Review (2009): Up: Tremendous Up-side for Pixar

Ordinarily, a moment like this would have cued Randy Newman … but wait, thankfully he’s not in it.

Up (PG, 96 minutes): You hear the name Pixar. Disney. Animated feature. 3-D. And you start expecting the beatdown of a Randy Newman score …

Wait, you mean there’s no Randy Newman score?

There isn’t, and with that I was able to fully enjoy this 89-minute production, especially in 3D. I’ve heard that it’s just as good in 2D, but I couldn’t resist wearing those cool glasses.

In the movie, Ed Asner is the voice of Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman who launches his aging home into flight with thousands of helium-filled balloons. Destination: South American wilderness.

Along the way, he finds a stowaway scout named Russell and they learn a lot on the adventure. The animation is Pixar spectacular without resorting to 3D stick-it-in-your-face tricks.

The characters are all memorable, especially the dogs that are tasked in finding a rare South American bird sought by Carl and his wife Ellie’s hero, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). I liked Asner’s voice because, gruff and all, the tone takes me back to all those Lou Grant TV shows.

The story works on all ages and adults will find the 3D glasses useful when it comes to discreetly wiping away tears. Probably more than you did at Wall-E.

The kids will love the characters with which they can identify. Look around the theater, and you’ll see kids everywhere sitting on the edges of their seats, enjoying the show.

And as the credits roll, the big payoff: No Randy Newman.

Best time for a bathroom break: Don’t even try. Do your business before the previews and don’t get more than a medium Coke.

Date movie: Be warned. The story of Carl and his wife Ellie will have your partner reaching for your hand.


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