Entertainment behind the scenes
In Pixar’s 2007 movie “Ratatouille,” a food critic played by Peter O’Toole offers a glowing review of a restaurant run by a rat, in a poignant scene at the climax of the film. O’Toole’s dramatic speech begins with the words, “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy,” before going on to say that his true job is the “defense of the new.” When it comes to Disney/Pixar’s latest animated release “Up,” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times is on a similar wavelength. “Some films are an obligation to write about, ‘Up’ is the purest pleasure,” he reports.
Nearly all of Turan’s fellow critics agree about “Up,” which opens on Friday floating on a wave of box office success for other family-oriented films. The movie is about an old man and a boy who set off in a house carried skyward by 20,622 helium balloons. The aggregating Web site rottentomatoes.com reports that as of Thursday afternoon, 97 percent of critics have given the movie a favorable rating. Rotten Tomatoes has stamped all 10 Pixar films with its “Certified Fresh” seal of approval, going back to the 1995 “Toy Story.”
Turan in his review said that “Up” is noteworthy for starring an old man, voiced by Ed Asner, who appears genuinely old, instead of having the physicality of a young man. ”This is a film that is heartfelt enough to restore your faith in whatever needs restoration,” Turan wrote.
David Edelstein of New York Magazine remarked on the computer-generated imagery (CGI) of the film. “The look of ‘Up’ is a world away from Pixar’s usual CGI intricacies – simple in a way that only artists with a genius for complexity can achieve.”
Call it a Cannes-style recession, courtesy of Disney magic. Even though there are fewer people at this year’s film festival — merchants say business is down some 30 percent — the opening night premiere party for the movie “Up” still lit up the Croisette late Wednesday night.
The new Disney/Pixar animated movie about an old man who ties balloons onto his house and floats into the air on the journey of a lifetime opened to solid reviews by critics, and fans at last night’s premiere almost unanimously seemed to buy into its sentiment.
It’s not such a small world anymore.
One of the Disneyland theme park’s oldest and most beloved attractions — “It’s a Small World” -reopens on Friday after a make-over and the addition of 29 Disney and Pixar characters including Lilo and Stitch, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan to the cast of familiar child dolls from around the world.
Disney says some “subtle theme music” from Disney and Pixar films has also been woven into the familiar song that plays during the gentle boat ride that has been celebrating the children of the world and their message of peace and harmony since 1966.
Angelina Jolie’s new action assassin movie “Wanted” opens this weekend against the gentle-natured Disney-Pixar animation “Wall-E“ – two movies aimed at different audiences in a classic case of Hollywood studio “counterprogramming.” The different mix of movies is unlike last week when in an unusual move, two studios opened comedies against one another: “Get Smart” and “The Love Guru.”
“Get Smart” won the weekend box office sweepstakes with a roughly $40 million haul that beat expectations while “Love Guru,” disappointed with a paltry $14 million. In the case of “Wanted,” which is aimed at young adults, and “Wall-E,” a family film, both are expected to perform well and continue what has been a robust summer box office in the United States and Canada.