Up
Review Written by: Alex Sandell

The first 20 minutes of Up are some of the most emotionally moving, beautifully directed moments in animated film. The last 10 minutes of the movie, while not as masterful as the first, are still "Up" there with the best of them. Unfortunately, the 60 minutes in-between feature a Pixar first: generic-itis. Between the stunning bookends of the movie are bland characterizations, plodding plot lines and tepid action more in-line with something you'd find in lesser CG films produced by lesser creative minds than you find at Pixar.

The middle hour of this film is basically interchangeable with The Ant Bully, Over the Hedge, Shrek the Third and any other average animated fare. It's unfortunate, because up 'til this point Pixar has been anything but average. For an all too brief period of time, it seems as though they're going to surpass even their own excellence with Up. But it isn't to be.

The kid in the film looking for his badge is annoying, underdeveloped and -- here comes that word again -- generic. The old man is curmudgeonly and bitter for the sake of being curmudgeonly and bitter, when the first 15 minutes of the film indicate someone entirely different (his personality change is explained, but it doesn't make his behavior any less cookie-cutter). The villain is so underdeveloped he's basically around for the same reason the exterminator was around in The Ant Bully - to be a villain.

Instead of making an incredible full-length feature as the studio usually does, Pixar padded a brilliant 30-minute short with substandard material and sold it to the public as a feature length film. It's still worth a watch, as the Pixar magic hasn't entirely left the movie; just don't get your hopes "Up" (sorry, can't help myself) before seeing it, because, with few exceptions, there's not much here that you haven't already watched before.

The whole thing makes you wonder if the reason this was the first Pixar film to feature 3-D is because it was the only Pixar film that's needed it to add any depth. This is the first time Pixar has put product above art. Commerce before creativity. And it's the first time Pixar has made a kid's movie instead of a family film. Hopefully it will also be the last.

out of 10

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