Without doubt one of the most moving film sequences of the past 20 years
June 17, 2022 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Pixar’s Up was inspired by a single image: a house with balloons tied to its roof floating into the sky, far away from the burden of daily life. “It seemed freeing and aspirational"...But the makers of Up knew that even feel-good stories need pathos... The opening of Up, however, is more than just a narrative device. The movie-within-a-movie is as emotionally heavy as Carl’s helium-lifted house is buoyant.
posted by If only I had a penguin... (118 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
That opening destroyed me. My wife had just gotten out of the hospital. She had what we first thought was an aneurism, but turned out to be a subdural hematoma.

She'd had brain surgery and after many, many weeks was home and feeling back to normal, so we decided to go see what looked like a light movie. I don't remember much of the plot because I spent a good 20 minutes weeping in my seat and was pretty much shell-shocked for the rest of the evening.

Thanks, Pixar! It was like seeing Bambi as a kid all over again.
posted by Eddie Mars at 10:26 AM on June 17 [64 favorites]


Up is such a strange, off-kilter entry into the Pixar cannon. The opening! The whiplash transition from the opening to the rest of the movie! The absurdity of the balloon house and the bird. Dogs flying airplanes, commanded by a geriatric explorer! It’s such a lovable (slightly) oddball to have come out of a streamlined hit factory.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:33 AM on June 17 [11 favorites]


Upular: Up in 2:30.
posted by SPrintF at 10:36 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]




I would guess we had 30 to 40 minutes of material that we slowly whittled down. [to 10 minutes]”

What? They whittled the good part down for the rest, which IMO is mostly garbage. Why?
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:41 AM on June 17 [5 favorites]


The first time I watched Up, I was moved to tears by the opening sequence.

When I watched it a second time, however, a couple of months after my wife had died, I felt nothing. I was on holiday with family, and they chose to put it on, perhaps supposing it might be helpfully cathartic.

It felt as if I was watching a puppet show, and I could see at which points the puppeteers intended to raise a smile; and where they meant to draw forth a tear - I was acutely conscious of the artifice of it all & couldn't go with the flow of the story.
posted by misteraitch at 10:41 AM on June 17 [36 favorites]


group hug in aisle 3 for Eddie Mars
posted by supermedusa at 10:44 AM on June 17 [20 favorites]


I actually hate that bit. I acknowledge I must be one of about seven people total. It feels to me not so much a piece of emotional film with a relatable story as the product of a team of cynical psychologists and marketers who were tasked with ripping tears from the most people as fast as possible, bc that's what corporate decided would sell.

Sure, it got to me. But not as fast as the feeling of ham-fisted manipulation.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:45 AM on June 17 [14 favorites]


I actually hate that bit. I acknowledge I must be one of about seven people total.

I'm getting the feeling all seven of you are going to show up in this thread. lol
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:47 AM on June 17 [140 favorites]


misteraitch that is an interesting story. I have never seen Up, I don't generally watch animated/kids stuff and I am also very leery of what I deem might be emotional manipulation, "the artifice of it all".

because: when I was about 10? I watched Bambi haha with my little sisters. when the scene happened my sisters completely lost it, bawling their eyes out. it took me right out of the experience, emotionally, and I was really mad a Disney for making a story that was so upsetting for children. I have been very suspicious of such things ever since.
posted by supermedusa at 10:48 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]


One of my best friends and I went to see "Up" in the theaters, two adults, no kids, etc. He and I both were audibly crying so hard by the end of the that stretch that it took half the rest of the movie to get back to some kind of emotional equilibrium. I literally thought we were going to have to leave the theater.

I have since refused to see a Pixar movie 1) without reading copious and spoilery reviews beforehand 2) in a public place and 3) unless I in the very best of moods. '

I love the visceral thrills of a horror movie. I love crying at the opera. I adore seeing theater that stuns me into silence before applause. But if I'm headed into that kind of wrenching five alarm animated weep machine EVEN THOUGH I KNOW I AM BEING MANIPULATED BY @#$%ing DISNEY situation, I need to be well and fully prepared.
posted by thivaia at 10:48 AM on June 17 [10 favorites]


I would guess we had 30 to 40 minutes of material that we slowly whittled down. [to 10 minutes]”

What? They whittled the good part down for the rest, which IMO is mostly garbage. Why?

Well, it’s a movie aimed at kids, so probably giving them forty minutes of slice-of-life family drama seemed like a bad idea…
posted by Going To Maine at 10:52 AM on June 17 [16 favorites]


I acknowledge I must be one of about seven people total. It feels to me not so much a piece of emotional film with a relatable story as the product of a team of cynical psychologists and marketers who were tasked with ripping tears from the most people as fast as possible, bc that's what corporate decided would sell.

There is a line where cynicism becomes foolishness.

Corporate didn't have a say on whether the animated cartoon starring a 70-year-old grump should open with a heart-rending 10 minute sequence about the death of a spouse, because if they had a say, they would have voted to never make the film.

Moreover, Up, alongside WALL-E and Ratatouille, was made in the period where Pixar was actively fleeing Disney, at the tail end of Michael Eisner's reign. They had an active interest in presenting themselves as artistes, ready to graduate beyond the anodyne Disney house style. Then Eisner was deposed, Disney bought Pixar, and they never made a movie as interesting again.
posted by Merus at 11:03 AM on June 17 [70 favorites]


I would love to see all forty minutes.
I remember a review from the time: 10 minutes of the greatest silent story-telling ever followed by a movie.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:09 AM on June 17 [12 favorites]


I dislike the opening for a different reason-- the girl has a strong sparky personality, and she became a generic person to be grieved for when she grew up.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:31 AM on June 17 [16 favorites]


I dislike the opening for a different reason-- the girl has a strong sparky personality, and she became a generic person to be grieved for when she grew up.

Really? I feel like her sparky personality comes out as an adult too. I mean think about the scene on the hill. Karl is like "hey maybe ...i mean do you think...we could have a baby...maybe..?" and she's like "A BABY! Yeah! Let's have 20 babies! Love it!" And for a second he's thinking "holy shit what have I gotten myself into" and then his face melts into "yeah, this is why I love her."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:39 AM on June 17 [26 favorites]


I am a 52 year old male and I often think that I'm dead inside because I can no longer seem to bring myself to cry much anymore but oh boy have I bawled my eyes out at just about every Pixar movie I've ever seen, including this one. Especially this one.

