whatsup whatsup
Feature Film

What’s Up: Balloon to the Rescue!

Whats Up

I haven’t seen UP yet, mostly owing to the fact that there aren’t any local theaters showing it in a regular non-eye pain inducing theatrical version. The good news is that if I wait until August, I can check out the GoodTimes Home Video version called What’s Up: Balloon to the Rescue. As long as it’s got a flying house, an old man and a kid, I’ll be happy.

(via I Watch Stuff)

  • Jonah Sidhom

    Can Disney sue for something like that?

    By the way, seeing it in 3D didn’t hurt my eyes at all… it worked amazingly well actually.
    Wearing blue and red glasses is what always hurt my eyes, and I could never see the 3D effect anyway.

    I hope this new 3D is here to stay, because I had a blast seeing it used in UP (and it will only get better).

  • Fuzzy Dunlop

    But this one has TWO old men!

    Also, how close is the balloon flying to the sun to create a shadow like that?

  • The “I Watch Stuff” article made a good point about clueless parents accidentally renting this for their kids in the future, thinking they are getting UP. crummy crummy. I kinda want to see it though.

  • sporridge

    Coming sooner than later to the $1.99 bin (aka The Island of Lost DVDs), with at least five price stickers plastered atop each other…

  • Oh god, I can’t wait. I’ll put it on my shelf next to Ratatoing and Tiny Robots and be the happiest girl in Christendom.

  • I am blown away { pun intended } that this stuff happens!
    It’s funny { in a very messed up way }
    and sad at the same time :-) :-(

    btw, 2 old men… TWICE as GOOD !

  • David

    You’d be surprised how often these types of rip-offs succeed, sales-wise. Working in a video store some years ago, I remember regularly warning clueless customers away from similar rip-off variations on THE LITTLE MERMAID or POCAHONTAS. Grandparent-types seemed to be the most vulnerable to being fooled by these, not having a clue that they weren’t getting the Disney versions.

  • Paul K.

    Heh, shameless.

    I feel sorry for the future gift recipients of this, especially from those earnest attempts to get the actual “Up” DVD, when released.

    When Charles Caleb Colton apparently coined the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest flattery,” I don’t think blatant intellectual property infringement would be considered complimentary.

    Though I must admire the ambition to walk the fine line of high-stakes litigation to how much the product must, and cannot resemble the targeted result. I wonder who would make the final cut, the director or the team of lawyers?

  • This reminds me an awful lot about those mockbusters that Asylum makes and tries to pass off as movies. You know, movies like the Day the Earth Stopped (it didn’t just stand still, it stopped!) and Snakes on a Train (you know, but on a train!). At least 20th Century Fox attempted to sue the Asylum once (albeit unsuccessfully) to get one of their films to be kept off the shelves.

  • The balls these guys have to pull this off is even bigger than their balloon ;-)

    Seriously, can parents be THAT stupid to mistake this with the real thing? Maybe 70-year-old Granny, but only because she has a bad case of myopia —and Alzheimer’s.

    But with all the money spent in billboards and posters —not to mention the effort and talent Pixar employs to make their characters unique!— I fail to see how an intelligent adult could fall for this.

  • Jonah Sidhom

    Brooke: This isn’t a Christian movie, is it?
    Or was that just a random attempt at an insult?

    Anyway, turns out Disney actually has sued them before:

  • Saturnome

    I wonder what it’s like to work on these things, to be an animator on this. In my rainbows & poneys happy world, I bet their heart is a dark gray, deflated hairy thing. But I guess in reality they’re doing it for the paycheck and do not care a single bit.

  • john

    So THAT’s why Transmorphers wasn’t all I thought it would be.

  • Brianski

    The reason Pixar puts out such incredible films is because the animators love what they do. They care a great deal about rip offs.

  • I bet its rates a 10 on the vomit scale !!

  • Adam Hagopian

    It’s got 99% fresh on rotten tomatoes!

  • a reader

    I think I’m going to be sick.

  • JPilot

    I would love to see a movie about an animation studio that produces those rip-offs. I think Mike Judge should consider doing it. Like “Office Space”, except this studio has 200 accountants and one very drunk animator.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Well, you can always rent the Russ Meyer version from 1976.

  • This one made me cry 34 times!

  • J. Shamblin

    $$$ Cha-ching!!! $$$

    Who cares if the story is any good as long as they have fart jokes and pop culture references!

