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Feature Film

Teaser Trailer for Pixar’s Up


This weekend at Comic-Con, Pixar previewed footage from their next film, Up, directed by Pete Docter. They’ve also just released the first teaser trailer for the film:

FirstShowing.net offers this description of the plot:

Our hero is the 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner), a short and square little man who walks with a cane. When he was young he met a girl and fell in love with her. Her dream was always to explore Paradise Falls in Venezuela, but unfortunately life got in the way and it never came true. Now Carl is an old widower and he sets off on his own to head down to South America to live out that dream before his life ends. Most of the movie takes place in the wonderfully envisioned mountains of Venezuela, where Carl eventually lands after his house sails south…Along the way, Carl meets numerous other characters and creatures. One of them that Docter showed us was a young, chubby 9-year-old boy named Russell. He’s collected all the merit badges (for the Wilderness Club) except one – assisting the elderly. So he stows away in Carl’s house and floats with him down to Venezuela as well.

Footage from the film was premiered in San Diego alongside clips from Disney’s Bolt. While Bolt went over well, Up made “fanboys run for the exits,” according to this report on the Spout blog. Some people enjoyed it however. Entertainment Weekly says that there was no contest between which of the two films looked better: “Bolt proved suitably entertaining…then immediately lackluster, once director Pete Docter (Monsters Inc.) came out and debuted a few scenes from Pixar’s Up.”

Personally, all I can say is that I’m excited. In fact, I’m looking more forward to this film than any Pixar effort since The Incredibles. As much as the risk-taking and experimentation in Wall-E were commendable, the film taxed my patience with what I found to be unrelatable and largely uninvolving metallic leads. Up, on the other hand, is already in the plus column by having introduced a main character with a compelling and human story that I want to learn more about. My interest is piqued.

UPDATE: Harry McCracken gives in-depth and interesting perspectives of the Comic-Con footage he saw from Bolt and Up.

  • I read about the first few minutes of Up a while ago and thought they were among the most compelling stuff I’d heard of in a while. As long as they don’t scrap them (after Ratatouille and American Dog, I’m insanely paranoid regarding Lasseter), this is the Pixar project I’m looking forward to the most. Not that there’s that much competition.

    The Spout article is rage-worthy, by the way.

  • Anything which sends “fanboys” running for the exits sounds like a GREAT movie .

  • blurple

    So this isn’t a Russ Meyer’s Up! remake?

  • Jason

    I’m sorry – Pixar fan here – but Up looks like a complete artsy-fartsy snore. Frankly I’ve been a little worried about Pixar since Ratatouille came out…like it’s been reaching too much…to the point that its reach is now beyond its grasp. Bolt, on the other hand, looks like great fun. A simple story with characters folks can easily identify with. Like an uber-updated Rin Tin Tin. My kid already wants a Bolt stuffed toy. (I’d like one that ISN’T manufactured in China. I know, I know, dream on, silly dreamer…)

  • FP

    Re:–Carl is an old widower and he sets off on his own to head down to South America to live out that dream before his life ends. Most of the movie takes place in the wonderfully envisioned mountains of Venezuela, where Carl eventually lands–

    Gee, that sounds really boring, like CARS and RATATOUILLE were. I’d head for the exits, too. Too many PIXAR films are a joy to watch from a technical standpoint, but not otherwise entertaining. Still, I buy DVDs of every damn one…

  • Well, I think it’s a load of crap that they think Bolt can possibly look better than anything.

  • James

    There’s not much to the trailer really, but you can sense already that there’s more to the main character than with wall-e. Looks good.

  • Kevin

    Rage-worthy? People *were* streaming for the exits when that footage ran. The fanboy crowd didn’t really get what Docter was showing, and they weren’t enraptured like they were for crap like Underworld: The Lame Sequel Prequel.

  • And that’s why it’s rage-worthy.

  • Chuck R.

    I don’t think anyone has ever been “sold” on a Pixar trailer. Just flash “from the creators of Toy Story” followed by the title, and discerning viewers craving quality entertainment magically arrive.