Giving up on (or at least drastically reducing) my cynicism was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
posted by bondcliff at 11:39 AM on June 17 [26 favorites]


The "opening" is an obvious masterpiece (so much so that most seen to forget that the actual opening is the whole sequence with Kid Carl meeting Kid Ellie), but for my money it's surpassed in emotional heft by the scene near the end where Carl discovers the "Stuff I'm Going to Do" section of the photo album. Giacchino's score does a lot of heavy lifting, but it really does a fantastic job of summing up the core message of the film: that the times in life that end up mattering the most are not the whirlwind adventures or the big victories, but the quiet, everyday moments spent with the people we love. "That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most."
posted by Rhaomi at 11:44 AM on June 17 [32 favorites]


The opening is an incredibly effective piece of storytelling. It captures the how and why of a life that does not go according to plan, of dreams that slip away through both ordinary troubles and trauma, of people who see each other anew, again and again, until they cannot anymore.

Except they do. The bookend piece, when Carl learns Ellie has recorded their small adventures, that she saw him in ways he never knew, that he gets to see her again, deeply...that was the part that got me. I almost cried at the opening (when he sees her in the yard? *phew*). I lost it when he discovered their final chapters. My son has seldom been so startled. But so many others were bawling, I hardly stood out.

All the stuff in between is over the top because it has to be. (Though there are such subtle moments along the way, too.) The return to the ordinary - seeing it for the gift it can be - comes after an ordeal. I remember silently weeping at Sam's "Well, I'm back" at the end of LOTR - a teenager, as the sun went down behind green, ancient mountains in Pennsylvania, in the back seat on our way back to Iowa. This hit similarly.

We're not naive to be moved.
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:46 AM on June 17 [55 favorites]


I remember a review from the time: 10 minutes of the greatest silent story-telling ever followed by a movie.

This was also something of the tenor of the WALL-E reviews, I think, but with more of a 50/50 split.

Then Eisner was deposed, Disney bought Pixar, and they never made a movie as interesting again.

Inside Out would like a word, as would Toy Story 3. Though I have yet to see them, I understand that both Soul and Seeing Red would also have some complaints.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:51 AM on June 17 [8 favorites]


This sequence was kind of the beginning of the end of my enjoyment of Pixar movies. It's perfectly calculated to yoink our emotions around, and is so good at doing just that. It's too perfect. There's no fallible humanity in the computer animated performances; every camera angle, every colour tint, every micro-expression, every factor and variable arranged just so. It's not a cast of human actors sharing their own interpretation of lived experience and the script and story in realtime, it's just robots, endlessly tweaked by Phil Docter and his army of animators. Every take is the same, unless they change it intentionally, just so. All the improv and error and moment-to-moment humanity of a live action film is completely absent. While I was being emotionally wrecked watching it, I was becoming more and more resentful that they were doing so with such mechanical precision. I felt like my heart had been dissected by a machine.

Give me imperfect art, please, I prefer it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:52 AM on June 17 [5 favorites]


Give me imperfect art, please, I prefer it.

You all do understand that live action movies are not just unedited recordings of off-the-cuff improv experiments, right?

Like, of course there is artifice. Of course it's manipulating your emotions. This is a work of fiction, that's what all fiction does and is designed to do. This particular work may be insufficiently artful for your tastes, but the idea that animation is any more or less manufactured than live action film is silly.
posted by star gentle uterus at 12:01 PM on June 17 [39 favorites]


I'll just leave this here. (TV Tropes)
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:01 PM on June 17


I think we do understand that, yes. We also understand the difference between choosing among takes to find the best one and using computer software to fabricate a perfect one out of thin air. Do you?
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:04 PM on June 17


I mean, The perfection of MIDI playback has its uses, but on the whole I think live (recorded) musical performance is better. That's the difference here.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:07 PM on June 17


seanmpuckett: "We also understand the difference between choosing among takes to find the best one and using computer software to fabricate a perfect one out of thin air. "

Wait, Pixar movies are made on a COMPUTER???????
Huh, really makes you view them in a different light, right?
Even the one with the toys?
How about the fish, are they made with software too?
posted by signal at 12:08 PM on June 17 [19 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, Disney also did a series of shorts called Dug Days, about Carl and Dug the dog living together back in suburbia. They'd be one of the last things Ed Asner did (though imdb indicates he was a very busy man in the last year of his life). They're on Disney+ and, while not maybe at the level of that opening sequence, they're charming and fun and made my little girl (who hasn't seen the movie) very happy.
posted by Naberius at 12:12 PM on June 17 [23 favorites]


A lot of folks are suspicious of or put off by effectiveness and craft, it seems to me. I'd prefer to interpret that as an aesthetic judgment that doesn't have an intellectual or moral judgment wrapped up in it. (If that's possible.)

I think people have been divided about this since Gilgamesh wept for Enkidu.

For my part, I do not distinguish between the impact of these scenes and that of, for example, the most wrenching scenes in The Sweet Hereafter. Animated? Doesn't put a boundary on my engagement.

Animated:live actors::MIDI:recorded live music is not an effective analogy.
posted by Caxton1476 at 12:19 PM on June 17 [15 favorites]


seanmpuckett: "I think we do understand that, yes. We also understand the difference between choosing among takes to find the best one and using computer software to fabricate a perfect one out of thin air. Do you?"

I wonder, do you feel the same way about hand-drawn animation, or claymation? (I suspect most CGI critics prefer the look and feel of those).

CGI might look sharper/cleaner, but it still has to be designed and composed by human hands same as those other mediums. Then again, I'm a big fan of AI art so maybe I'm just biased.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:23 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


That scene tears me up almost as much as the Superman scene in Iron Giant. I won’t watch either one in the company of others.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 12:24 PM on June 17 [12 favorites]


The problem, at some level, is that a big budget production can be very slick, and something that seems very slick doesn’t have soul. At least for me, the fact that the rest of Up feels like 90% quirks kind of undoes any off-putting effects that the opening’s slickness might have caused.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:25 PM on June 17


It is helpful to my understanding of the breadth of human experience to know that there are people who hated this part of Up. Whoa! (I wept, and do weep, like a baby.)

For folks with this feeling, are there films or other works of art that do eliciting-emotion in ways that you feel are more nuanced or empathetic?

