I took my kids to see the latest Pixar film the other day and I was a little undecided which way I wanted to go with my review. Do I write it from an adult standpoint? Or do I consider what kids might think of this film and go from there? Because really this movie is a half & half kind of film. Parts of it are for kids, and parts are for adults. And that is where this film kind of fails. Not that it’s not a decent film, because it is. But like “Wall-E” before it, it is treading a little too closely to a movie for adults, and I think Pixar needs to get back to kids movies.
Consider that the first 15 minutes or so of this film is about an elderly man’s love affair with his wife and then culminates with her death. It starts out very uplifting and then she is gone. So then Mr. Fredrickson is about to lose his house to greedy corporate executives. So, in a last ditch attempt to see a remote South American waterfall and jungle (a place he promised his wife he would take her), he blows up millions of balloons and the house is lifted into the sky, floating above buildings and countrysides and drifting into thunderstorms and all kinds of adventures ensue. It’s all very colorful and pretty. And to add to the fun, a cubscout named Russell is brought along for the ride. Russell has a neverending enthusiasm and this fuels the film for a while, because Mr. F can be a curmudgeon with the best of ’em and it’s HIS story, so Russell kind of wore thin on me after awhile.
By the end of the movie, there has been talking dogs (which is kinda funny), odd birds that are shaped like a combination of a flamingo and a parrot, more adventures with the house and an adventurer who has lost his mind. Needless to say, it seems like the Pixar folks had a concept and then didn’t know exactly where to go with it, so they through in all these crazy elements and churned it up and what you get is an interesting combo of action/adventure mixed with a message. And that message is…never grow old. Life is what you make of it. Life is an adventure. And I could go on and on, but I won’t. I got the point. And if you see it, so will you.
I didn’t hate “Up”. It definitely has it’s cute moments and there are a few scenes where that Pixar magic shines very bright. But overall, as a feature-length film, I just didn’t think it held up. “Nemo”, “Cars” and the “Toy Story” combos do it much better. Also…for the record…we saw it in 3-D and I have to say, for the hottest new concept in movie-making, I wasn’t impressed. Maybe if I saw it on an IMAX screen it would have stood out more, but for an extra $3 charge, I was disappointed. So skip the 3-D if you see this one.
Overall Rating: B-