UP is Disney Pixar's tenth feature-length animated movie, but is it the best so far?
Do you know your animated history? Can you remember the nine preceding Disney Pixar films? Here they are in chronological order - Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007) and Wall-E (2008).
I love them all, but I have a special fondness for The Incredibles with its superhero family theme and for Dory from Finding Nemo for best comedic character.
Initially for UP I had my reservations. I mean, did I really want to go see a film about a grumpy old man? Luckily the talking dog, Dug, in the trailer swung my vote and off we trooped to watch the 3-D version of the movie.
I have to say that I'm not convinced by 3-D as a concept and I didn't think it particularly added greatly to this film (although in its defence I have read an interview saying that UP wasn't necessarily designed to be just a 3-D film). In this day and age with everyone doing CGI animation (which Pixar pioneered), the story is even more important.
With all the media hype surrounding UP, my expectations were high and I thought it was going to be spectacular, but in the end I was a tad underwhelmed.
Don't get me wrong I think the story is quite original and probably the most inventive and left-field of all the Disney Pixar movies. UP is sweet and charming and a very sophisticated story and I never thought I'd feel such sadness for a house in my life, but that's good storytelling for you.
However I was expecting so much more in terms of wow factor (especially on 3-D) and even though the characters were engaging, especially the wilderness boy scout, Russell, it just wasn't as memorable or spellbinding as a Finding Nemo or Toy Story.
Please note the fact that I compare UP to other Disney Pixar films and not just any other animated movie, as they've really raised the bar and 'own' the CGI animated feature world in my view.
Remember the days when we were bowled over by Sulley's digitally created moving hair in Monsters Inc.? Those days are gone and now we expect that level of quality in everything we see. We're a tough audience to please nowadays!
So for this sentimental, imaginative story of an adventurer who finally gets to live out his dreams and find a new family along the way, I give four **** stars and I look forward to seeing UP again on DVD.
With all this in mind, Toy Story 3 really is going to have to be magnificent and blow us all away...