    Coming soon: The Princess and the Toad.

  • Paul N

    Uh, gang? “UP” had two old men in it too… ;0)

  • vzk

    The should have called it “Whassup?” Sponsored by Budweiser.

    Yeah, 10 years too-late, but who cares?

  • Who knows maybe it will get some nominations at the annies next year

  • Matt Sullivan


    No shame! None! Wow.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Could be worse, someone will try to tie in the classic tune “Up, Up & Away” to all this as well!

  • quote from Paul N : ” Uh, gang? “UP” had two old men in it too… ;0) ”

    oops…. I see the movie this weekend.

  • Ridgecity

    “What’s UP featuring TWO old men…”

    is it about viagra?

  • Coming to a supermarket checkout stand or $5 DVD bargain bin near you!

  • Geoff. W.

    And in an odd twist of fate, this film ends up not only being better than Up, but becomes the first animated film to sweep every major awards ceremony, even in categories that animation has never been nominated in before (ex – The Oscars Best Director?)

    Admittedly, I’ve seen other similar ripoff flicks (Little Cars is one, I think), and have a masochistic curiosity of seeing one…

    (whew, it feels good to get that weight off my chest)

  • Tom D.

    pixar makes bug’s life, and dreamworks makes antz.

    pixar makes finding nemo, and dreamworks makes shark tales.

    pixar makes monsters inc, and dreamworks makes shrek.

    pixar makes ratatoullie, and dreamworks makes flushed away.

    pixars makes the incredibles, and dreamworks makes monsters vs aliens.

    point being… so why shouldn’t somebody else get in on the action? this is obviously the way to build a multi-billion dollar animation studio!

  • For IP rape, nobody beats Phoenix Games. You may have already featured them but, if not, I’d recommend taking the time to browse their site – a gallery of crimes against animation, specifically Disney.

    For example, take their Playstation 2 page – http://www.phoenixgamesgroup.com/uk/ps2a.html

    Particular highlights are Cartoon Kingdom, Cinderella, Dalmations 3 and Legend of Herkules. But the real gem is the medley on the Kiddies Party Pack on page 2. It’s worth clicking on it to get the larger version where you can really appreciate the IP rip-off lion kicking the gorilla in the nads.

  • If this isn’t shamelessly copying a film frame by frame, I don’t know what is… XP

  • Jonah Sidhom

    Tom D: I don’t really see the relation between the last 3 comparisons.
    and Flushed Away wasn’t made by Dreamworks, just distributed by them I think.
    It was made by Aardman Studios

  • What’s Up?

    Crap. That’s what.

  • brendon

    For what it’s worth:
    1) It’s employing animators, which is a good thing, especially in this economy.
    2) Among people who actually know anything at all about animation/film, it’s not at all diluting the Pixar brand. The overwhelming majority of people can tell the difference between this and Up, and will have a laugh at the ripoff before buying the Pixar release (at 5 times the retail price) instead. Maybe the world’s most clueless grandparents accidentally buy this one instead of Up, or maybe some hapless parents decide to rent this instead of taking their three kids to see Up in Digital 3D (at $16 per screening per kid) for a third time. But in the long term, four years from now, no one’s gonna remember this.
    3) That character design looks twice as charming as about half of the last theatrical releases from the past decade (Hoodwinked, Fly Me to the Moon, Happily N’Ever After, Everyone’s Hero, Jimmy Neutron, and the Shrek movies all come to mind). Especially William H. Macy in the corner there.

    Yeah, it’s a cheap ripoff, and yeah, I’m sure it’s terrible, but there are good things about the animated ripoff cottage industry.

  • Jason R.

    The odd thing is, they’re both based on “Kimba the White Lion”!

  • This may be a bit off topic, but why do kids think that all 70 year olds have myopia and Alzheimers? I’m a good deal past 70, and I can still kick ass.

    Anyway, you’ll find that young buyers are duped by these rip offs as well as old.

  • Dang… I hope Pixar sues those guys´ @$$e$ off >:-(

  • Crappy knockoffs of Pixar films – they’re not just from brazil anymore.

    Video Brinquedo, watch out!

  • Aside from keeping a few animators employed (while working for the forces of evil), I’m having a hard time seeing your positives, Brendon.

