I’m not usually a big fan of animated films. There have been a few very good ones (such as Toy Story, Shrek and Ratatouille), plenty of terrible ones (such as Shark Tale, Astro Boy and the worst of them all, Resident Evil: Degeneration), and a whole lot of average or overrated ones (in my opinion just about everything else, such as Finding Nemo and Happy Feet).
Accordingly, I approached the latest Pixar/Disney venture, Up, with plenty of scepticism. I’m not going to discuss the plot – the poster is about as much background as you need. Anyway, I ended up loving it.
For starters, Up is one of the funniest animated films I’ve ever seen. It has that Toy Story quirkiness to it, that matter-of-fact approach to completely random and outrageous situations. There are plenty of WTF? moments, but the execution is so sweet and cute that you can’t help but be captivated, regardless of how crazy it may all seem.
There’s also the wonderful characters – extremely unique characters. Can you imagine any other film carried by a grumpy old man and a fat little Asian kid (plus a whole bunch of dogs) from start to finish? Incredible.
Most of all, Up has plenty of heart. The opening sequence summarising the life of old Carl Fredericksen up to that point is one of the most bittersweet and moving I’ve seen in any film. And when he comes on board, the back story of Russell the kid is also very touching. The balance between humour and drama and action is handled brilliantly, each hitting the spot at the crucial moments.
And did I mention the amazing animation? The gorgeous blend of colours and crisp textures, coupled with the beautiful scenery and perfect character design, took the exuberance and warmth to a whole new level.
Granted, Up is not perfect – it started off wonderfully but dipped a little towards the middle before picking itself back up before the end, but on the whole it is hands down one of the best animated movies I’ve had the pleasure of watching.
4.5 stars out of 5!