    If “Up” owes anything to Miyazaki or Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach) that’s all for the better.

  • tom

    I think that there is a certain crowd who won’t like something that reaches and would instead like Pixar to make a Cars sequel or a Buzz Lightyear goes to Mars movie or something, and while I’ll see anything they want to show me, I’ll say that I have been especially loving the last post-Cars films from Pixar. Ratatouille is the default DVD in my player and has been for many weeks.

    And SDCC fanholes ‘streaming for the exits’ isn’t exactly a critical reaction I’d call noteworthy myself. If it’s not batman or buffy they’re off to the next bright color or loud noise.

  • Jon Pernisek

    Ah yes, simple stories with characters we can all relate to, surely the staples of classic entertainment. Or, from another perspective, the staples of bland, marketing-driven features destined to collect dust next to the likes of Robots, Open Range, and Shark Tale. Give me the strange and experimental Pixar over all other CGI work any day of the week. It’s better to potentially overextend your reach than never to have experimented at all. And as far as I’m concerned, Wall-E was an incredibly relatable character in what was essentially a masterpiece of visuals and storytelling. Of course, this is coming from someone who enjoyed the (strangely) much-maligned Cars, which is arguably Pixar at its safest point.

  • Gobo

    This could indeed be riskier than WALL-E; a movie dealing with old age and, since he’s a widower, death, is going to get a lot of flak from parents. And it’s putting the weight of the entire film on a stubby, grumpy old man voiced by Ed Asner. That’s a big risk that could pay off hugely.

    But as for WALL-E, I don’t need my main characters to be human, or made out of flesh and bone, to be emotionally involved with them.

  • Alex

    Up looks like a real change, maybe a historic animated movie. Most animated movies in America are created with kids in mind (and when they don’t, they’re usually made to be rated X, as if that is the meaning of adult). This looks super smart, like a Sedaris novel or a good indie movie. Screw the fanboys (note, these are fanboys who came expecting to see *Bolt*, the umpteenth talking animal on a great adventure movie), this is Pixar still doing things diffirently. Yay! (Reminds me of Triplets of Belleville a bit in subject matter.)

    Oh, and the trailer got taken down! POUT~

  • Franklin

    “like it’s been reaching too much…”

    Then you must have LOVED kungfupanda, which was happy to retread old ideas and just sit there.

  • Dave (Odd)

    Fanboys don’t like it because there’s not enough pointless action and thrashing around. Where are the dynamic camera swoops and swinging-from-vines robot monkeys?

  • TheAnimator

    So is this the final design, it looks like stop motion with clay models. Or is this just a fun design for a teaser? Either way as an animator I’m curious to see what its all about and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I’ll be keeping tabs on this movie til it’s release.

  • captain murphy

    Amid, please clarify- the article seems positive for it, butin context of all positive you say “fanboys running for the exit” does that mean they hated it and left, or had to go run out in the hall and go “OMG PIXAR IS TEH AWESOME!!” ?

    Okay, context of the spout post the idiom means what it usually means it means “Teh suxxor”. But Fanboys can like miyazaki, can’t they?

    Maybe pixar is trying to go for tots and their parents, not tweens.

  • Evan

    Sorry, but by all accounts that I’ve heard from the folks who saw the footage at Comic Con, Bolt is looking like a smash hit. Sorry, haters, but your naysaying looks like it was misguided. Disney may be looking at a homerun here, and leaving the too-cool-for-school crowd sputtering “b-b-but Chris Sanders!!” Haven’t seen enough on Up to make any decent judgement yet, but I imagine it will be on par with Pixar’s usual excellence. But the real story here is Bolt, for exceeding all expectations by fairly wide margins.

  • Wow, I think that “Up” really sounds heartwarming!!! I think it’s really smart of Pixar not to keep on producing the same fastserving stories people expect or want to see in the first place.