I dislike the opening for a different reason-- the girl has a strong sparky personality, and she became a generic person to be grieved for when she grew up.

I'm also surprised by this - Nancy Leibowitz, would you be up for sharing more about this feeling? Is the sense here that "grieved for" --> "generic" because everyone dies, because death denies people their lived individuality?
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 12:26 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I've never seen the entire film. I watched the opening scenes with my wife lying beside me, recovering from her latest chemo session, and I was in bits. Couldn't watch the rest of it. (She's fine now btw, 10 or so years later)

Of course, like an idiot, I tried watching Ice Age while she slept off another chemo session. The cave painting scene in that set me off again. These things should come with a warning. "Contains flagrant emotional manipulation"
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 12:32 PM on June 17 [8 favorites]


I simply wish there could be FAR FEWER movies where a female character's death is somehow the catalyst for the entire movie. It's exhausting.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:34 PM on June 17 [27 favorites]


I'm kind of relieved that other people also have the "this is just ridiculously manipulative" response to Pixar films. I feel that they're fantastic for their intended audience-- children and young adults who are still hashing out their feelings-- but once you get past the "here is what feelings are like" bits, there tends not to be that much there. Like, The Green Knight was neither a tearjerker nor a feel-good movie, but fuck if it hasn't been living rent-free in my forebrain for the last six thousand years.

When I was young, there was a clear distinction between kid's media and adult media, and it's so weird to me to see adults excoriating each other about their current opinion of media mostly targeted at children. I loved Star Wars when I was ten, but why do people seem so caught up in how we're supposed to feel about it now?
posted by phooky at 12:37 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


When I was young, there was a clear distinction between kid's media and adult media

No, you were just a kid and didn't understand that your media was also for adults. I mean, have you ever seen Loony Tunes or Bullwinkle?
posted by bondcliff at 12:40 PM on June 17 [52 favorites]


The opening is not the part of this movie that broke me.

It did its job, but the line that absolutely demolished the Hoover Dam inside my head was,

"I hid under the porch because I love you!"

Years later, I am still fundamentally changed by it.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:44 PM on June 17 [9 favorites]


When I was young, there was a clear distinction between kid's media and adult media


This an interesting point, because when I re-watched movies I'd seen as a kid many years later, with my own kids, I was surprised to see the heft of some themes, the allusions plainly pointed at adults, etc.

What was the turning point? When did things marketed to kids - maybe especially animated movies, for today's purpsoses - start weaving in content aimed at the grown ups?

Fantasia? Dumbo? Pinocchio? Those feel different - their moments of darkness and fear and loss, for one thing.
posted by Caxton1476 at 12:48 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I remember watching that opening scene a few years after it came out, and I was deeply moved by the "Married Life" montage. And perhaps because I am married or perhaps because of no reason at all, it resonated deeply with me.

And then a few years later the kids turned into teens, and then my wife got sick, very sick, and I came across that film again and sat down and watched it with my children, and I tell you that right now as I type this there are tears in my eyes just thinking about the scene and what it meant to me back then and what it still means to me now.

My wife recovered, somewhat, and is still with me. She can't watch that scene.

During the pandemic, when we were all teaching virtual classes, I would open each class with a little Pixar scene just to take off some of the pressure of Zoom learning. There are a lot of great Pixar shorts. And one day I showed that scene. And I started to weep on camera, and some of my students wept as well, and I don't know what that means. I just know that the best art can reach us in ways both mysterious and terrible.

I carry that scene with me always. I think about regret and about lost opportunity and about loss and death whenever I think about that scene.

I don't think I'll show it to my students again, though.
posted by fuzzy.little.sock at 12:49 PM on June 17 [27 favorites]


10 minutes of the greatest silent story-telling ever

(Buster Keaton sighs and makes a sad face)
posted by FJT at 1:03 PM on June 17 [15 favorites]


Like...yes, it was moving. But it's a calculated decision to make a female character die, because they assume that more people will emphasize with a male character. I think that's where the feeling of manipulation comes in. Because it's playing on the same old misogyny as always.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:14 PM on June 17 [10 favorites]


I simply wish there could be FAR FEWER movies where a female character's death is somehow the catalyst for the entire movie. It's exhausting.

Amen,.
posted by thivaia at 1:17 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


When did things marketed to kids - maybe especially animated movies, for today's purpsoses - start weaving in content aimed at the grown ups?

My guess: about 5 minutes after the first cartoon for kids was made. I don't think the distinction is nearly as strong as some might think it is. Don't characters get drunk in Pinocchio (#2 Disney movie made) and Dumbo (#5)?

more people will emphasize with a male character.
Yeah, and in this movie specifically, the sex of the characters was completely irrelevant.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:32 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Disney also did a series of shorts called Dug Days

I can also recommend these, super charming.
posted by tavella at 1:37 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I find it relevant because it's so often the death of a female character that's used to elict emotion from a male character on screen. Filmmakers should consider whether we really need another story like that.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:37 PM on June 17


I guess I'm the MeFi demographic for this post:

I love Pixar movies. (I haven't seen them all - I haven't seen any of the Cars movies and only the first Toy Story, but I love the ones I've seen, up to and including Soul, Luca, Turning Red, and Onward.) I've loved them since Luxo Jr. was appearing at film festivals, since Red's Dream and Tin Toy.

I love Up, although it's been ages since I've seen it and I am probably due for a re-watch.

I love the opening sequence.

And I love the linked article from The Ringer. I love the details Alan Siegel elicits about all the aspects of making this segment: giving Ellie a pink aura, the shift in camera movement after the wedding, trimming the dialogue to the point of silence and discovering how much more emotional that was ( ... I mean, these people have been making films for years at this point, probably all went to film school, and reading about how they continued to learn from their experiments is just lovely to me), the "really, really small camera pullback" as Carl arrives home -

maybe this is all pedestrian and uninteresting to some folks, but I've never made a movie, I've never made these kinds of choices or played with visual storytelling in this way, and it's wonderful for me to get to read the thoughts and memories of people who were there, who were dedicated to telling a moving story and worked and worked to find better ways to do it.

