Animated films don’t tend to fare well outside of the animation categories. In fact, rarely are they nominated for the top prizes by the Academy (the last Best Picture nomination for an animation was Beauty and the Beast in 1992), but with this years “Up”, Disney has once again breathed new life into this genre.
The simple story of an old man, his youthful (all be it accidental!) sidekick on an impromptu ride of adventure. It is a simple story, laced with sorrow, that leads us gently on the sweet, wonderfully grandiose adventure into fantasy – into every child’s “what if my house could fly!” daydream on a sunny summer day, flights of whimsy combined with the child-like idea of adventure and fun, with a larger then life background of the entire world – literally – right at your doorstep.
As we have come to expect in recent years, I was surprised to find that this was not your typical Disney script – I have always stated that Disney does best when they create their own stories, not taking pre-packaged fairy tales and remaking them for epic films. When they work from a new, original place, they can create virtual (literally!) wonders before our very eyes. The characters develop in a smooth, subtle way that you know why they react the way they do in each and every situation. There is no backstory, no mystery, no ill-will. It is a simple tale, but arranged in an eloquent way as to reward all levels of understanding with it.
I do not foresee this breaking in to become the first animation to win best picture – though it is a wonderful film, and will more then likely take the Best Feature Length Animation award, and the story is well written, and powerful, with a simple message behind it: For the ones we love deeply, we will go to the ends of the earth to keep our promises to them.