This is the last in my little series of art book reviews I am uploading before I go on vacation. I hope you have enjoyed them! You guys all know my favorite movie, not just animated, is Up. It’s a movie that for whatever reason really spoke to me when I first saw it and it continues to do so on each rewatch. To me it is about grief and remembering our loved ones but moving on too. It embraces a spirit of adventure and travel while still feeling remarkably intimate and close. I just love it. So naturally when I heard there was an art book for Up I had to have it!!
One cool thing in this art book is to learn to the Pixar creators it was their chance to make their version of Peter Pan. I have never thought about that before. Pete Docter says in the preface “odd as it was the image of a floating house captured that feeling of escaping the world…4 years later more than 300 of us are floating along in our studio-sized house, making this movie. And although from time to time I still long to escape from it ll. I’m so happy to have had the chance to work with these amazing people. As Carl discovers, it’s the people you’re with who make the adventure worthwhile.”
In the introductory essay you learn about how the creators were inspired by the notion of a ‘coming of old age story’ and the desire all of us have to escape. We learn they started with the idea of a floating city and then it evolved to just one man. Pete Docter says “the story has simple beginnings, in thoughts like, ‘We get a kick out of old people. IS there anything fun we can do with an old person’. Pete had evidently drawn an old grumpy man holding a bunch of balloons and that inspired them. Isn’t that interesting?
Then they got the idea of a couple and the life they had together. Then when she is gone Carl feels all this regret “Carl had led a very simple life, he felt he had not fulfilled her hopes and dreams. She died before he could. So he has this guilt throughout the journey, thinking ‘all I want to do is fulfill this wish for Ellie. I missed this”. I loved reading this because it is the true reason I love Up so much. This journey of self-forgiveness that Carl goes on is so moving.
And then he says “There is a strong moment when Carl’s wife gives him absolution, a reminder that ‘the life that we lived together was a great adventure-and I was not wanting more. You are my greatest adventure’ I love that”. I love it too! As much as people love the opening montage I think I love that moment with the scrapbook even more.
And this is all before the first chapter of the book! The first chapter is called Seeking Simplicity and it is mostly about the characters and overall art design of the film. The book gives you tons of concept art and sculptures the characters and scenes of the film.
Then next we get a chapter about the house and the meaning of home to the artists.
It’s really cool to see all the thought that went into every detail from the weather veins to the stove, picture frames and lamps inside. “Pete wanted the house to feel claustrophobic because Carl doesn’t ever leave it, and his world has become very small. But then for the tepui and Muntz’s lair, the scale had to feel grand”
Next we get a chapter on the The Tepuis in South America and the beautiful Mountain waterfalls that inspired the film.
I love that we get quotes throughout from the entire team behind the project from art directors, editors and designers and it is all beautiful work. It is clear they were all inspired by Pete Docter’s vision. This section is long and it also includes more character design from Russell, Kevin and Dug.
Throughout the book we get lots of storyboards and concept art and it is all a joy to look at!
The Art of Up is really only for people who love this movie and were inspired by its vision. As that includes me it is wonderful to own. I love seeing the progression of an idea of a floating city and Pete Docter’s desire to escape morph and change into something truly special. The heart and passion that he had for this film clearly trickled down to all involved. The art work is beautiful the text is inspiring. It’s a perfect companion to a great movie! So if you like Up get this art book. I know you will love it too!