I am glad Up exists; I am glad Pixar is still making really great movies; I am very glad to get to learn more about the people and processes involved in this section of the film; and I am grateful to you, If I only had a penguin... , for sharing it with us here. Thank you!
posted by kristi at 1:40 PM on June 17 [23 favorites]


(The way the filmmakers worked through how to get the narrative onscreen, I'm sure was difficult. It's good to know how to get that kind of visual and effective storytelling done properly, since people connect to this film.)
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:45 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I think this is the one time in my life where I've been able to hear multiple people, audibly sobbing, all around me in the movie theater. Must have been so weird for the actual children in the crowd.
posted by potrzebie at 2:01 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


( ... and I am very sorry to have gotten your name wrong, If only I had a penguin... . Deepest apologies.)
posted by kristi at 2:06 PM on June 17


phooky: "When I was young, there was a clear distinction between kid's media and adult media,"

Where you born before 1922 or so? Because Snow White came out in 1937 and was explicitly for kids and adults, and the direct antecedent of most western animation, and pretty significant to Japanese animation as well.
posted by signal at 2:09 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


The only episode of Friends I truly enjoyed was the one in which Phoebe freaked out after seeing Bambi because her mother had turned it off before Bambi's mother was killed, saying something like 'and they all lived happily ever after'.
posted by jamjam at 2:14 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I think people have been divided about this since Gilgamesh wept for Enkidu.


Especially over the CGI animation part.
posted by y2karl at 2:21 PM on June 17 [10 favorites]


Yeah, well, my tears were for Humbaba, not Enkidu. Enlil should have done a lot more than just chide them for killing him.
posted by jamjam at 2:26 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


Up is a movie about suicide. The opening is just the set-up. Saw it when it first came out, cried all the way through the opening scene. Have never desired to see the movie again despite kids and grandkids who will watch anything Disney Pixar over and over.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:32 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I'm getting the feeling all seven of you are going to show up in this thread. lol

I also didn't like WALL-E. AMA.
posted by phunniemee at 2:37 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


I used to teach at a private girl's school in Tokyo. At the end of the semester, we'd have a movie day, and I chose Up. I had seen it previously and wondered if it were wise to show a group of 15-year-old girls such an emotional scene. I expected many tears. But no: after that scene ended, all 30 girls were absolutely stone-faced and expressionless. They kept it all in; that's Japanese tatemae (public face) for you.

It is a masterful scene, and what makes it work so well is the piano melody that starts in the happy chords and switches to the sad chords. The rest of the movie, though, is diminishing returns. The dogs were a funny gag at first but I found the bird annoying. Basically three characters in the film, all male–felt unbalanced. Maybe Pixar’s strangest film, but not terribly resonant with me.
posted by zardoz at 2:37 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


y2karl: "I think people have been divided about this since Gilgamesh wept for Enkidu.
Especially over the CGI animation part.
"

What really bugged me was the blatant placement for Belatsunat's Fine Chariot Wheels.
posted by signal at 2:41 PM on June 17 [11 favorites]


I also didn't like WALL-E. AMA.

Hey, I'll go so far as to say I was offended by WALL-E.
posted by thivaia at 3:07 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


Nancy Lebovitz - apologies for misspelling your name!

tiny frying pan, I *definitely* have never recognized your point that Ellie is another dead woman playing a plot-point role - in a man’s emotional growth, no less. Good to think with.

phunimee, I’d love to hear your WALL-E peeves! While the start to WALL-E is another deeply-felt sequence for me, the gender dynamics and fat-shamey second half made me cringe. (Also - of all the musical songs to pick? AND from a musical about emotional manipulation and conflict as romantic strategies? Yuck.)
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 3:09 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Two things:

- There's pretty much a moment like this in every Pixar film. Not necessarily as intense but, like clockwork, it'll be sprung on you and then it's going to be some amount of tears and sniffles. I find I now gird myself when I sit down to watch a new release, knowing it's just a matter of time before my heart gets pulled at.

- I am not sure I can ever watch 'Up' again. Just reading some of these comments, invoking certain parts of the opening, remembering others, got me weepy.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:10 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Animated:live actors::MIDI:recorded live music is not an effective analogy.

I'll die on this hill: yes it is, and just like animated films can genuinely tear at peoples heartstrings, music made with MIDI can be authentic and heartfelt and amazing. And so-called "recorded live music" is often edited so much in production that it might as well be MIDI.

And real drama made with real actors can be cynical and manipulative.

The worlds of cinema and music contain multitudes, and people can react with emotion to many different things, and none of them is more valid than another.

Personally, I loved "Up" but will probably never see it again because my wife and I are in our 50s and I don't want to think about that stuff.

And since I'm already out on a limb here, I'll throw this in: I consider WALL-E the worst of all Pixar movies. I didn't connect with the robot characters at all, and although I found the depiction of humans fat-shamy and overwrought, I would have much rather watched a film about a group of imperfect humans trying to survive on a colony ship and rebuild humanity. I felt like that film was in the background and someone didn't let me see it because they were just yelling "LOOK HOW CUTE THIS CLUMSY ROBOT IS" at me over and over.
posted by mmoncur at 3:22 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


One less fun thing about movie going in Japan (aside from films being released months or years later than elsewhere, on not at all: no Green Knight, no Everything Everywhere All at Once scheduled release here) is that commercials here operate under the idea that audiences should be shown the really cool thing that happens to get them into the theater. This means showing “young” CGIed Arnold stepping out of the smoke for Terminator 4 (supposed to be a big reveal moment), and countless other spoilers. Kind of a “hey, come see this movie, it’s got this star in it!” marketing. Hell, I’m pretty sure they showed Matt Damon in commercials for interstellar.

So, Up? The commercials for Up in Japan essentially showed a condensed version of the first ten minutes before cutting to balloons, cute dogs, and old man Carl. I’d heard about the opening, but there it was, clearly spelled out.

We went anyway, and I’m pretty sure I cried at roughly four different parts of the movie, not just the beginning. Each time, I looked over, and each time Mrs. Ghidorah was sobbing too. Some Pixar movies are uneven, but a good number of them contain moments of pure greatness, like the Incredibles with Bob Parr admitting that he’s not strong enough to lose his family again, the critic’s flashback to the first time he’d eaten Ratatouille, just of the top of my head) that have stayed with me, and have even become shorthand in my mental life.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:31 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


Idk. Up is pretty personal to me, but I appreciate and give an ear to the criticism here.

