Apparently all it takes is some balloons. I'm a huge Pixar fan and have loved everything they've released, but I've been thinking for a while now that they're due for a dud after all of their success. Once again, after seeing previews that didn't give away very much, I thought there wasn't a whole lot to Up's story.
Then I monitored the all-important T-Meter on Rotten Tomatoes. It started at 100%, stayed there for a while, and plummeted all the way down to 98%. For you RT newbies out there, that's a nearly unheard of final score. I dropped 30 bones for two 3-D tickets for myself and the Jess, complained about the unbelievable cost of two tickets to a movie, and then promptly forgot what I was whining about once the movie began.
You can always tell a film is hitting emotionally by the sheer silence of the audience. Before Up started, people were talking loudly, laughing obnoxiously(a guy with a crazy hyena laugh absolutely loved the talking hamster preview), and generally being a typical crowded theater audience. But then the film started up, and everybody fell silent. Even hyena guy. There wasn't so much as a cough from a single soul. And an animated movie was responsible.
Up's hero is Carl, a cranky old man who recently had to watch his wife pass away. We don't see it happen; we infer it from a fantastic montage set to some beautiful music. It was at this point that it got a little dusty in the theater. This was only 15 minutes into the movie. I was able to fight off the tears, but I was absolutely affected by what I saw and officially on Carl's side for the rest of the film. This is how you tell a story, people.
Then we have The Notebook. The hilarious conclusion to this movie has the two elderly leads laying in the same hospital bed and dying together. It's pure manipulation. When I saw it I pictured the film's director hovering above me, screaming "CRY! CRY!"
When you're asked why Up is such a great film, be sure to cite this post. And when your idiot friends ask you why exactly Up trumps The Notebook, sum it up with a simile: The difference between Up and The Notebook is like the difference between smelling a beautiful red rose and having a beautiful red rose jammed up your nostrils.