Movie Reviews Up
Film critics attending the Cannes Film Festival, who ordinarily hone their scathes on the opening-night film (in 2006 The Da Vinci Code , the last U.S. film to open the festival, was loudly booed at the press screening during the closing credits) lofted Disney/Pixar's Up to heights of praise usually reserved exclusively for Cannes's arty-est competitors. Indeed Stephen Applebaum acknowledges in his review in The Scotsman "It left critics on the Croisette feeling buoyant yesterday, which makes a change from opening movies in recent years." Few disagree. "Winsome, touching and arguably the funniest Pixar effort ever" is the way Michael Rechtshaffen in the Hollywood Reporter describes it. "It really is a lovely film," writes Peter Bradshaw in Britain's Guardian newspaper, "funny, high-spirited and sweet-natured, reviving memories of classic adventures from the pens of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne, and movies like Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life and Albert Lamorisse's The Red Balloon." Indeed, the Lamorisse classic is mentioned in numerous reviews, but only a single balloon figured in that small film; the new one features thousands, and the delights, the critics suggest, are a thousand fold. "This is a wonderful film," Roger Ebert writes in his "unofficial" review in the Chicago Sun-Times . (He's saving his "official" one for the U.S. opening on May 29. Ebert reserves most of this review for a lengthy criticism of 3D, which, he insists, degrade the vibrant color of animated film. His advice "Find a theater showing [ Up in 2D], save yourself some money, and have a terrific visual experience." Recalling Walt Disney's admonition to his animators that "for every laugh there should be a tear," Peter Howell in the Toronto Star writes that Up is "one of the most emotional movies Pixar has ever made." To be sure, a few critics appear about as steadfastly grumpy as the central character in the movie, a 78-year-old voiced by Edward Asner (who often sounds eerily like Lionel Barrymore's definitive Scrooge). Kaleem Aftab writes in the London Independent, "Once the adventure moves into its obligatory action denouement, it enters a world of stereotypes that disappoints" with "blockbuster moments [that are] surprisingly uninventive." And Joe Morgenstern writes in the Wall Street Journal that he was left "with an unshakable sense of Up being rushed and sketchy, a collection of lovely storyboards that coalesced incompletely or not at all."