My friend (college roommate and best man) was a part of the team in charge of composing the shots for the montage. He kind of had my wife and I in mind as he worked, he says. We were going through round after round of infertility treatment during the “filming” of Up, and it’s rather hard for me to make it through the beginning of the movie in one piece.

Anyway, that’s my weird brag. I don’t know, as I said, if that has any relevance to the large questions of art raised here.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 3:41 PM on June 17 [55 favorites]


I expected many tears. But no: after that scene ended, all 30 girls were absolutely stone-faced and expressionless. They kept it all in; that's Japanese tatemae (public face) for you.

Maybe they weren't that into it? Or, if you're a dude, maybe they didn't want to cry in front of you. I watched Titanic with my Japanese students for post-exam fun day and everyone, self included, sobbed through the entire boat sinking and they only stopped crying to argue about whether or not Kate was dead at the end. Years ago there was lots of crying during the 3rd Evangelion film as well, but that was an event and full of hardcore fans who came prepared to cry.

Something about the plasticky look of CGI keeps me from emotionally connecting with it, but I wouldn't count myself as one of the seven haters of Up. It's fine. The Pixar films I've found the most moving, sans tears though, are Monsters Inc and Coco. I would probably cry over a CGI Gilgamesh, but not if the characters had oversized heads.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:46 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I thought it was a cute story. The animation seemed a bit flat and over simplified. I grew up watching the golden age of animation...the 40's and the 50's...
posted by Czjewel at 3:50 PM on June 17


I've never been able to watch the entirety of the movie. The parts that I have seen have been... manipulative and hetero-normative as anything out there in mainstream media.

I mean to say that the movie doesn't totally suck. It's better than many mainstream digital films from Pixar, Disney or other A-list production companies, but that doesn't take much. It has some nuance and balance.

But I have visited and stared at Edith Macefield's home and the real life audacity, spite and rebellion in the form of a home caged in by the 3-4+ story tall concrete box surrounding that fragile, decaying home dozens of times and have left gathered wildflowers on the fence that finally cut it off from the world.

The real world story that inspired Up is worse and even more emotional to me even though she was gone by the time I arrived.

Seeing that home and rebellious stubborn and justifiably righteous spite in person for a number of years in the critical time right after it happened and that Ballard shopping center was built around it was much more powerful to me and naturally, righteously emotional signal and symbol of everything wrong with our world. To the point that the Pixar movie that it inspired is a mere shadow in comparison.

The movie Up barely approaches that darkness and pathos long before it addresses it's flaws and roots in the patriarchy, and in that space it fails to move me more than the real thing that actually happened.

It's like comparing one of Aesop's fables to a real life hardship or travesty. One is a fable, one is something that really happened to a living person.

Aesop's fables are informative, educational and useful. But witnessing parts the real world results are something else, especially when considering the misogyny or patriarchy-washing inherent in the film that leave this depth out while still being inspired by the real world trauma that happened.

I look to the women in my life that own property and and are still trying to make it and be taken seriously, over 50 years since the time that women could own their own bank accounts and how recent women's liberation still is and I see two men as the central characters of a story inspired by a woman who just wanted to live in her home...

..and "Up" unfortunately lacks any of that and turns it into something else, something that is too close to erasure to be comfortable for me.

RIP Edith Macefield. May any of us be as steadfast.
posted by loquacious at 4:07 PM on June 17 [14 favorites]


I dislike the opening for a different reason-- the girl has a strong sparky personality, and she became a generic person to be grieved for when she grew up.

I mean, Ellie didn't stay home and simply become Mrs. Carl, she went to work at the zoo. She gardened, painted, grieved infertility, etc. You can be the sparkiest plug in the engine, but unless you have a bunch of family wealth, ya gotta work a 9-5 if you want go on adventures.
posted by kimberussell at 4:23 PM on June 17 [7 favorites]


rrrrrrrrrt,

Thanks for the apology about my name.

It's possible I've missed some details, but it just seemed as though she got a lot less interesting as she got older.

As for WALLE, I freely grant that it was fat-shaming. And ridiculous-- after spending life in a chair, standing and walking wouldn't just be a matter of willpower, falling and possibly braking a bone would be likely.

However, there's one scene I'm grateful for-- when the captain is deciding to go back to earth (I think that's what it was), he was somehow in the unmarked state for me. A man making a decision rather than a fat man making a decision.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:42 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I haven't been brave enough to see Up, because my favorite heartwrenching (aka; only one I can bear watching) pixar animation is the short with the lonely lamp....
posted by mightshould at 4:43 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


The real world story that inspired Up is worse and even more emotional to me even though she was gone by the time I arrived.

It’s Wikipedia, but I’m not sure that that’s correct… (if it is, you’ve got an edit to make!)
On May 26, 2009, Disney publicists attached balloons to the roof of Macefield's house, as a promotional tie-in to their film, Up, in which an aging widower's home is similarly surrounded by looming development.[18] However, scriptwriting and production on Up began in 2004, two years before Macefield's refusal to sell to the property developers.[19]
posted by Going To Maine at 4:57 PM on June 17 [6 favorites]


I've told the story before about how my family, having just completed an inter-continental move (after 20 years, returning to a place that was supposed to be home and didn't feel like it) went to see UP expecting something light. It wrecked us. The scene where the chairs fall out of the house was awful for me, after saying goodbye to so much childhood embodied in furniture.

Similar to thivaia, I haven't seen a Pixar film in theatres since.

It's interesting to me that I hate that they do that, but Bluey episodes, like Baby Race make me cry but I'm not mad at them! I wonder if it's different life stages or what.
posted by freethefeet at 5:02 PM on June 17


Wow, tough crowd.
posted by SPrintF at 5:09 PM on June 17 [15 favorites]


I'm in the 'Up made me cry' camp, but my life was very different then. At the time, I wasn't quite sure what needed to change for me, but I that montage helped me realize that I was headed for a life that was unfulfilled. All better these days.
But yes, the 'dead woman in refrigerator' trope needs to end :(
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 5:12 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


How did we get from “Up” to “dead woman in the refrigerator “?
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 5:22 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I just got out of Lightyear when my seven-year-old daughter. I feel like it was the story-in-the-background of WALL-E. I also feel like there was a lot lighter touch on the emotional manipulation. It still got me. It always gets me.