    Point 2 certainly hold up. This product’s only reason for being is to create and prey on brand confusion. It serves no other purpose. If there could be no brand confusion, this simply would never have been made.

    And your point 3 really only happens as a result of point 2 and I’m not seeing ripping off designs as a positive.

  • fish

    Tom D.

    What the heck are you talking about?!?

    I’m not sure what you hoped you would accomplish with your poorly veiled attempt to poo poo on Dreamworks, but Antz came out BEFORE A Bug’s Life, Shrek came out BEFORE Monsters, Inc., Flushed Away came out BEFORE Ratatouille, and I’m not sure if you’ve seen either Monsters vs. Aliens or Incredibles, but they have absolutely nothing in common (except maybe a giant robot which hasn’t been an original idea for a bad guy for DECADES).

    Nice try though.

  • And to think, they PAID people to make this.

  • PJ

    Yeah, I gotta agree with Floyd here. And he probably could kick my ass.

  • Yup. Goodtimes get’s whatever info they can on Disney or other major animation studio’s features and knocks’em off in record time to confuse the buying public with their straight to video product.

    I have to admit out of morbid curiosity I purchased their Hunchback, Pocahontas, Anastasia and a couple of others that made me laugh out loud! Most of their efforts are laughably overlookable (if that’s a word?) but this rip off is totally blatant as the nature of the original “UP” is basically an original work and not based on a commonly available or public domain fairy tale or folk tale. Seriously…this is a legal issue that should be fun to watch in the coming weeks and months once Disney’s lawyers get a hold of it!

  • PJ

    Also, I’m confused: is it the “What’s Up Balloon” or just the “Balloon” that’s coming to the rescue? And either way, shouldn’t the emphasis be on the house attached to the balloon?

  • Obviously, my comment didn’t imply that ALL senior citizens suffer from myopia or Alzheimer’s —it was more of a lame gag on why perhaps some clueless grandparent who are not too informed with the latest movies might fall for this disgusting scam— nevertheless, if you felt offended by it, Floyd, I apologize.

    I actually felt flattered that you think I’m still a kid, considered I was born in 1973 and still remember magnetic cassettes and floppy disks. Now where the hell did I leave my glasses? ;-)

  • Ah Good Times video. Theses always make me laugh. I remeber when ” Mulan” and “A Bugs Life” were being relaesed in the same year, Good Times video combined both to cash in on both films. They released a version of Mulan with the characters all being bugs. Mulan i believe was a butterfly. Good Times,..Good Times.

  • Michael J. Hayde

    Hey! I think the old guy on the left is Grampy, making his CGI debut!

  • “pixar makes bug’s life, and dreamworks makes antz.

    pixar makes finding nemo, and dreamworks makes shark tales.

    pixar makes monsters inc, and dreamworks makes shrek.

    pixar makes ratatoullie, and dreamworks makes flushed away.

    pixars makes the incredibles, and dreamworks makes monsters vs aliens.

    point being… so why shouldn’t somebody else get in on the action?”

    Your comparisons are valid… yeah, Brand A is a funny ant movie, Brand B is a funny ant movie… Brand A is Coke, Brand B is Pepsi…


    This is extremely blatant… a house with hundreds of balloons tied to it, with an old man (old men), flying high above the clouds… you don’t see that this is a more devious, rotten rip-off than the examples you gave?

    Maybe you were kidding but if not, get REAL!!

  • Patrick

    “What’s Up: Balloon To The Rescue!” sounds like a movie title poorly translated into another language and the poorly translated back to English.

    From the creators of;

    Rat-A-Cooking: Mouse Makes Food!

    Creatures Co.: Scare You!


    Where Did Child Fish Go?

    Goll-E: The Robot Who Found a Plant In A Shoe

    Play-Thing Tale #2

  • Tom

    Doesn’t look as good as Ratatoing, but it looks better than The Little Cars.

  • brad Constantine

    I’d like to see something about penguins…
    maybe in 3d…..

  • Keith

    Fish, Antz came out before A Bug’s Life because of a heavy push to make sure it came out before A Bug’s Life. At least, that’s how I’ve always heard it; a lot of the details surrounding that story may just be conspiracy theory. It was supposed to debut some time AFTER A Bug’s Life, originally.

