Up with Up

Beth and I caught Up this past weekend, and wow. Pixar has hit another one out of the park. Once again they’ve produced a brilliant, fun, original, creative movie unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And it’s not just the animation (though that does open up possibilities that don’t exist in a live action movie). I’ve been racking my brain, and I really can’t think of a prior story–movie, novel, or comic book–that’s remotely close to Up’s. Where Disney persists in ripping off centuries old fairy tales, and most studios just keep remaking the same 5 or 6 stale plots over and over, Pixar somehow manages to continue creating wildly new tales out of whole cloth.

Up works on so many levels too. It really will please everyone from 9 to 90, and for completely different reasons. Kids will have a rollicking good time, I promise, but so will their parents and grandparents. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a movie that so effectively managed to weave a kid-friendly popcorn flick around adult themes. This isn’t merely a movie for the young-at-heart, where a senior citizen may enjoy the light-heartedness of a well-done children’s picture like Aladdin. It’s a movie for the old-at-heart who prefer adult stories with deep themes. Despite the improbable physics and cartoon animals, there’s a very serious story here that people too young to vote just aren’t going to notice unless they come back and watch it again in 20 or 30 years.

One small but impressive detail: where many movie previews pretty much spoil the story and all the surprises, Up’s definitely didn’t. As much as you may have heard from previews and posters and reviews, until you’ve actually seen the movie, chances are you only know about 5-10% of what actually happens. I guess that’s the reward for producing movies that are so consistently good. Moviegoers will buy the product without much of a taste first, and they will be rewarded.

I don’t know what they put in the water over at Pixar to keep the talent churning out such great films with such regularity. I keep waiting for a bad one, but even at their worst (Cars) Pixar films are still completely watchable; and at their best (Ratatouille) they’re some of the best movies ever made.

Go see Up. You won’t be disappointed.

5 Responses to “Up with Up”

  1. Robert Young Says:

    I wonder, from a coder’s perspective, whether it is much fun to “make” these sorts of movies? It is common knowledge, such as it may be, that writing games is abject servitude. I wonder how much different, technically, coding a Pixar flick is from GTA? The working conditions then become Steve’s whim. Not so sure I’d want that.

  2. Augusto Says:


    100% in agreement. I’m also not a big fan of Cars, but even the “worst” Pixar movie is miles ahead of the competition.

    I feel that this movie also featured the best human cartoon characters I’ve ever seen in a computer animated feature film. A lot of animation companies want to go for a pseudo-realistic look that is just odd and ugly (see humans in Shrek) while Pixar has fully embraced the Disney cartooning style of traditional animation and mixed it well with 3D elements. The results are amazing.


    Should be fun if you are a graphics geek. Pixar is part of Disney now, I don’t know if anybody is really at “Steve’s whim” … Lassater is the guy you should be looking at.

    Animation work can be boring, just like other work is. I know for traditional animator, if you wanted to be the main animator for a specific character that could be fun, and you basically do keyframes … but if you are a newer guy you get to be the inbetweener (the guy that draws all the frames between keys) and that could be a bit boring :-)

    I’m sure that for certain animated sequences they probably have the same for 3D films.

  3. Rob Says:

    My family has been trying to drag me to this movie since the opening. Your review has convinced me to go. I usually take an expensive nap in animated movies like Cars, but I hope this one will be different.

  4. Rob Says:

    I saw Up and it’s great. I really enjoyed it. Your review is right on target.

  5. Ed Says:

    Rusty: We took Ben to see this while in Idaho visiting last month. Afterwards, we talked about some of the more adult themes of the movie and he got them. Perhaps this is only because he has already lost three great-grandmothers and a grandmother, but I think you give the younger set too little credit. You’d be amazed at how much does not go over children’s heads.

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