Does it fly high, or go over like a lead balloon?
As someone who has followed their work over the years, I find it worth noting that, for a company seemingly dedicated to making animated children's films, Pixar has been taking an increasingly darker tone. Oh sure, there have always been the odd moment in every movie (Buzz Lightyear finally coming to the realization that he is indeed just a toy, for example), but they were most often turning points in the story. However, those more mature themes have served as more of a backdrop than any sort of real catalyst in at least their last two works. In WALL-E, the studio gave us a rather thinly veiled social commentary in a disheartening glimpse of what life could be, while the beginning of Up provides a grim reminder of how it often is. In the beginning, Up starts out almost deceptively charming. You're treated to the story of Carl and Elle, two children who meet, grow up together and, of course, fall in love. The mood quickly changes once they are married, though, and you witness all that promise washed away as tragedy after tragedy strikes: they find themselves unable to conceive, their childhood hopes of exotic travel are dashed (repeatedly) and, eventually, she passes on, leaving a developer-hounded Carl to become alone and bitter and the audience to become uncharacteristically morose. At least, that's how it was in the theaters...
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