Up - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Up Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 12, 2009
A fun and very well uplifting film lol.
Super Reviewer
½ August 28, 2010
Pixar never fails. Even if you are a stiff as a rock this movie will at least give you goosebumps along with a smile/chuckle. Kudos to whoever created the score.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2014
Absolutely wonderful animated feature, Pixar crafts a stunning, engrossing picture that is superbly animated and boasts a great cast of talented voice actors and a heartwarming story. I had heard plenty of great things about this film, and heard it was one of the sadder of Pixar's output. With that being said, the film is sad, but it so makes you feel good, and it's really one that makes you feel all sorts of things. I've seen many of Pixar's films, and each of them has that quality that makes it so good, with UP, we get something more, we get a film that goes deep in its story and adds a lot more depth into one film. One minute the tone is sad, heartfelt, the next, it's funny, whimsical and adventurous. But as a whole, Up is a standout picture, one of the finest of Pixar's animated features, and is highly entertaining from start to finish. If you want a great animated comedy, Up is a great film to watch and it's a film for all ages, one that has a simple, but well constructed story, and it is a film that just has plenty of charm to really make it standout, and it's easily one of the finest films that Pixar has ever produced. If you enjoy animated feature, Up will certainly deliver, and it's one of those movies that is purely entrancing from the first frame, and it doesn't let go until the wonderful final. Brilliantly animated, and with a great script Up is yet another solid animated feature from Pixar, who always deliver some truly wonderful, amusing and highly memorable pictures. Although there are some sad moments here and there, the film just makes you feel good, and as the film goes on, the story is richer, fuller and gets even more enjoyable. If you enjoy animated films, especially Pixar films, definitely don't pass up this great film. Up is one of the studios finest works, and that's saying something.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2009
An imaginative tale from the brilliant minds of Pixar about an elderly gentleman named Carl (voiced by Ed Asner), who, after losing his wife, devises a plan to escape society and live out his dreams of going to South America by attaching helium balloons to his house and taking off. While the set-up of the story is ultimately more intriguing than what happens in the story itself, it still keeps your attention and has a genuine sweetness to it that is absolutely infections, especially through its use of a young boy (voiced by Jordan Nagai) who accompanies Carl during his journey. To me, it does not rank with the greatest films Pixar has ever done, and it is almost unrelentingly sad given the circumstances of the lead character, but as said, the charm it has is enough to make it worthy of a watch.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2013
Very well done animation, with a moving soundtrack and well-developed characters and story (for a cartoon). I really enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
½ May 13, 2013
One of the most heartfelt, inspirational and adventurous tales that Disney/Pixar has developed. Up is enticing from beginning to end sprouting any and every emotion from its audiences. The first minutes of the film itself is a beautiful portrayal and direction and the rest of the film is just as brilliant. 4.5/5
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2009
If the greatest adventure in life is love then the first 20 minutes of this rates as the best adventure film so far this year ("...it's out
there!). Be well assured, this is fully an adult movie, well disguised as a cartoon for the kiddies (like Toy Story lll). And the following hour and ten only confirms the first 20. Get ready to want a talking dog.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2013
A beautiful film, Up is one of Pixar's bests. The musical score is touching, the characters are dynamic, the visuals are astounding, the writing is fantastic, and the storyline is gripping, moving, and unique. Bravo!
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2009
This is an excellent movie, so funny and charming, it can easily bring a tear to your eye, both of joy and sadness.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
Carl and Ellie are best friends from childhood. They get married and move into a lovely house. The next part is sad. Many years pass after Ellie passes away and Carl is forced out of his home by developers, so he ties thousands of balloons to the house and sets off for Paradise Falls in South America. There he meets his lifetime hero who is hunting a very rare bird. I love the characters - Russell (boy scout) and Doug (dog). Good plot, although sad in parts, it is funny and an uplifting movie.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2009
Though not as transcendant and attaining the rank of pure and true art, (like Wall-E) Up is an innovative, imaginative, and brilliant film nonetheless. I've always loved Disney/Pixar for treating their animated films as creative artistic works filled with substance and maturity, unlike rival studios Fox and Dreamworks that seem to prefer making "products". The opening 15 or so minute prologue is, I feel, one of the greatest and most moving short films I've ever seen. I actually got a little moisty eyed, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. This ended up happening at least two more times before the film ended. I'm not a softie to begin with, but it takes some effort to get me genuinely moved to the point of tears when watching a movie. Besides all that, the story takes the reliable buddy formula and makes it fresh by pairing a cranky old man with a sentimntal streak together with an energetic young kid whose an overeager Wilderness Explorer, and having them go on an unrealistic (but charming and whimsical) adventure in a floating house. I don't see why they couldn't just go ahead and call Russell a Cub Scot/Boy Scout since it's obvious that this is what they were aping off of. They did a damn good job of it too. They got a significant amount of details rights. As for the plot, I don't care if it's unrealistic, and it doesn't matter since it is executed so well and the audience gets drawn into the story without concern for petty details. Another highlight (besides the beautiful animation)is the music: simply wonderful. I highly recommend this.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2009
sheer brillant.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
The first twenty minutes is very sad as it shows the backstory of Carl, the main protagonist. There is very little dialogue and it displays the raw emotional power that Pixar can yield. The movie is a great adventure film with a lot of emotional depth. The interactions between Carl and Russell are as hilarious as they are endearing. Charles Muntz is probably the darkest Pixar villain to date. The beginning is sad, but the movie ends up being extremely fun and uplifting. A very unique and masterful effort from Pixar.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
April 18, 2012
The work of PIXAR is held in such high standing that any hint of criticism runs the risk of seemingly deliberately contrary or obtuse. While we may be fans of PIXAR's output, and wish the films and their creators nothing but success, it is always dangerous to presume that their latest offering will be a masterpiece by way of association - a point which I fleshed out in my review of Ratatouille not so long ago.

