Pixar Studios may in fact be the gold standard in animated films.
It comes as no surprise that Up was chosen to open the Cannes film festival. It transcends the baggage associated with animated works and presents a compelling film delightful for children, heartbreaking and uplifting for adults. It achieves an astonishing amount of pathos, starting with a strong and moving opening sequence, genuinely emoting animals, surreal landscapes and an uplifting, tightly-plotted overall work.
Carl is a strong quiet (except when yelling at people because of being a grief-stricken crochety bastard) lead who shows a wide variety of emotion — through Carl, the film explores death and grief and nostalgia with subtle touches as well as huge metonyms (the whole house as Carl’s touchstone for Ellie, in addition to the smaller ones like the bird for the mantle and the portrait).
Russell is cute as a truck full of kittens, and Dug the dog is Pure Dog-ness incarnate and given a voice.
The 3D may not have added as much to Up as to other films, but I feel like it worked with the what was going on. I imagine we’ll be seeing more 3D-enabled work from Pixar in the future.
Two thumbs and four paws up.