Up: *** 1/4 (out of 4)
Does anyone expect any reviewer to dislike a Pixar movie? The company only make good movies, that's just how it is. To some extent, the reviews are exercises in excited hyperbole, as reviewer after reviewer discusses ways that this movie is more transcendent than the last. For my part, even if they were to make 2-3 horrible movies in a row, I'd still give the next one a shot.
Interestingly, what this leaves the company with is the power to make movies about whatever topic they want. Within the framework that the movie must be at least partially for kids and have merchandise options, just about anything goes. And in this case, what we get is a movie about moving on from trauma.
Up begins with a montage of joy and loss. Carl finds the love of his life when he is just a child. He and his friend Ellie are married, they fix up a house together, and they grow old together. Finally, she dies, with their dream of exploring South America unfulfilled - and Carl is left alone, to live out his days missing her and ignoring the world around him. When the world finally starts forcing him to adjust, he refuses to accept and move on - and so begins the story proper, with the balloons and the flying house and the Cub Scout and talking dogs and a large bird named Kevin.
There is, of course, plenty to like about this movie; and reviewers everywhere have talked about these things at length, so I'll keep it short. The landscapes were beautiful, the character designs were cheerful, the house and its contents wonderfully realized. The story was straightforward but nuanced, and well-suited for all ages. And the take-away lesson of the movie was something that I truly appreciated: while you must eventually move on, you don't have to do it on anybody else's terms. Do what you need to do, and do it now; and then find the next thing to do.
The 3-D was very nicely and subtly done. Only in a few shots were you reminded that you were watching 3-D at all. Most of the time, it was fairly unobtrusive, and mostly made the scenery feel more real; but a few times, it popped out that you could focus on two different scenes in a concrete way. And to say something that I doubt any other reviewer will mention: I was more scared during this movie than I was at any time during Drag Me To Hell. Oh, how afraid I am of heights!
I am happy I got to see it with children as well. The murmur of a theatre full of young voices plays well with movies like this.
Oh, and my current rankings (more-or-less):
- The Incredibles
- Toy Story 2
- Finding Nemo
- Toy Story
- A Bug's Life
- Monsters, Inc