Viewed in cold and clinical terms, Up doesn't come close to challenging the likes of Toy Story or Finding Nemo for the jewel in PIXAR's crown. Its relatively simple plot and increasingly goofy tendencies prevent it from achieving the same level of universal appeal. But there is enough enjoyment and emotional attachment which the film brings to prevent it from being seen in such clinical terms, even by the cynical hyenas patiently waiting for PIXAR to drop the ball, or let go of the balloon.

When WALL-E was released in 2008, many critics commented on the film's opening 20 minutes being of a different and perhaps superior tone to the rest of the film. The opening act, featuring WALL-E roaming the abandoned Earth, is effectively an animated retuning of Silent Running which uses the language of silent cinema to great effect. Similarly, many critics who saw Up were impressed with the opening montage but relatively underwhelmed by what followed.

Regardless of what follows it, the opening of Up is brilliant. Like WALL-E it has its roots in silent film, insofar as it employs physical gesture and the shapes of the characters to convey a narrative. It is so effective in doing this that we can move through a lifetime in a matter of minutes, feeling as though we know every foible and memory that these characters have developed and shared together. The recurring images of jars being broken, stumbling up hills and balloons floating provide both poignancy and continuity. We go through a whole gamut of emotions, ending up with a teary eye and a broken heart.

Up is a relatively mature children's film, insofar as it deals with the disappointment that results from our high expectations of life. We see Carl coming to terms with the death of his wife and recognising that his life hasn't turned out the way he planned. There never was a great adventure to South America, and many of their smaller aspirations (such as having children) never materialised. This disappointment is also present in the character of Charles Muntz, played by Christopher Plummer. There is something of a Heart of Darkness quality to Carl's discovery of his boyhood hero: both Muntz and Kurtz have reputations which were near-perfect, before disappearing after a tarnishing mistake.

But while the film accepts that such disappointments will inevitably come our way, the message of Up is that we should not lose the spirit of adventure or the passions that gave us our ambitions in the first place. There is a touching bitter-sweetness to the film which comes out in the moments of recognition on the part of Carl, the most touching being the discovery of Ellie's message in the back of her adventure book. For all the sad moments the film is ultimately very uplifting and valedictory.

Taken in terms of pure entertainment, Up is really good fun. There are a wide range of good jokes on offer, ranging from the comic interplay between Carl and Russell to the squeaky voice of Alpha and the wide shots showing our heroes pulling the house along the cliffs. The chase sequences are suspenseful and well-designed, and the final aerial set-piece is pretty well-structured. The sight of Russell squeaking and scraping along the airship's windows will raise many a chuckle or guffaw.

The other huge plus point of Up is its visuals. It's difficult to talk about the cinematography of CG animated films: unlike the stop-motion efforts of Aardman, there is no actual, physical lighting of which to speak. What is noticeable is that PIXAR's animators are getting better at animating humans and creating fleshy tones. While the human characters in Toy Story look overly angular in hindsight, their counterparts in Up have a good balance between cartoon caricature and realism. Like Pete Docter's previous film, Monsters Inc., the attention to detail is superb, with Kevin's feathers being every bit as meticulous as Sully's hair.