Up's opening wrecked me, much like The Fox and the Hound wrecked me. I can appreciate people who don't like Pixar, but I enjoy a good catharsis that isn't brought about by real-world evil or suffering.
posted by gwydapllew at 5:33 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I’ve been married for a quarter of a century and losing her is the worst thing I can imagine. I couldn’t possibly watch this.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:35 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


We might be past the seven people who dislike Up in here. Somewhere between this film, Nemo, and Cars I started to believe that Pixar is in the business of making films exclusively by, for, and about dads and I stopped making a point of seeing their releases in theaters. The tear-jerking is too precise and surgical. The overall emotional range of their stories is so wide that it’s just no longer enjoyable to watch the films. I like to be taken on a ride by a movie but it can’t be to visit every single emotional extremity in one stretched-out experience.
posted by migurski at 5:57 PM on June 17 [4 favorites]


I cry at least twice during Up, beginning and end, every time. Sometimes more too. I just teared up reading this.

I agree, it's killing a female character/love interest for pathos, and let's be honest, to make Carl lovable through the movie when he's really a horrible grouchy curmudgeon at the beginning. But sometimes I need to cry, and I can't always easily, and Up or something else, gives me catharsis.

I feel really bad for the people that Up hurt and upset. Your experience is valid, and just because I find value in it doesn't mean I expect you to.

For a while there I entirely lost the ability to cry, so getting it back, even if it's sometimes hard, I see it as a gift. Humans mourn, and then, hopefully, they keep going. It's engineered artifice yes, but in service to my feeling fully human, and that to me makes it art.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 5:59 PM on June 17 [12 favorites]


Team Wall-E!
(Mainly the beginning without the humans. So really, Team Wall-E the robot and less Team Wall-E the film.)
posted by Glinn at 6:28 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


JustSayNoDawg, "fridged" is a common fandom term for when a woman dies to further a man's story/emotional development. It was coined by Gail Simone in response to a specific plot in a Green Lantern comic - more here.
posted by augustimagination at 6:46 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Years ago there was lots of crying during the 3rd Evangelion film as well

Yeah, that one was pretty bad.
posted by star gentle uterus at 7:01 PM on June 17


the product of a team of cynical psychologists and marketers who were tasked with ripping tears from the most people as fast as possible

At some point you’re just describing the concept of “a movie” here.
posted by atoxyl at 7:08 PM on June 17 [23 favorites]


I dislike the opening for a different reason-- the girl has a strong sparky personality, and she became a generic person to be grieved for when she grew up.

I'm not sure exactly why this comment rubs me the wrong way, but I think 95% of it has to do with ignoring about 75% of the film's narrative of her life, post-childhood/-adolescence, which is entirely about her very rich, grown-up life. She had a good life, better than most of humanity, and lived her life on her terms. People get old, people start dying. The premise of the movie is about choosing how to face senescence and death.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:48 PM on June 17 [18 favorites]


I think you’re being snarky atoxyl, but around 2005-2010 there emerged in the digital arts world a harmful idea that art wasn’t art unless it “made you cry.” I think Jonathan Harris might’ve said this specifically about his own browser-based work in Flash at that time. Art can be worthwhile for a lot of reasons but not all of them are reliable production of emotional responses from a viewer. With Up that entire first section is like a separate work, overshadowing the all-male surrogate-dad story that’s the bulk of the film.
posted by migurski at 7:49 PM on June 17


I didn't care for WALL-E because a beautiful flying nature-seeking robot has a clunky dork chasing her around and apparently she HAS to fall for him; I'm sick of the 'Seth Rogan Gets To Have Hot Chick" trope.

Also I am very sympathetic to going "Eve. EVE. NOT FUCKING EVAAAH YOU FUCKSTICK"
posted by The otter lady at 7:49 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I seem to have two minds when it comes to the feel-it-or-feel-manipulated question, possibly due to my college undergrad comp-lit major. I can absolutely fall all the way into something like the first chunk of Up -- bawl like a baby, in this case, or laugh like a hyena in others. (I have watched Singin' in the Rain approximately one bazillion times and Jean Hagen's "I kiiiiiiian't STAN' 'im!" will never not get me right in the funnybone.)

But I also enjoy the heck out of "okay, how does this piece of art WORK; what were the creators GOING FOR here; did they GET THERE; if they did, why and how; if not, where did they go off-piste?" And it's that part of my brain that enjoyed the article (thank you, OP!). I like to read about craft, especially in art forms like animation that I don't understand as much about.

So hey, I think all y'all are valid. The fridging of Ellie legit sucks, though I do think her life is shown (not just told) to be rich and enjoyable and worthwhile in spite of intense personal pain. The storytelling choices the creators landed on wound up being pretty effective, especially the choice to ditch dialogue altogether. Giacchino's score is rock-solid.
posted by humbug at 8:02 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


A little additional background: The chair/balloon scene was filmed a short distance away from where I type this. A small airstrip in SE Berks County, PA. The pilot was Wilhelm Roscher (here) who died a few years ago. Pixar needed to launch an object which was required to have a licensed pilot and they needed an airstrip/airport to do it from. His airstrip and his long association with flying were a perfect fit to launch a tethered chair.
posted by IndelibleUnderpants at 8:32 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I'm sympathetic to the genre concerns, but I've seen both jaded teens and scared octogenarians learn important things from that aspect of Up. If it's not your deal, fine. Let people have nice things.

On the subject of animation, it's interesting. I tend to dislike emotion intended to elicit compassion in live-action, it screams out "here's a person faking shit" to me. But good animation is careful deliberate expressions of observations that are clearly not trying to be real, which seems much more fair. I can name 1 live-action movie where I feel it's earned the right to make me cry, and 2 animated movies. That is subjective, of course.
posted by tychotesla at 8:44 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


Augustimagination: thank you. That term has a whole different connotation for some of us for whom that was a relatively uncommon, but still common enough, event to be newsworthy. I think, forever more, I am just going to avoid fandom circles.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 8:50 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


This seems like the place to share that I sobbed through the entirety of La La Land. Like, the lights went down, the film started rolling, and I just immediately started crying, and I barely stopped for two hours. I can't even say why.
posted by latkes at 9:09 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


The otter lady: "I didn't care for WALL-E because a beautiful flying nature-seeking robot has a clunky dork chasing her around and apparently she HAS to fall for him; I'm sick of the 'Seth Rogan Gets To Have Hot Chick" trope."