    But that’s what’s wrong with the industry in the first place isn’t it? It’s like people want to see the same stuff over and over again, but slightly different. And it’s the good talented people who actually come up with the new awesome stuff, who get the boot ( same thing with the Speed Racer movie, which, really really ROCKS!!! )

    Well, good job in keeping it fresh Pixar!!!

  • Jim

    Is anyone worried that Pixar is headed down that same, ‘importance’-over-fun route that Disney slipped into after the critical acclaim heaped upon Beauty & The Beat and The Lion King? I’m not saying that Wall-E is their Pocahontas or that Up will be their Hunchback. I’m just curious if anyone else is sensing a…self-importance to their recent films (for lack of a better word).

  • Personally, I will not go into comparisons between Bolt and Up because they are two different movies, two different genres, which I like to see more of in feature animation. Bolt looks like it can be fun-filled kid fare (which I have no problem with), and Up is going in a totally different direction. If there is something that animation needs its diversity in its subject matter, and I think there’s plenty of room for both Bolt and Up.

  • Matt Sullivan

    This sounds absolutely intriguing. I hope some cynical fanboy sees it and finds himself moved to tears. I’ve hear it’s a real tearjerker.

  • Jason

    **Rage-worthy? People *were* streaming for the exits when that footage ran.**

    Ah, good. I hope Docter noticed that. It’s what you call a “snap out of it!” moment. :D

  • corey cartoon elite

    rewind back to the teaser for Wall-E

    same thing.

    Up will be good. It’s Pixar. Bolt will be mmyeehhh… it’s Disney.

  • Was I even in the same room?

    The Geek with the camera pointed at himself was funny, though.

  • Jon Reeves

    In fact, in response to a question, Docter gave an explicit shout-out to Miyazaki, while also being careful not to admit too much influence. And I’m with Amid on this one — I’m anticipating it more than I have the last two Pixar films, now that I’ve seen the footage and heard from Pete.

  • Pedro Nakama

    This plot sounds pretty good.

  • Jon Pernisek

    I’ll concede that the animation genre needs to be diverse in its storytelling, but nothing from Bolt has actually made me sit up and take notice or want to buy a ticket come its release. Not the animation, which while leaps and bounds beyond the efforts of Dreamworks has such standard, workmanlike character designs that I can barely recall anything from the trailer; and certainly not the plot, which was essentially covered with Buzz Lightyear’s arc in the original Toy Story. And remember, just because something makes a lot of money in the long run and sells a lot of toys does not mean it will join the ranks of truly memorable animation. The Shrek films rake in cash like nobody’s business, but I think we can all agree that isn’t in any way equatable to their quality.

  • The Obvious

    I think Pixar is a wonderful studio, and I really admire their aspirations. I think that it is safe to say that most creatives are in love with the very idea of Pixar. I know I am, and I will see “UP”.

    That having been said, they get a pass on a lot of things that a company like Dreamworks would never get a pass on and I think it is because the creative community knows Pixar’s heart is in the right place. I understand why everyone sees Pixar as drastically different than a studio like Dreamworks, and I know in many substantial ways Pixar and Dreamworks are, but neither is immune to making bad creative decisions. Artists often do.

    Wall-E’s overtly didactic message and artistic choices may not be for everybody, and just because many artists are in love with it doesn’t make it flawless. Kung Fu Panda has flaws as well, but they have been beaten to death while Wall-E’s have been largely ignored.

    As someone who likes Pixar and who is ambivalent about Dreamworks, let me just say that the way both studios are approached in terms of criticism is very lopsided. Granted criticizing Dreamworks is not approached with the same level of fervor and rage that is applied to anything within 100 yards of George Lucas’ name, but that’s another story…

  • Inkan1969

    Hmm, I trust Pixar. I don’t see why this teaser would make fanboys run away. Venezuela. Maybe Hugo Chavez will have a cameo. :-)

  • Saturnome

    I can’t even believe there’s arguments and debates around this. It looks wonderful, and in counterpart I’m no losing my time bashing at Bolt for the sole reason that it’s not my kind of film, judging from what I know. Reverse should apply.

    Oh wait, it’s internet. Of course we need drama!

