In the relative wasteland of May summer releases (excepting Star Trek), Pixar has tied its candy colored balloons to the movie industry in hopes of lifting it up, both financially and critically. But instead of delivering this summer's salvation with Up, they have just given us something to tide ourselves over until our next Star Trek.
Up is by no means a bad movie, it's just one of Pixar's lesser works. Which still isn't a knock to the movie very much, when you consider that with each successive Pixar releases, one has to re-order their favorite animated movie list. For me this one ranked above Cars and below A Bug's Life near the bottom of my Pixar favorites list. And while I still enjoyed both of those films, they just weren't in the same league with films like Ratatouille or The Incredibles.
I think I managed to put my finger on it after thinking for some time why I didn't respond the way I thought I would. I feel like the people at Pixar are absolute master geniuses at melding adult themes and humor while delivering it in a kid's meal for everyone to enjoy. You could sit next to anyone, no matter what age, during The Incredibles and you'd find yourself both reacting in a similar fashion because those films were so universal. Up, while still cute, funny, sad, and sweet, has some separation of the layers that end up dividing the audience.
The opening of the film is so wonderfully told that many understanding adults aren't likely to have dry eyes by the end of the first act. Kids, however, might be bored out of their minds. But the same goes for some of the humor in the film--some jokes are just universally funny, while others were clearly thrown in to cater to only children while adults were left to roll their eyes. I feel it's partly to blame on some of Pixar's inventiveness being gone. Maybe it's because our hero Carl isn't a fish, a monster, or a superhero, or maybe it's just hard to always be on the top of your game, but Pixar has always impressed me with their offbeat and original ideas, and the only time I saw that with Up was during the final fight scene between Carl and his nemesis.
With that being said I did enjoy the movie. It has many fun moments and will make you laugh while pulling on your heartstrings at the same time. The direction is pretty superb, and Michael Giacchino has delivered another fantastic score. The 3D is pretty throw away as nothing ever really pops off the screen at you. But the voice acting is all top notch, and the computer animated geniuses are sure to have another financial--but for me, not a critical--home run under their belts.
Pixar hasn't let me down by any mean; they just failed to blow me away, and I feel everyone desperately needs that in such an unspectacular start to the summer season.