What is it about helium balloons enabling flight that captures the imagination of filmmakers?
Keen watchers of Aussie films have been noting the similarities between Pixar’s new animated laffer “Up” and the 2003 romantic comedy “Danny Deckchair,” released by Fox.
“Up” is the story about a 78-year-old man who ties balloons to his house and flies away. “Danny” stars Rhys Ifans as a suburban inventor who takes flight after harnessing hundreds of helium balloons to a chair.
Jeff Balsmeyer, the Oz-based American writer and director of “Danny,” is amused by the similarities but says he cannot take credit for the raw concept. ” ‘Danny Deckchair’ was based on about 30 very real people who did that,” he says.
In fact, after Balsmeyer’s film was released, a priest in Italy flew away in a chair with balloons and was never seen again.
“The question is, did he see ‘Danny Deckchair,’ ” Balsmeyer says. “I hope not.
“I’m bemused (by the plot of ‘Up,’ which has not yet been released in Oz). It’s been a long time since I made ‘Danny.’
“People have gone up in chaise lounges, in chairs. But they don’t often go up in houses,” he quips.