After getting into arguments with bloggers, etc., it was a good thing that I attended another screening of last year's Best Picture nominee "Up." The film admittedly shows much skill, but the problems for me are there, albeit in a smaller form. The "prologue sequence" is excellent. Of course, it strains a little for emotional response, but it works in the way that the rest of the film was intended to work: it inspires wonder and fluttery emotions. I loved it. Another great sequence is the one where Carl Fredricksen takes off in his house for the first time. When the colors of the balloons rush through the nursery of a small child, it's jaw-dropping.
I also admit I was more receptive the character of Russell than before. I'll admit that Dug (and Pixar) somewhat got me with his humorous lines and injection of "ruff" where "roof" should have been. Kevin's wail is hilarious, too. Pixar is the place for details. Nothing escapes them. That could be why their plot ties feel at times a little labored. Everything is connected.
The major problems I have with it this time, and what I believe really doesn't do good for the film, involve the ending, which Pixar is renowned for screwing up. Fredricksen and Russell are veritable mood rings in the climax, changing how they feel from instant to instant, unrealistically. (And am I the only one who thinks Fredricksen looks one time too many at his wife's "Adventure Book"? A lot of emotional manipulation there, eh?) The ending, with the whole "showing up for the ceremony," is rushed. I don't care how you slice it. The end with the fight between Charles Muntz and Fredricksen is an overused tactic, one I'm shocked Ebert didn't criticize. In a film of intense deliberations, this stuff is embarrassing. This is a film that gets steadily worse after the prologue (not that the body of the film is bad; it's good), and on that level, I see it the same way I did before. That's not to say that the film isn't good; it's just not as polished as it could or should have been. B-