    But the parallels in releases between Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks is uncanny, even if some are only superficial (like Shrek & Monster’s Inc. Big hero with little sidekick, and one of ’em is green!). Pirate movie, bug movie, fish movie, rat movie. But, yeah, REALLY stretching things by linking Incredibles and MvA. And in any case, NONE of Dreamworks’ releases are doing what “What’s Up” and its ilk try to do, really, except maybe Antz.

    “What’s Up” caters to the “Really don’t know any better” crowd. They’re the people that came into the Disney Store when I worked there years ago and asked for Antz merchandise, or Anastasia dolls. They’re the people that think “Disney-Warner Bros” is one company, and ask where to find a Tweety Bird or Tasmanian Devil shirt (even though they had to pass a WB Studio Store, with all the main characters prominently displayed for passerby, to even get to the Disney Store!).

    Those are the people that buy The Little Mermaid at the grocery checkout lane, not noticing that the title character is blonde on the DVD cover. To be sure, they’re not the ONLY ones that do so; a $5 DVD is a $5 DVD, and if it does the job of entertaining the kids for an afternoon then it’s worth it to a lot of people.

  • I think what’s more frightening is the sheer speed at which this had to have been completed in and released. Though my guess is that, judging by the quality of work of similar rips, it’s something squeezed into a year at most, while riding on small bits and pieces of an upcoming film to hint at themes.

    But…but…people actually make these for a living???

    Also, Keith – boy did you bring back memories of myself working at Universal Studios and guests asking when Mickey Mouse would be appearing. The look on their faces were always priceless.

  • Some Chick

    Patrick wins the thread.

    My gosh, I thought VHS/DVD companies stopped doing this back when “The Lion King” was in theaters and each and every one of them had to rack their brains to come up with a rip-off that wouldn’t be too similar. I think the funniest was “The JUNGLE King”, where a lion got into adventures with his “KIND Uncle”. See, it’s totally different! Stop looking at us like that Disney fandom!

    By the way, “Transmorphers” is the best Mockbuster title. Amazingly, their use of the much-abused affex “Morph” is grammatically correct! (It means “shape” or “shaped like”, people, not “transform”! Sheesh! Sorry, Masters in Education rant.) Still, just… WTF? Reading it makes my eyes water.

  • Tom D.

    keith says:
    “…REALLY stretching things by linking Incredibles and MvA…”

    at their cores, both movies are about a team of heroes with super powers.

    true, one team leaned toward the fantastic four, and the other leaned toward the doom patrol, but nonetheless…

  • Donald Benson

    I don’t know if it’s so much a plot to make grandparents think it’s the same movie as to give the illusion it’s in the same ballpark. The message is, “If you liked that movie, this one has most of what you liked about it, cheap and ready to play.” Non-stupid kids and parents can fall for this at least once.

    What’s interesting is that the bottomfeeders often disinter old films that have some themic or graphic resemblance to a new film (look at all the creaky PD costume dramas that were packaged to evoke “Pirates of the Caribbean”).

    While this one does has the look of a direct ripoff, it’s entirely possible a forgotten film or failed TV series had a balloon lifting a house, at least for a scene or two. And with a title change and package art of that scene, you’ve got your Up clone.

  • Creepy

    this looks awesome!

  • Buck

    Karate Koala
    Hampton Listens to an Owl
    Happy Hands
    Solid Water Age
    Creatures vs. Otherwordly beings

    and NOW THIS???

  • No offense, Red Pill Junkie.

    Me and Carl Fredrickson are old and a tad grumpy. However, we’re still ready for adventure. Bring it on.

  • I hope they lose in this lawsuit, no respect to one’s originality.

  • wow, a mockbuster. Simultaneously there also is a film now called “The Terminators.” these folks ride on the popularity of their mainstream counterparts. not sure why no suing ensues.

  • “pixar makes monsters inc, and dreamworks makes shrek.

    pixar makes ratatoullie, and dreamworks makes flushed away.

    pixars makes the incredibles, and dreamworks makes monsters vs aliens.”

    Okay, I actually don’t find the relation between these three, but you forgot to mention Madagascar and The Wild, I tought that was the biggest of all along with antz and a bug’s life, tho the stories in both are really different.

    He, my mom once bought me a cheap cinderella when a was little xP

  • Isaac

    @brendon: What character design?

