Director Howard Hawks (RED RIVER) once said that he tried to make all of his movies with three good scenes and no bad ones. There are no bad scenes in this Pixar animated film about a grumpy old, reclusive widower (voiced by Edward Asner) who literally takes flight in his house for an unfulfilled South American adventure with the help of thousands of helium-filled balloons. Preceding this journey is a dialogue-free four-minute montage showing in a heartbreakingly poignant sequence how he arrives at his isolation. Beyond that is a fairly conventional plot where a crotchety senior citizen winds up bonding with a kid (voiced by Jordan Nagai) whoís a persistent Boy Scout type. But Bob Petersonís screenplay gives more emotional depth, imagination and substance to his major characters that scribes of live action dramas would envy. Whatever format you see this film in (See criticís note), itís a visual marvel that turns a large cineplex screen into a veritable canvas of color. The interior settings are just as ornate, and I continue to be amazed at how technological advances are making animation almost indistinguishable from whatís ďreal.Ē Because of this, I think itís long overdue for those who decide what films are best in any given year to give feature-length animated works the same consideration available to regular ones. But thatís another article for another day. As for UP, itís a delightful movie with equal parts humor and heart that play out like a geriatric version of THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) with an old guy on a journey with a loyal dog, unusual creatures and friends who help him find meaning in his life. Hereís a memo to mainstream Hollywood distributors and producers. Start making movies like Pixarís. Those guys are getting it right every time.
CRITICíS NOTE: Although I saw UP in 3-D, I canít say that it enhanced my enjoyment of an excellent movie thatís visually impressive seen in any dimension. For me, 3-D was, is and always will be a cinematic novelty act that canít make a mediocre movie any better. Whatís more, if a film is superior on its own merits, then why would you need/want 3-D anyway? Enough said.