At one point in this movie you will find yourself rooting for a widowed Septuagenarian who, following dinner served by talking dog chefs, is then chased by a mad explorer, within an airship, in a mythical land. At the same time, he is desperately attempting to corral his travelling companions, a 9 foot multicoloured bird, chubby 8 year old Wilderness Explorer and their pet talking dog. Meanwhile, he attempts to not let go of his suburban house which, naturally, is being kept afloat by thousands of carnival balloons.

On reflection, you may wonder how you ever got to this point.

Following a delightful “Clouds” short, we are straight into a surprisingly downbeat prologue, much of which will be lost on the target audience but does provide a considerable emotional payoff later, we are then off on a cracking adventure.

Pete Docter who previously directed “Monsters Inc” here shares the director’s chair with Bob Peterson, who also is credited with the screenplay.

Frankly, if this story was pitched to any other studio executive, you would find yourself providing a drug test sample before you left the building. I guess at Pixar, they have circumvented this issue by creating their own studio where no idea is too crazy to pitch, whilst John Lasseter remains the ringmaster.

Pixar has had an incredible run, every movie has made serious money, has integrity, exquisite animation and plots that make most movies pale in comparison.

Is this the best Pixar movie to date, you might as well ask which is you favourite child?

Aside of Christopher Plummer, Delroy Lindo and Ed Asner, who themselves would not admit to being “A lister’s”, there are no known voice actors, apart from John Ratzenberger who features in every Pixar movie.

Normally 3D appears to add little to the experience but here it is used with some sublety and disappears into the story. After a while, you forget you are watching with extra depth and dimension and on this experience at least, is certainly the future for animated movies.

Where most modern movies make do with paper thin charecterisation, you really do care about the old geezer from the off. Add in some great action sequences for the “real audience” and liberally sprinkle with humour, then make every 40 plus audience member “get something in their eye” when the scrapbook comes out.

There is a stand out sequence when the house lifts off, where the balloons are reflected in a young childs bedroom, there is no reason for the scene other than the director thought it would look cool. It looks and feels just right, although of course any experience of seeing houses floating past windows held up by balloons, is somewhat limited.

“Dug” is a great character and when told he is a bad dog, children and pet owners will experience another “Shrek – Puss in Boots” moment. You can almost hear the “Dug” toys rushing out of the shop as the credits roll.

There some good lines notably Christopher Plummer advising his dog chefs, “Surprise me”, when presented with the inevitable menu for the evening meal.

If we are being picky, the “uber dog” voice change is too long in coming. The sequence is funny for 30 seconds but gets old real quick. There is no doubt the movie does skew younger than perhaps Wall-E and lacks some of the deeper subtexts but it’s unlikely any younger viewers will complain.

So another Pixar movie, another triumph. Fantastic animation, characterisation, humour and a story that manages to include, loss, lost opportunities, being alone and the power of friendships in a cold world.

Not bad for a so called, “kids” movie


Another excellent experience from Pixar, the bar just got higher again and it remains to be seen if Pixar themselves can keep jumping over it.

On past experience the answer would be, yes they can. Probably in fluid 3D animation, with back story as to why they wanted to jump over in the first place.

Highly recommended movie experience, best experienced in 3D if you get the chance.