  • Speaking of not wanting to see up in 3D…
    Pete Docter spoke in an interview at avclub.com saying he wanted to use 3-D not as a gimmick, but as something that would enhance the story. And he did! I only recommend seeing this movie in 3D. The dizzying heights, the enhanced depth of plane when they reach the jungles. Like Pixar did with the animated feature, it changed the rules about what is good in a 3D movie. So don’t let the 3D turn you off.

  • vzk

    “What’s interesting is that the bottomfeeders often disinter old films that have some themic or graphic resemblance to a new film (look at all the creaky PD costume dramas that were packaged to evoke “Pirates of the Caribbean”).”

    That reminds me, there’s this Danish animated film named “Help, I’m a Fish” (haven’t seen it) released in 2000. I found out that such movie was sold in America 6 years later with the generic title “A Fish Tale”, featuring an awful CGI cover mimicking the look of “Finding Nemo” and “Shark Tale.”

  • RDee

    Well was Disney ever sued by the copyright holders of Kimba the White lion movie?

  • a reader

    “pixar makes monsters inc, and dreamworks makes shrek. pixar makes ratatoullie, and dreamworks makes flushed away. pixars makes the incredibles, and dreamworks makes monsters vs aliens.” Okay, I actually don’t find the relation between these three, but you forgot to mention Madagascar and The Wild, I tought that was the biggest of all along with antz and a bug’s life, tho the stories in both are really different.”

    The Wild was a cheapo production not made, but DISTRIBUTED by Disney. It WAS an obvious ripoff of Madagascar. which came out a year earlier.

    If you think Flushed Away was made because of Ratatouille you’ll have to take it up with Aardman Animation, not Dreamworks. Pete Lord and Sam Fell had that idea for a long time. Making it was their decision. Dreamworks bankrolled it and released it.

    Shrek was in production for years and had zip to do with Monsters Inc. in any way, shape or form. It’s a fairy-tale parody from a book by William Steig.

    There are no superheroes in MvA. It’s a flat out comedy which Incredibles is not at all. Stories utterly different.

    If Dreamworks was really interested in fooling moviegoers into seeing Sharktale because of Nemo they could have and would have done a “The Wild” number with it, which they didn’t. The films didn’t even seem to both feature fish on their posters or in the design-one’s were “realistic” the other’s completely anthropomorphic.

    I’ll bet none of these facts sways anyone, but still.

  • Procrastinator: Salvation

    Pixar really dosen’t need to waste their time with this stuff. If it’s appearing in the bargain bin for 5 bucks, it’ll take about 4 sales of WU to equal one Up. Even if TISNF.

    (BFF Jill reference, gaiz)

  • The Russ Meyer version from the 70s wasn’t in 3D, it was in 33DD.

  • brad Constantine

    all I can say is I went to see MVA and Bolt and in the first ten minutes of both I couldn’t help thinking to myself….”someone saw the Incredibles”..not story wise, not in a bad way ,
    but cinematography wise, pacing, approach to design….There is a definite connection between these films on a stylistic and presentation level…

  • Enoch Allen

    Ah, here we go again.

    Good Times must be the Asylum of knock-off animated films!

  • Chris

    Heh. I’m amused by the knee-jerk reaction to label similar stories as ‘rip-offs’ or ‘knock-offs’. I’m surprised not to see people lambasting the Japanese (I think…they may be Korean) version of Little Mermaid that often appears on budget racks at Wally-World and similar. I mean, both versions being based on a story by Hans Christen Anderson is totally irrelevant right–it’s ‘obviously’ a rip-off of the Disney movie (especially considering the non-Disney versions keep the *real* ending to the story–the mermaid dies/turns to sea-foam, folks. It’s not Happily Ever After).

    OTOH, weirdly, the Incredibles/Monsters vs. Aliens link is one I *do* see–not because of anything related to story, but just from the character model designs, particularly for the humans. Compare the woman you keep seeing in posters/ads for MvA to Mirage from the Incredibles…

  • Vince M

    ‘Snakes on a Train’? Is that where one of them concocts a scheme where they both commit a murder for the other one?

  • Kammy

    I think Vídeo Brinquedo makes a living off of inattentive parents who buy the closest thing that sounds like what there kid is asking for. Boy, must life suck to be such a kid.

  • Paul

    Does anyone remember james and the giant peach?

  • lol @ “But this one has TWO old men!”

    Everything always gets ripped off.