The Cannes Film Festival opened today (Wednesdy) on a high note, both literally and figuratively, with the screening of Disney/Pixar's Up for the press in the morning and the invitational screening this evening. There appeared to be general agreement among the writers that Pixar will have its tenth straight hit with the movie. And with the main character, an elderly gentleman voiced by Ed Asner, becoming the first senior citizen since Mr. Magoo to be the focus of an animated film, it is likely to attract ticket buyers of all ages. (Indeed, the villain, voiced by Christopher Plummer, is named Muntz, a name likely to be recognized by baby boomers who can recall Earl "Madman" Muntz, a post-WWII used-car salesman who introduced low-cost TV sets in the '50s ("I wanted to give them away, but my wife wouldn't let me -- she thinks I'm craaazy!"), eight-track stereo car systems in the '60s, and home satellite units in the '70s. (The filmmakers have not indicated whether they borrowed his name; it is also the name of a Simpsons character.) In his review of the movie, Daily Variety 's Todd McCarthy remarked, "The two leading men are 78 and 8 years old, and the age range of those who will appreciate the picture is even a bit wider than that." At a news conference following the press screening, Ed Catmull, president of Disney Animation, commented "There's a perception that animated films are for kids. A lot of people have that, which I think is very unfortunate. The films are made by adults who have very adult concerns." And John Lasseter, who holds the title of chief creative officer at Disney/Pixar, told reporters that the decision by Cannes officials to spotlight Up as the festival's opening film this year represents "one of the greatest kinds of rewards, it's one of the greatest things that's happened to us in our career. ... To see animation respected at the world's premier film festival ... you pinch yourself."

13/05/2009