Long-awaited sequel to 2009’s Up in superb counterpoint to its predecessor.
After the once Edenic ‘Paradise Falls’ falls to money-grubbing developers, Carl Fredericksen decides once again that the only way is up, and inflates his last hidden store of thin, latex balloons.
In anguish, Carl, his house and (regrettably) several hundred dogs, are silently dragged to the heavens, towards the cold, dark void of space. That is until forty minutes in, when the balloons begin to over-expand at around 90,000ft, allowing Pixar’s latest creation – understood to be the last of the franchise – to freefall towards its somewhat atypical conclusion.
One of the real strengths of the film is its appeal to a family audience. Carl’s stoic ambition has been called a lesson in perseverance from which both adults and children can learn. Some parents will enjoy the film’s dark, dark humour. And for the children there are loads and loads of dogs.
“It seemed like they were falling forever,” said one child. “I don’t really understand what happened at the end.” A Disney spokeman concurred: “We expect the kids will be mostly oblivious to the obvious oblivion.”
Critics at the première had mixed reviews. While “definitely not uplifting” – with Carl described as a “drunk, self-destructive Icarus” – reviewers unanimously agreed that Down “falls with style”. Disney officials present at the screening were active in using any means necessary to make sure that every sobbing child was crying ‘tears of joy’.
Later at the reception, a toddler was praised for her mature understanding, after claiming that it would be impossible at her age “to ascertain the gravity of his situation”. Director David Lynch made no comment.