Oscarthon: Best Picture- Up

A ten part series on the Best Picture nominees, structured around four basic questions.

Part 9: Up

Was It Any Good?

We're well past the point that we should just amend the dictionery to contain:

Pixarian- adj.- of consistently superior quality.
The ballplayer put up winningly Pixarian numbers from season to season.

Up continues the 10 film winning streak, this time all the way to the Best Picture race. The story is whimsically simple, something of a regression from recent concepts like Wall-E and Ratatouille: widower grows cranky, leaves society by tying balloons to his house.

My verdict was good, not great.

Would I See It Again?

Sure, I guess- I actually put it on my Christmas list before seeing it on blnd faith, and I can't say I'm dissapointed.

It's just a bit of a letdown after Wall-E, a film that deserved a Best Picture nomination last year even before the expansion, given the field (cough). And although the image of the house is unique and the animation splendid as always, it's by far the most pedestrian Pixar concept so far: the list goes toys come to life, bugs run a circus, toys come to life again, monsters harvest screams for power, clown fish loses son, superheroes faced with lawsuit, talking car gets lost, rat wants to cook, last robot on earth falls in love, and then... old man is cranky?

And the characters aren't terribly rich, either. As wonderful as the opening montage of Carl's lifetime with his wife was, he's a pretty generic cranky-old-dude archetype for the rest of the film. His little sidekick Russel is a pretty run of the mill annoying kid, until some revelations about his parents' divorce halfway through.

What Did It Acheive?

Second highest grossing Pixar film, and of course along with Avatar the first animated Best Picture nominee since Beauty And The Beast. And we all know that it's bringing in the fifth Animated Feature Oscar on March 7th.

Will I Remember It Years From Now?

I did see, at some point, Pete Docter's other Pixar collaboration, Monsters, Inc., but I find my memories of it very sketchy. So I'll have to get back to you. Though only a few moments in Up made me roll my eyes as much as Billy Crystal's tired Vaudevillian schtick (namely when the dogs played poker and obvious gags like the GPS falling).

Maybe it doesn't help that it's the first Pixar movie with human protagonists, as I found myself wondering a lot of pragmatic questions, about how long it would take to float to South America and so forth. Pixar's great at animals and robots, but it might still be south of the uncanny valley for humanfolk.

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