  • Jason

    *Is anyone worried that Pixar is headed down that same, ‘importance’-over-fun route that Disney slipped into after the critical acclaim heaped upon Beauty & The Beat and The Lion King? I’m not saying that Wall-E is their Pocahontas or that Up will be their Hunchback. I’m just curious if anyone else is sensing a…self-importance to their recent films (for lack of a better word).*

    Yes, exactly, that’s how I feel. You put my worries into words better than I did.

  • Esn

    “Jim says:
    Is anyone worried that Pixar is headed down that same, ‘importance’-over-fun route that Disney slipped into after the critical acclaim heaped upon Beauty & The Beat and The Lion King?”

    I think the main difference there is that Disney never had the maturity to pull it off. They kept trying to do serious films but at the same time keep the filmmaking habits from their less serious films. The one undermined the other. In essence, they were trying to have their cake and eat it too. i.e. How could anyone take Pocahontas seriously after that ridiculous opening song?

    Pixar seems to have taken some lessons from other animation traditions around the world and understood to some extent that if you want to tell different stories well, you have to change the way you tell them. They’re still tied down by some conventions, but not nearly as many as Disney was at that time (1 – every film had to have a ridiculous evil villain who was behind everything, 2 – every film had to have a love story, no matter what the plot was about, 3 – every film had to have a certain number of songs, 4 – every film had to have talking animals/inanimate objects… and on and on).

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to “Up”. I’m also looking forward to another upcoming American animated feature about an elderly man. Perhaps most of you haven’t heard of it. It’s called “My Dog Tulip”:

  • Bobby D.

    Can you imagine if “Cars”, “Rat”, “Wall-E” and “Up” were Pixar’s only films? What an odd body of work it would be, indeed. The “post ‘Lion King’ debate”, could really pick up speed, especially if “Up” delivers the same kind of esoteric fare it’s suggesting…these films are quite different from Pixar’s “earlier funny films”…(just ask Woody Allen)!

  • Damn it, I’m so excited again! And I have to wait…again.

  • I always think of Pixar films in blocks of three:

    1) Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story
    2)Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles
    3)Cars, Ratatouille and WALL-E

    So Up’s the first of a new three. But I’m thinking that number two contains three films that had massive appeal to me from the original, one paragraph story.
    3 only contains one, and that’s WALL-E.

    I’m not entirely sure whether Pixar are doing the right thing with taking risks in stories that sort of switch the audience. I don’t want it to be Dreamworks with it using the same crappy jokes to try and make new films, but maybe It’s time we accepted Pixar not as a series of films but an entire, fully-fledged studio that’s creating different films for different audiences.
    I think in time we’ll see it break away from it’s market completely and really experiment more than ever before.

  • Bob T

    It looks like fun. They had me chuckling over a guy who only said “afternoon”, that’s quite a feat.

    I don’t know why, but I have a feeling this will become one of my favorites. The idea of an old man having adventures around the world just sounds like a lot of fun.

    It also seems to have enough melancholy in it to make me cry.

    I’m looking forward to it.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I know as a fellow animator I’m obligated to hate BOLT, but darn it, that dog is just so darn cute. i find myself liking BOLT, perhaps on its look alone. It remains to be seen whether the film can stand on its own.

    As for UP, I am ALWAYS in favor of unpredictable films. I hate walking out of formulaic movies and it happens more often than it should.

  • ESN – thanks for that Tulip link.
    It’s marvellous.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    The premise sounds like something that would be a good project for Hayao Miyazaki.

  • The teaser just looks like more of the same. If you want to see an animated balloon done excellently watch Dick Williams’ animation in the closing titles of Raggedy Ann & Andy. It actually plays with the weight, as a balloon’s animation should, and the transparency.

