If Rotten Tomatoes's 98% rating is any indicator, Up shouldn't have to worry about negative audience reaction. And certainly, the critical reviews so far have been almost universally rhapsodic.
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times notes that:
As success follows success for animation powerhouse Pixar, the pressure to maintain the streak must be phenomenal. Will the next film be the one that stumbles, the one that breaks stride? No one need worry, however, about Up, Pixar's 10th and latest effort. It's not only good, it's one of Pixar's best. Some films are an obligation to write about, Up is the purest pleasure.
Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gives it an A:
As buoyant and richly tinted as the balloons that figure so prominently in its story, Up is also thoroughly grounded in real emotion and ideas of substance. How's that for an instant boost? The result is a lovely, thoughtful, and yes, uplifting adventure ...
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times has been known to snark about 3D films (mostly about having to wear the glasses), but even he waxed rhapsodic:
... this is a wonderful film. It tells a story.The characters are as believable as any characters can be who spend much of their time floating above the rain forests of Venezuela. They have tempers, problems, and obsessions. They are cute and goofy, but they aren't cute in the treacly way of little cartoon animals. They're cute in the human way of the animation master Hayao Miyazaki.
Rotten Tomatoes registers only one splat amongst the critics, Stephanie Zacharek's writeup on Slate.com:
There are so many charming visual touches in Pixar's Up -- like the homey-looking wood-frame house that floats into the sky with the help of a thousand translucent candy-colored balloons -- that, frame by frame, the movie seems to be daring us not to fall in love with it. The characters may not tug at our heartstrings outright, but they do surreptitiously plink away at them ... Up is unapologetically life-affirming, for those who like to have life affirmed. And from a technical standpoint it certainly is beautifully executed. But save for a few inspired canine gags and a handful of very pretty visual details, Up left me cold. Its charms appear to have been applied with surgical precision; by the end, I felt expertly sutured, but not much else.
So, consider that a warning: if you hate life-affirming movies, you should avoid Up at all costs. Fortunately for those who feel that way, Drag Me To Hell is also opening this weekend ... and we'll have to wait for the box-office numbers to see if Carl gets dragged downwards or if he gets to fly away.
NOTE: Occasionally we allow Steve Hulett to go on vacation, on the strict condition that he occasionally post during his absence. Never fear, he'll be back to full-time blogging on June 8; until then, you'll occasionally be hearing from yours truly.