Pixar’s UP isn’t as funny or entertaining as their best film Toy Story. And it isn’t as interesting as last year’s Wall-E. It isn’t even quite on par with some of their other entries like Ratatouille and The Incredibles. And, to be honest, I’d even place it lower on my list than some non-Pixar CGI films such as Antz and Kung Fu Panda.
All that being said, UP is still a wonderful piece of filmmaking.
It begins with an opening that reinforces the fact that animated films, when in the right hands, can have just as much of an emotional impact as any traditional drama. It is a beautiful, beautiful sequence.
The rest of the film trots along with less heart and more gags. Because of the targeted demographic, the story remains fairly obvious and predictable. It doesn’t have that same ‘anything can happen’ magic that the previously mentioned Pixar films do. Because this story is based on human characters and set in the ‘real world’ so to speak, it just doesn’t have the same panache. No matter how many balloons or talking dogs are on screen, it just ain’t the same as toys coming alive when you’re not looking, robots falling in love, or superheroes living amongst us with secret powers.
Besides the heartfelt opening, one more thing sets UP apart: the third dimension. I saw the film in Disney Digital 3D and enjoyed its use of the technology immensely. The film uses the depth 3D offers to subtly enhance the storytelling instead of distract.
The only drawback is that it softens the color palette a bit. During shots that had no depth I took off the glasses to check out how the film looked normally and it was much more vibrant. But I say the extra dimension was worth it (even for a few more bucks).
As with the previously blogged about Terminator Salvation, some movies just have the bad luck of automatically being compared to superior films based on name alone. In this case it isn’t the name of a franchise, but the name of a studio: Pixar. (Evidenced by my opening paragraph.)
Is UP a great family comedy that excels within the genre? Without question.
Will it be instantly remembered from now on whenever people discuss the Pixar catalogue? Perhaps not.