  • Rat
  • Jon Pernisek

    I agree with Esn’s earlier comments. Disney is a great example of a studio that actually overextended its reach, making films like Pocahontas and Hunchback that claimed to break new ground but ended up being strange train wrecks of adult themes and the need to create marketable, wacky characters. Pixar is an infintely more mature studio at this point, and that is why I’m much more inclined to see its output than that of Disney. And let’s not forget that Pixar’s upcoming slate includes Cars 2 and Toy Story 3, so it’s not like anyone can claim they’ve forgotten the bottom line–make solid, marketable work so you can continue to make solid, experimental work. The key word here being ‘solid’, something Disney hasn’t been able to claim in quite a while. I dunno, for all I know Bolt will be just downright fun and entertaining, but I highly doubt it will be memorable in any way.

  • Gotta love all these armchair CEO’s here.

  • Hey! You guys haven’t even seen the film yet. Chill out. Everything is cool. Trust me.

  • Do a Ctrl F on “Evan says” because I totally agree. Bolt will be well received regardless of how it was produced or what it represents. Anyway, it’s too soon to call it for Up, but c’mon, it’s from Pixar!
    I’d like to think as William Chappell suggests this is another 3-movie-block-era for Pixar, I think it’ll be the “Satoshi Kon Era”– Up is just Tokyo Godfathers when everyone expects another Paprika.

  • Oscar Grillo

    Once Peter Docter made me cry with A FLIP BOOK!!…So, anything he must have done in UP I am sure it is bound to be a masterpiece!

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Well it looks better then Wall-E but I am not getting my hopes up too high.

  • I remember being unimpressed by Finding Nemo’s teaser trailer, and then liking the film immensely. Let’s see if Up (damn whoever made the Russ Meyer reference, now I’m going to be expecting a cameo by Hitler!) can do the same turnaround in my mind (I’m guessing it probably will).

  • Tommy

    Really, this movie, or at least the teaser trailer, would have totally freaked me out as a kid. Fear of heights + creaky balloon ship held up by tiny strings piloted by an old man standing at the edge of the door.

  • For all the “Pixar is getting self important” commenters, just have a look at the films coming AFTER Up. What do you see? A couple of sequals, some live action and a couple of original stories.

    So Pixar is diversifying. Which can only be a good thing because it means they aren’t getting stuck in an animation rut. They are going to be making different films for different audiences and they’ve been building to that through releases like Rat., Wall-E and Up. But they aren’t forgetting where they’ve come from with stuff like Toy Story 3 and Cars 2.

    There seem to be people who denounce change in the studio, wanting them to pump out stories that only appeal to a certain demographic or the same story with different characters. This is the quickest way for a business to fold because they become too defendant on one particular thing which customers will eventually tire of.

    And as someone mentioned earlier, this is exactly the same reaction a lot of people had when the Wall-E teaser was shown. There seems to be a large portion of people who, if you ask them what they want to see, will just say “more of the same” because they have no imagination or understanding for how to move storytelling forward.

  • Foosball Lova

    These are quotes from various blogs:

    “The buzz on Bolt thus far has been negative in most circles, not because of the quality but because of the troubled pre-production (Disney fired the original creator and revamped the story).

    Still, based on what was screened this morning at Comic-Con, it looks to be quite a step up for a studio that has been creatively stagnant for years. While Bolt feels like a Pixar carbon-copy, the twenty minutes that were screened seems to capture a lot of their charm. Visually, it’s really quite gorgeous. ”

    “Just got done with the Disney panel; they did a magnificent job. The crowd really ate up Bolt, with over 20 minutes of footage, thats a lot of face time with the actual movie, and it sold me completely. I went from not interested to must see.”

    “After these scenes, the crowd roared with applause and was more than primed for the November release of Bolt. This was a nice little surprise from Disney and SDCC.”

    “Bolt charges the oncoming car and headbutts the grill, and the car stops dead in its tracks, and flips over into the air over Bolt and Penny. They’re now being chased by bikers and helicopters. The use of props and humor for this sequence was fantastic. The animation looked really good too.”