WALL-E is a clunky dork for sure, but EVE falls for him because he proves himself to be a nurturing, loyal, and even courageous dork as well. I'm not huge on Seth Rogan films but that's not the vibe I get from the character at all -- can you imagine a Rogan type collecting bemusing trinkets and falling in love with an old Broadway play?

Also I am very sympathetic to going "Eve. EVE. NOT FUCKING EVAAAH YOU FUCKSTICK""

Aw, this just feels mean -- it's pretty clear he physically can't vocalize it; he even struggles to say his own name.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:15 PM on June 17 [14 favorites]


I like it

NEVER GET OUT THE GOTTDAMB SLEIGH.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 PM on June 17


around 2005-2010 there emerged in the digital arts world a harmful idea that art wasn’t art unless it “made you cry.”

Huh - not only have I not heard that but it’s pretty far removed from my conception of “current bad ideas about art.” My snark was perhaps more diffuse than pointed. I think there is an element of emotional manipulation that is unavoidable in art - good art is distinguished by convincing execution and depth. I think that sequence has the former but might be a bit short on the latter. And I also thought it was simply a little funny that people kept referring to the “designed by committee” nature of the movie in criticizing it because on some level that’s inherent to most movies.

I understand that the real point of statements like that is that people think it’s hackish. I don’t really agree but it’s not one of my favorite Pixar movies anyway because the rest of it doesn’t have that much that really grabs me.
posted by atoxyl at 9:37 PM on June 17 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised by all the "this is calculated manipulation by corporation" comments here.
I've been part of enough creative projects, and seen enough "making of" documentaries to know that 1) all movies above a certain budget are a business 2) there is a tremendous amount of push and pull between the story tellers and the budget people, especially with pixar, so what ends up in the movie isn't just "what corporate wants" . 3) all movies are tremendously artificial 4) almost all movies made these days are "made on computer" so that there's no meaningful difference between an animated movie and a live action movie 5) Computer made movies (and animation of all kinds) are just as hand made as claymation, requiring individual human skill, vision, and artistry.

Also, I'm a writer, and I know from my own experience that any piece of story telling requires me split myself so that I on the one hand can draw from my own experience as honestly and rawly as possible, and on the other hand, edit the result so that it lands as effectively as possible.
The editing part is, if you want to be uncharitable, manipulative and calculating.
I will sometimes find myself crying as I write certain scenes, and there is a part of me that's genuinely experiencing the pain, and a part of me that's observing my reaction and thinking "hmm. OK, this is working. Maybe if I twisted this bit more, and that bit less, it would be even better...?"
The thing I don't like in corporate story telling, is when things are sentimentalised, sugar coated, diluted and dishonest. I don't get any of that from the opening sequence of Up.
I find that Up sequence very moving, but the one that always gets me is the trash incinerator scene in Toy Story 3.
OMG.
posted by Zumbador at 9:51 PM on June 17 [18 favorites]


Rhaomi, you plead a good case, and I will withdraw my objections to WALL-E until such time as I have the chance to re-watch it, with your points in mind, for re-evaluation. Thank you very much for taking the time to enlighten me!

Edit: sincere not snarcastic!! I swear!
posted by The otter lady at 10:07 PM on June 17 [5 favorites]


It’s Wikipedia, but I’m not sure that that’s correct… (if it is, you’ve got an edit to make!)

Ah, crap I think I've made this mistake before. Please forgive my cynical rant, I'm not articulating myself well.
posted by loquacious at 10:18 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Re-watching the "Married Life" clip it's amazing how much Carl resembles Robin Williams.
posted by bendy at 10:29 PM on June 17


I dunno. With my late, universally loved girlfriend, I have plenty of great memories of small life moments of togetherness.

But the big events really stick out for me... Perhaps because they were things I deeply enjoyed. Or that they were so very fascinating to her, and she didn't get a ton of that wonder in her life.
posted by Jacen at 12:12 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Seth Rogan Gets To Have Hot Chick

This seems like an unfair read of WALL-E, a character who is very much not a slacker but rather someone who is a dang hard working robot, and one who possibly did EVE’s actual job of finding life on Earth better than EVE herself did. The movie is by no means perfect, and EVE is obviously the “pretty girl who’s out of the male lead’s league “, but WALL-E is absolutely not a slacker who doofily stumbles into a romance, and EVE doesn’t decide he’s great because she overlooks a bunch of his faults.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:38 AM on June 18 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: all seven of you are going to show up in this thread. (Plus someone who knows the people who made it.)
posted by k3ninho at 3:21 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


Once the house leaves the city, it seemed the movie became more Disney and less Pixar with each passing scene, but that opening has to be the most emotionally powerful animation done since Dumbo reunites with his mother.
posted by Beholder at 4:25 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


My appreciation for the coldly mechanical craft of touching us deeply went up after I realized how clinically the writer of The Wrath Of Khan orchestrated the death of Spock that rocked my childhood.
posted by johngoren at 5:14 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Has anyone who claims that animation has “artificial” emotion ever watched something like Grave of the Fireflies?

There is no story animation can’t tell just as well as live action. It’s just a different approach to visual storytelling. Which is, in and of itself, a different approach to aural storytelling, which is a different approach to written storytelling. Unless you’re expecting me to believe that books are also incapable of conveying real, fallible, mutable human emotion because there’s no actors and every word is precisely arranged by the author to convey whatever they want to convey and that somehow makes it “artificial”.

I find the opening of Up pretty moving, but it’s never made me cry. Mr Fredricksen showing up to take Russell to his wildlife explorers ceremony makes me cry, though, happily and for both of them. It’s all about what works the harpsichord of your heart.
posted by lydhre at 5:16 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


I think we do understand that, yes. We also understand the difference between choosing among takes to find the best one and using computer software to fabricate a perfect one out of thin air. Do you?

Is this similar to writer using her pencil or typewriter to write the sentence again and again until it's perfect? Or painter to touching up the smile over and over to get it right? In my view the tools of the trade don't make the art any less or more real.
posted by zeikka at 5:43 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


I am perimenopausal and have experienced a pregnancy loss, and I couldn't even read the description of the beginning of Up without bawling. For me Up is all about the beginning and the end, and the middle is... okay? I don't really care about the dog or the bird very much. WALL-E, though, I am there for all of, up to and including the awesome Peter Gabriel song over the closing credits.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:58 AM on June 18


tl;dr but WALL-E yes, UP no.
posted by Rash at 9:22 AM on June 18


Squirrel!
posted by kirkaracha at 10:55 AM on June 18


I was really mad a Disney for making a story that was so upsetting for children.

