Carl is determined to go to South America, so he turns to the power of helium-filled balloons to get him there in <em>Up</em>.

Carl is determined to go to South America, so he turns to the power of helium-filled balloons to get him there in Up.

Three Reasons to Watch Up and A Town Called Panic Back-to-Back

Arts & Lectures Kicks Off Its Spring Film Series with Animation Doubleheader

Think animated flicks are just for the kiddies? Think again. In the past five years, some of the finest cinema being made (and recognized as such) has come from the animated sector. (See: Persepolis, Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Coraline for starters.) And this Wednesday, March 30, UCSB’s Arts & Lectures does the medium further justice, by presenting two back-to-back, adult-approved animated gems to kick off its Spring Cinema screening series. The offerings include 2009 Best Picture Oscar-nominee and Best Animated Feature-winner Up and 2009 French stop-motion masterpiece A Town Called Panic. For a few reasons why you should check ‘em out, read on below. For tickets and screening info, call 893-3535 or visit

1. The Sense of Adventure: While Pixar’s computer-animated Up follows an aged widower’s extreme, balloon-bound travels to South America, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s Panic revolves around a trio of toys (Cowboy, Horse, and Indian) and their unconventional, globe-trotting chase to find a thief. And though the stories—and their characters—differ widely, the travels give both films’ animators lots to work with, and give audiences plenty of whimsical lands to get lost in.

2. The Wacky Antics: Perhaps the most startling element of Up’s overall genius is its ability to capture human emotion so perfectly through computer animation. Still, the scuffles, tiffs, and laugh-out-loud ridiculous scenarios our protagonist and his band of travel buddies (namely, a squawking bird named Kevin and a young tagalong named Russell) get stuck in help to make the movie equal parts lighthearted and tear-jerking. Contrastingly, Panic’s characters are all chaos, all the time, running wildly from one nonsense situation to the next, and carrying on with zero composure throughout it all. The Washington Post describes the film as “Toy Story on acid.” We couldn’t agree more.

3. The Bold and the Beautiful: The joy of animated cinema is its ability to transport viewers from reality to magnificent places both real and imagined. Thanks to a love of bold colors and daring cinematography, the filmmakers behind Up and A Town Called Panic achieve both, crafting films that are as story-driven as they are visually appealing. Together, these two offerings are sure to make for a great night of movie watching, as well as a visual feast for techies and old-schoolers alike.

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