The most tender, touching and deftly told love story of the year is in the opening few minutes of Up (Disney), a wordless survey of a lifelong romance that plays out between the meeting of two adventure-hungry children and the lonely sunset years of the widowed husband decades later, the happiness gone with the death of his wife. That’s just the prologue but it communicates the depth of emotion and devotion and need that will continue to reverberate behind the comic comments and outlandish fantasy adventure, a mix Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, the romance of explorers from thirties lore and Boy’s Own Adventures, the bubble-gum colors of a children’s picture book and a bouncy humor, all stirred with memories of childhood dreams.
I review the film, which is another wonder from Pixar (this one directed by Pete Docter, of Monsters, Inc. fame), in detail on my blog here. As for the DVD and Blu-ray release, it’s another excellent Disney disc with well-produced supplements designed to appeal to adults and children alike. There are two animated shorts—Partly Cloudy, which preceded the film in theaters, and Dug’s Special Mission, an affectionate Looney Tunes-esque piece featuring the affectionate and overexcited pup that slowly reveals itself as a prequel of sorts—and a real-life adventure featurette. “Adventure is Out There” follows the production crew’s own trip to South America and the real-life table-top mountains that will become the film’s destination, and it’s a wonderful trip for us. Like the travelers themselves, we marvel at how much the amazing and unreal the actual formations look, and that personal connection makes this documentary into a adventure of sorts for the filmmakers. There’s also commentary by director Pete Docter and co-director Bob Peterson and the featurette “The Many Endings of Muntz,” where the writers and creators discuss how and why they settled on the final exit for the film’s villain and reveal so much about the Pixar storytelling process along the way. There’s a reason they are best storytellers working in animation (and some might say all movies) today.