Are you ready to get UP?

Last week, Marketing Manager Hannah Cox and I got to see an advance screening of Pixar’s next feature film, Up. I saw the first 45 minutes at WonderCon in February, so I had already been hooked by the story of elderly dreamer Carl Fredricksen and his youthfully idealistic sidekick, Russell. The recent showing was held at Pixar’s headquarters in Emeryville, CA. Since cameras and cell phones were not permitted inside, we were only able to snap this photo at the event:

The Pixar theater is behind me.

While the invitees waited for the doors to open, we toured a gallery display of concept art, character study sculptures and other behind-the-scenes artwork that Pixar set up for viewing. I recognized several pieces from our book, The Art of Up. It was a real treat to see up-close the sculptures, dioramas, and detailed treatments that went into the creation of the film.

Pixar set up a table where kids could pick up a worksheet with all of the Wilderness Explorer badges on it. Badges were hidden throughout the gallery. The kids tracked them down and checked off their list. When you watch the film, check out Russell’s badges and see if you can spot one that looks like Luxo Jr.’s rubber ball.

When our time came, we shuffled into the Pixar theater and were treated to some cool facts about the film. Did you know that there are no eyelashes, nostrils or ear openings on any of the characters in Up? As the lights went down to start the show, the theater’s ceiling lit up like a starlit night sky, complete with shooting stars.

Even though I had already seen the first 45 minutes of the film, it was a treat to see it again. I was impressed with the realistic textures and light, the luminosity and depth to Carl’s skin, the expressive voices, and the film’s ability to make me both laugh out loud and reach for my tissue to dab a tear.

Up opens Friday, May 29th. If you can’t wait until then, you can get some behind-the-scenes info on the film and the writing of The Art of Up by checking out these two interviews with book author Tim Hauser: The Unofficial Pixar Blog and Flip Animation.

Also, if you live in the greater Los Angeles area and are a fan of Pixar animation, check out an appearance and book signing with Pixar artist Ronnie Del Carmen at Nucleus in Alhambra, CA on Saturday, May 30th.


Want to win a copy of The Art of Up and a poster from the film? Post your answer to the following question and we’ll randomly select two winners who submitted the correct answer. Enter through Wednesday, June 3rd.

Question: In Up, what animal is never seen on screen, but distracts Dug and the other dogs from what they are doing?

April Whitney

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