The problems with Up come when it begins to openly embrace convention. This is as much an issue with PIXAR's reputation as it is with the film in itself: we expect them to be ground-breaking to such an extent that when they serve up something more generic we feel short-changed. While there is nothing wrong with embracing genre conventions as a means of giving the fans what they want, it becomes more of a problem when a film is being billed as a work of greatness and innovation.

The emotional arcs of Up are very familiar, with all the characters learning life lessons, things getting worse before they get better and everything ending on a happy note. At times the relationship between Carl and Russell feels a little too rote, with the film resorting to outlandish or goofy sections to keep up the pace (more on those in a second). There is a lack of cynicism to their relationship which lifts it above more sub-standard animations, but considering the talent on offer at PIXAR there is the nagging feeling that they could have come up with something more original.

The other big problem with Up is that it retreats all too readily into a kind of outlandish goofiness, in a manner which undermines the feeling of confidence in the central relationship. The film may be playing to a younger audience, being rated U where Toy Story was a PG, but the question remains: why do we need all the ephemeral stuff if the central relationship is perfectly good? The introduction of Kevin and Dug, while perfectly good fun, is a sign of Docter trying too hard to be cute. This becomes more of a problem when it affects the continuity, with Carl going from a frail old man to all-out action hero just to satisfy the needs of a set-piece.

Ultimately, the film gets away with its slightly histrionic sections on the strength of the performances and our resulting attachment to the characters. Edward Asner based his performance on the later roles of Spencer Tracy, and he succeeds in creating a curmudgeon that we genuinely love and care about. Jordan Nagai is a very good find as Russell, staying just the right side of talkative to be endearing rather than annoying. And Christopher Plummer remains a reliable screen presence, working off Asner very well in the scenes around the table.

Up is a very good addition to the PIXAR canon. While it never quite reaches the dizzy heights of Finding Nemo or WALL-E, it succeeds where Ratatouille failed in delivering a story for all ages and bringing out adult themes in a manner which children can appreciate. Docter directs very nicely, with excellent compositions and bright colours, and as a feel-good effort it works very well. For all its flaws and shortcomings, it's a genial and affecting film that should reward repeat viewing.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2012
'Up' proves to be an instant Pixar classic, full of delightful characters and touching emotion. There's nothing to complain about with the voice acting and the vivid animated landscape is amazing. This is an animated film everyone should see at least once.
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2011
A sweet and character-driven movie. It has the comedy and the visuals to draw kids in, but has the emotional depth to keep adults entertained and emotionally connected and challenged.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ August 16, 2011
This film can tell a story much better than Wall-E. Up goes into further emotional depth then any Pixar film to date. It's funny, it's charming and it is a beautiful piece of work that nearly anyone can enjoy.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2010
Certainly not the greatest thing Pixar has ever done, but "Up" is a fine, fine film nonetheless. Though the first twenty-five or so minutes are absolutely beautiful, when the house went "Up," my interest level went down. I just didn't find the actual intrigue of the plot all that fascinating. However, after the climax occurs, the denouement finds once again the beauty the opening part of the film so wonderfully displayed. The Oscar-winning score of the film is also definitely worth a mention. Its captivating refrain is used perfectly in the various situations throughout the film; the music will stay with you for days.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2010
Pixar is one of the greatest animation companies of all time, and each of their films have redeeming features about them even if they aren't all that great, but to me, this is the weakest Pixar film. I liked it the first 3 times I saw it, but the more I watch it, the more things I find that annoy me. Now I have A.D.D. so I have trouble sitting through some movies sometimes, and this film is one of those movies that I get so bored with, and after 20 minutes I put in a different movie. The main gripe I have with the film is that the beginning 15 minutes and the ending are so well done, that the film just goes downhill from there when it ends, another gripe I have is with the dog Dug, now I know everyone who reads this is gonna be like "Oh Dug is cute, Dug is funny." NO!!! He is annoying and not funny at all, he's stupid, and useless in this film, literally there is almost no purpose to him in the plot, aside from being an unfunny comic relief.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2011
Pixar never seems to fail to captivate audiences with relatable, humorous, and genuine characters, but they manage to once again with Up, an amazingly animated, voice-acted, and well-told adventure. It's exciting, hilarious, touching and heart-warming. The score by Michael Giacchino is one of the best, and is definitely deserving of the Oscar.
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