Pixar strikes gold yet again with Up, their first 3D feature. While the 3D effects are not as good as, say, Coraline, the animation is soft and vibrant, popping with bright colors to contrast the more subdued color palettes of Ratatouille and WALL-E. And like most Pixar projects the film's strengths are more in its striking depth of character than in its look. Not surprising considering this is the same studio who made us sympathize with rats and get teary-eyed over a robot love story. Carl Fredriksen and Russel are both very well-rounded and likeable characters who carry the film wonderfully as it's really about their growing bond. Ed Asner is great in the lead role, playing masterfully an old man at odds with past, present, and future. The talking dogs are some of the funniest and most memorable supporting characters I've seen in an animated film in a long time, rivaling Madagascar's penguins and Finding Nemo's seagulls.
While the plot is fairly predictable it is also a pretty inventive premise and works well as a backdrop on which to lay out its balance of wild adventure and hilarious slapstick. I laughed more at some of the jokes in this movie than I did at any adult comedy recently. It contains one of the funniest and most perfectly delivered jokes ever from Dug the dog regarding a squirrel.
And while I would expect nothing less from Pixar, Up delivers a profound life lesson about friendship, being true to your word, and the importance of placing value in relationships not things. Up is one of the best films of 2009.