  • I’m going to have to try and erase all memory of up from my brain now, because the wait will be too much to bare. It’s coming out next summer, ugh, that’s far too long. I’m a sappy sap so the synopsis of the first few minutes alone made me weep like a baby. I can’t wait to see this but the best way to anticipate somethings arrival is to try and put it out of your mind until maybe a month or so before it finally arrives so that when it does come the wait won’t seem as long. And the voice actor has such a lovely voice too (I really can’t comment on the animation because, well, youtube) but I’m sure it will be magnificent as all the pixar films have been. here’s too great entertaining movies.

  • acetate

    Bolt looks like fun and I think most folks like to go see a movie for fun. I think the Pixar guys are making these films for themselves and hoping other people will like the films because…well THEY liked the films. They should be very wary of second guessing the average joe. People in middle america might not get as big a kick out of watching robots and floating houses as much as the “nerd/animation” community might.

  • I’ve seen the film, twice. It’s good. And you feel for this character so fast it’s beautiful… man, Pixar just has the art of storytelling so down it’s unbelievable. Can’t wait to see this fully animated.

  • Chuck R.

    Once Peter Docter made me cry with A FLIP BOOK!!

    Interesting comment, Oscar. Can you elaborate at all?

    Is Monsters Inc. a Pixar standout in your opinion? I ask because I think it’s highly underrated. The door chase climax in particular is one of the most creative and intoxicating I’ve ever seen in animation.

  • Oliver

    “How could anyone take Pocahontas seriously after that ridiculous opening song?”

    Well, Katzenberg did — it was gonna earn more than ‘Lion King’ and get nominated for Best Picture, remember?

  • Foosball Lova

    “What’s around the river bend?”

  • AmPhotog

    I get the vibe of “Howl’s Moving Castle” from the clip and plot line summary.

  • Rat

    Virginia company?

  • Roberto

    Pete Docter directed my fave Pixar film yet, Monsters Inc. and I love the idea of an elderly character precisely cause it’s interesting, new and it’s not designed for fanboys. Though if the movie is good probably people will end loving this character as well. It’s probably not the best character to sell toys, but who knows, he’s cute in his own way.

    That said I also dig the “pure fun” kind of movies (though this one looks like it could be quite fun, the old man has a funny voice and he has adventures). Anyway I really liked Kung Fu Panda and maybe Dreamworks can finally become an alternative to Pixar producing movies that are slightly more humoristic and lighthearted. The story was sometimes weak but at least the gags were more fun than Shrek or other DWs flicks, and it was visually more enjoyable.

    I believe Disney got a quite serious film in Lion King, I was rewatching it the other day and I was surprised that I still enjoy it quite a bit. I am more of a fan of older Disney and older cartoons in general and I don’t usually rewatch 90s Disney these days, but this particular movie still works very well today. It actually has the complexity of any Pixar movie. Maybe it is less original, maybe it’s a rip-off from a Japanese comic-book and it certainly has all the topic elements in Disney, but it works fine.

  • Roberto

    I’m also interested in this movie not so much because of the Miyazaki influence but more because of the elderly character and Pete Docter’s direction .Monsters Inc. is my fave Pixar movie yet because of the characters and the description of his universe, even though it might not be the one with the best plot or pacing, the part with the Yeti is kinda unnecessary and Waternoose seems a little schizophrenic sometimes…

    And even though UP looks “ambitious” it still can be funny, the voice of the character is pretty funny and he’s going to live adventures, that could be pretty cool.

    I applaude the use of an old character, which is not very commercial but who knows? If the movie is good maybe people would want to buy toys of the old man too, he’s also cute in his own way.

  • Oliver

    “I believe Disney got a quite serious film in Lion King.”

    As do I — and by managing to accommodate such a surprising degree of emotional and thematic seriousness within the traditional Disney formula, they made not only one of their best films, but one of the best animated films of all time. And the AFI agrees with me.

  • Monsters, Inc:
    “The door chase climax in particular is one of the most creative and intoxicating I’ve ever seen in animation.”

    I totally agree. I think just the artificial yet comfortable feel of the sets and the way they were lit were enough to make me love that film.

  • Killroy McFate

    The door chase was boarded and animated quite late in the process to jazz up an otherwise very talky and set-bound film.