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JUNE 11, 2009   

UP - pricey but worth it

Balloons floating house from movie UPLast weekend we saw the new Disney/Pixar animated film UP on the big screen, in 3D. The admission was—gulp—$12, including the "3D surcharge." This was one time when I didn't resent the ticket seller automatically giving me the Senior Citizen discount. We saved $6 without even having to admit our age.

The movie is worth the money, although if I had to choose only one I'd pick big screen over 3D. The 3D effects are an added treat, but you really need wide open spaces to appreciate all the action that takes place high in the air.

As with most Pixar films, this isn't just for kids. The storyline is the standard "grumpy old man meets annoying kid and hates him until he loves him." It's classic kid stuff but includes a surprisingly poignant love story at the start that I suspect hits older folks harder than younger ones.

The animation is spectacular without being flamboyant. There's lots of water, clouds, mist and reflections to show off PIxar's technical chops, but they all seem part of the story, not arbitrarily added in (a problem I have with many recent animated films). I'd say that Pixar's artists are operating at a quality level at least as high as the glory days of traditional Disney animation, if not higher.

Valley panorama from movie UPBesides gorgeous panoramas, there's an airship that's a cross between the Hindenberg and Starship Enterprise, furry dogs, birds, and main characters dressed in highly textured hound's tooth and corduroy.

There's a visual richness that's worth watching by itself, while the story—evil villain and all—is pretty interesting. OK, it's not Citizen Kane, but I didn't fall asleep even once.

If you can stomach the admission price I think almost anyone will enjoy UP. I'm not alone in this opinion—the film gets a 98% "Fresh" rating at RottenTomatoes.com. Remember, though, big screen. I think I'd have enjoyed it much less on DVD or in a small theater.

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