makes a lot of jokes,” the young actor says. “He’s likes to show off what he knows from Explorer
Those skills should come in handy as Carl and Russell lift off into the sky as their Up adventure begins. “Russell’s only been in museums,” Nagai says. “The truth
is he’s never even experienced the forest.”
As Carl and Russell land in a paradise unlike audiences have ever witnessed, the native animals begin to take a liking to the persnickety Carl.
“He’s an old man who doesn’t want these pests around,” Asner says and laughs.
“He tries to get rid of the bird and the bird keeps pecking him on the head. And the dog — like so many animals we know, as much as the old man rejects him the dogs just wants to slavishly
serve him as much as possible.”
Asner laughs again. Up’s animated dog has struck a chord. “He’s funny. He’s really funny.”
Creating Disney classics
John Lasseter, executive producer of Up, believes that Pixar’s mission has always been the same. “At Pixar, we’ve always made films in the model of Walt Disney,” he
says. “I knew this was going to have the emotion of a classic Disney film. This movie is so beautiful.”
Up’s co-producer Jonas Rivera found delight in the character of Carl and his response to adversity. “Carl did what any 78-year-old would do — he tied thousands of balloons to
his house and floated it up and away,” Rivera says.
Lasseter believes Pixar’s success lies in its ability to find the emotion of the story and then color the palette from technology. “We look at the truth of life. Finding what people do
and replicate it in a way that is believable,” Lasseter says. “Our animators are such great actors. They look for the tiny little sighs. We always talk about the technological
breakthroughs, but those moments — the little nuances — are just as important. They make the film feel truthful.”