I've got some Grimm news.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:12 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I can't get angry/annoyed at the people who made Up for fine-tuning the "marriage" bit for maximum emotional effectiveness because, you know, I go the same thing when I'm writing my novels -- I'm pacing events and dialogue and moments to make readers feel things when I want them to feel them. Yes, it's absolutely manipulation; the actual issue is whether the type of manipulation that's being performed on you is congenial to your psyche and circumstances. If it's not, that's fine, although in the case of Pixar/Disney, with a $200 million plus price tag on their movie, they're ultimately going to be fine aiming for the 80% of audiences for whom this particular brand of manipulation is their thing, than the 20% for whom it is not.

And I get that, too; I figure with any particular book of mine, 80% of the audience for it likes my particular bag of manipulative tricks, and 20% does not. That 20% isn't wrong -- nothing works for everyone -- but as a creator I'm fine with shrugging and saying "Well, my stuff isn't for you." There are lots of excellent creators whose work will be for them; I hope they find them.
posted by jscalzi at 11:43 AM on June 18 [16 favorites]


I wrote in a recent AskMe thread about how differently I perceived the opening of Up before and after my partner and I experienced infertility, pregnancy loss, and ultimately the realization we would remain childless. The first time I saw it, I was like, oh of course he’s sad, he’s mourning the loss of his beloved wife. They had a great life together. When I watch it now, I find it achingly sad because I know pregnancy loss and infertility are not something you really get over, even if you are able to move forward and continue building a different but happy life.

It’s rare that films portray pregnancy loss and allow the couple to remain childless. Usually there’s a miracle baby happy ending, something that bugs the hell out of me. I appreciated seeing a film—for kids, no less!— that portrayed realistic grief and didn’t give an easy out, but also showed Ellie and Carl making a good, happy life with each other despite not being able to realize their dreams of being parents.

But yeah, I’m definitely someone who tears up just thinking about the “Married Life” sequence. IMO it is the best part of the film.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:59 AM on June 18 [25 favorites]


I keep a bunch of movies and shows around just for expressly the purpose of working up some tears. The opening of Up, the end of A River Runs Through It, the scene in second season of Twin Peaks where Major Briggs relates to Bobby his vision (more than a dream), the end of The Right Stuff, the end of My Dinner With Andre, the end of The Straight Story, the end of Never Cry Wolf, the narrative climax of LA Story, etc.

Many endings for, I'm sure, self-evident reasons. Not too many beginnings like Up.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 6:53 PM on June 19


I personally didn't find the pregnancy loss that manipulative - it's fairly common for families to know they are pregnant and lose a baby. If you get pregnancy assistance via IVF (or whatever other methods) it's incredibly common. It's also a useful trope in the scope of movies (and songs) because there are no outward effects you have to deal with with prosthetics, makeup, limps, medications, endless surgery, pallidness, dramatically damaged body, etc, so really it's the perfect Hollywood illness that immediately conveys sadness and depth.

I'm cynically surprised it's not used more often.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:48 AM on June 20


I've only watched Up a couple of times - in the theater the beginning scene really wrecked me (secondary infertility that never resolved, pregnancy losses), and then my memories of the sophomoric talking dogs takes over all my perception of the remaining 90% of the movie. When I did rewatch the movie I remember how surprised I was that it was much better than I thought it was, but I guess not enough better that I've ever wanted to watch it again. But I still think that opening marriage story falls under art, not manipulation. It isn't maudlin to me. You get a real sense of who Ellie was and what their life was together. To me anyways, having feelings about their story because it was animated rather than emoted by actors shouldn't be seen as manipulative any more than reading it in a book or seeing it in a painting.

Then again, nothing makes me cry so hard (every damn time) as the scene in The Last Unicorn where Molly Grue sees the unicorn and yells at her, "Where have you been?!" I'm choking up a bit just typing it. Damn.

Okay I also tear up when they start singing the Song of the Sea in Hebrew toward the end of The Prince of Egypt. Shut up.
posted by Mchelly at 9:38 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


My best friend died of cancer several years ago, and I spent a lot of time kind of emotionally zoned-out. I knew I was grieving but couldn't connect very easily with my feelings. I watched the first ten minutes of Up (and sometime the rest of the movie, to recover) about once a week for about a year just so that I could cry. I appreciated the artfulness and effectiveness of the manipulation.

I'd love to see a live-action remake with an all-female cast though.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:43 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Such an effective opening that, reading through your comments, I'm moved to tears hu-gain and my whole ass is at work, right now.
posted by BlunderingArtist at 10:55 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: all seven of you are going to show up in this thread. (Plus someone who knows the people who made it.)

Hi. I'm friends with Angus MacLane, director of Lightyear, and who has been an animator at Pixar for much of his career.

I think it's important for people who feel "manipulated" by Pixar films to remember that there are real human people working there who are trying very hard to just make the best movie they can. They're not trying to cynically manufacture a machine to extract your tears, but they are trying to put real emotion into this stuff.

Anyway, I haven't seen Up since the theater, because my ex-wife and I had suffered through a miscarriage not long before seeing the movie, and the opening wrecked us.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:38 AM on June 21 [8 favorites]


*chef's kiss to this thread*
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 12:29 PM on June 21


Metafilter: Your faves reviewed by Statler, Waldorf and The Grinch, amirite? LOL nah but seriously, they needed to show why the old guy is refusing to leave his house, and it's because it holds all these memories! Well so what you say, we all have memories, big deal, but no, watch these specific memories then you'll understand! (If you aren't a muppet.)
posted by Coaticass at 5:32 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Huh. I somehow find animated/drawn things more poignant and affecting and sometimes scarring than live-action, very often. I tried to read the Constantine comics and had to quit and there are a few panels that are still stuck in my head because they horrified me on a really deep level. It's not that I love live-action gore and horror movies, but the times I've seen stuff like that have not stuck like limpets to me.

I'm not sure there's an animated movie out there that I have watched and not at least teared up at. Sometimes it's because it's beautiful, sometimes it's because it's sad. But it affects me really directly.
posted by PussKillian at 9:03 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


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