Pixar’s Up does NOT get two thumbs up

Up by Pixar
Fly around the world with a lot of beautiful balloons.

Last weekend I finally got the chance to watch Up in 3D in a cinema near me.

Up, as you may know, is another Pixar movie. I like Pixar ever since I’ve seen Finding Nemo, which is my favorite animated movie of all times. I’ve also really liked Monsters, Inc. and WALL-E, as well as their short films For The Birds, Geri’s Game and Presto, but was disappointed with The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Still, I’d watch almost anything in 3D because I like the 3D format a lot. I’ve seen Monsters vs Aliens and Ice Age 3 in 3D, and I even watched the really bad movie Beowulf for its 3D effects.

Now, Up is different in that it doesn’t appear to have been made with the 3D effect in mind. At least the 3D effect is subtle most of the time, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I personally think that the 3D format might save the movie industry, as it’s a good reason to go to your local 3D cinema instead of watching the movie at home without that particular special effect. I’d be excited to see more normal movies (dramas, thrillers) in 3D, but maybe that’s just me.

Up tells the story of an old widowed man who is supposed to give up his house and move into an old people’s home. Instead of doing that, he ties a bunch of balloons to his house and flies away with it, accidentally taking a young boy scout with him who therefore joins his adventures.

Judging from the trailers for this movie, you’d think the old man was a grumpy fella with a strangely endearing crankiness about him. He’s much nicer in the actual movie, however, for better or for worse, and while at first the ailments of old age are cause for a number of laughs, Pixar doesn’t really follow through with the theme much. While the senior citizen needs a walker in day-to-day life and a stairlift to move around his house, he later does all sorts of stunts and running around and hard physical labor.

Also disappointing in this movie are the talking dogs. I feel it requires too much suspension of disbelief, even considering this is an animated movie for children. Yes, we had talking fish in Finding Nemo, but they only ever talked to one another, not to humans. And while the talking dogs are explained (“Our smart owner made us a dog collar that enables us to speak”), I couldn’t help but find all of it very silly. I think Pixar did an extraordinary job before in making a quiet robot likeable (WALL-E), in making a mute rabbit likeable (Presto) – heck, they can even made a lamp likeable (Luxo Jr. and their animated logo)! So why resort to talking dogs? I won’t even elaborate on the part where they pilot fighter planes.

The best part of the movie was the backstory that explored the old man’s life, of how he met his wife, married her and grew old with her. Personally, I found that to be the most touching part of the film. I wish the talking dogs hadn’t spoiled the rest of it.

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