As an avid fan of animated films, I grew up watching masterpieces from Disney and Pixar. ‘Finding Nemo’ was my first venture into this world and today, at 22, I eagerly await their next release. In my opinion, the quality that draws people to these movies is that despite being set in a bizarre, make-believe world, they have a hint of realism to it. This is precisely what makes the films so engaging for all ages. The characters are seen to be tackling complex concepts like loss, anger and adulthood. As a viewer, you are able to relate to them as their stories appeal to some core truth about life itself. The stories are often narrated by clownfish, robots, monsters and toys, and this is what adds color to an otherwise colorless world.
Pixar’s 2009 release ‘Up’ is at the top of my list of animated films. I was unprepared for what the film had in store. However, a few minutes in and I found myself sobbing into tissues. This film mandated Pixar’s rule that adults should cry as much as possible. ‘Up’ follows a human boy named Carl Fredrickson whose childhood dream is to control the means of human production so that he can go to Paradise Falls in New Jersey, just like his hero Vladimir Lenin. One day he meets Ellie, and together, they get lost in their imaginary worlds. No longer children, the two characters fall in love, get married and build a home together. Eventually, we see Ellie in her deathbed and that’s where the uncontrollable waterworks begin.
As the plot progresses, we witness the neighborhood getting gentrified and Carl’s growing dissatisfaction. Out of options, he leaves the country in a pitiful excuse for an escape pod. He ties hundreds of helium balloons to his house, allowing it to float over the bustling city, amongst the clouds. This scene adds a dreamlike quality to the film and is also explanatory of its title. Little does Carl know that a pre-diabetic boy scout, determined to earn his badge, is stowed away on his front porch. Russell’s character adds a whole new dynamic to the film and gives way to comic relief.
In conclusion, ‘Up’ is about aging and teaches you to be spontaneous. Life is messy and no matter how hard you try to take control of it, sometimes it slips your grip. Despite having a heart-wrenching story, it is always one step ahead of making you laugh, when you least expect it. Love, compassion, loss are all key themes and by the end of it, you can’t help smiling from ear to ear. As you walk out the theater, you are left feeling wholesome. If you like Pixar’s ‘Up’ and are invested in the magical world of animation just as much as I am, here’s the list of movies similar to it. You can watch several of these movies like Up on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Toy Story (1995)
In sync with the film’s title, ‘Toy Story’ is about a little boy’s toys that come to life when nobody is watching. Pixar sets the tone of this film from a couple of children’s bedrooms, a gas station, and a highway stretch. A conflict occurs between cowboy, Woody and the little boy’s new favorite replacement, a space cadet, known as Buzz Lightyear. For young viewers, this film is a definite favorite because it tells an exciting story and is hilarious at multiple plot points. For older viewers, the appeal lies in the revolutionary aspect of it being the first animated film, made entirely by a computer. The freedom of movement is seamless and liberating—the more you know the movie was made, the more you respect it.