The rave reviews for Up had me primed for a true classic, something on the order of the Toy Story movies or The Incredibles. After the opening table-setting sequence, the hosannas seemed justified. Karl Frederickson's backstory was handled brilliantly and with exquisite taste (name me another animated product that deals with infertility!) and I felt myself welling up at the end. Then Karl's house headed for the skies and... I didn't need the tissues anymore. The villain and his "problem" were predictable, the supporting characters were uninteresting -- though the eventual bonding between Karl and Russell was nice to see, Russell became seriously annoying at times -- and, worst of all, the writers copped out and allowed Karl to act as something close to a conventional action-adventure hero in the end. True, they got a few gags out of the fact that he and Muntz could barely move during their "duel to the death," but Karl received so many other bumps, bruises, contusions, and so forth that his broken-bone count at picture's end should have been several dozen, at least. I think that it would have been better (though more challenging to write) had Karl been forced to rely entirely on his wits and leave whatever derring-do was required to Russell, who, while clumsy, was certainly in better shape to handle it. It was still an enjoyable movie, but the superb character dynamics of the aforementioned Pixar classics simply weren't present.
Next up on the cinematic firing line: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in mid-July.