There is only one animated movie among the ten Best Picture nominees this year, making the awarding of Best Animated Feature nothing more than a formality. And if, by some unearthly act of God or the Devil, it doesn't win Best Animated Feature, something is seriously wrong with this system.
Pixar continues their incredible winning streak, once again affirming that for them perfection is simply routine. I'm happy to report that Up is yet another finely crafted, exceptionally refined film, an instant masterpiece that's sure to stand the test of time. Yawn. If you know Pixar, you know how good it is.
The story is the sort that demands to be taken with a sense of childlike wonder. An elderly widower named Carl flies to South America in a floating house suspended by thousands of helium balloons, fulfilling his wife's childhood dream. What is he going to do when he gets there? Where did he get that much helium? What about the physics of lifting an entire house with balloons? Only by embracing that sensation of wonder can one truly experience this movie.
Up doesn't merely pull at the heartstrings; calling it a tearjerker would be a disservice. It effortlessly sets up the heart and whisks it in ways that only Pixar knows how, all conducted to the melody of a waltz as lovely as I've ever heard. (I just rechecked the list of Oscar nominees-- Best Original Score? Yup, it's in there.)
About halfway through the film we're introduced to a pack of talking dogs, or rather, dogs with translation collars. It's never explained how these scientific marvels came to be. In fact they never even mention it. It's like they came up with the premise and the script, then decided it needs to do more to appeal to kids. Well, they're entertaining enough, but distract the movie from how good it can be.
One last thing: There is something wrong in the way they presented the villain here. All he wanted was to redeem his reputation and get that bird that he's been after for the past 60 years or so. And I wanted him to! I did not want the old man and the kid to stand in his way, and I certainly did not want him to die.