Dug the Dog (minor spoiler)

I saw Up today, and I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I have enjoyed every Pixar movie (except A Bug’s Life which I frankly found a little boring). Some have been better than others. But I think I can safely say Up is the best one yet. The opening sequence was such a masterpiece of poetic, wordless, visual storytelling that I literally wept (wept! literally!) at the end of it, both because it was an emotional scene but also because it was just so beautiful.

From there the story becomes a bit more conventional but no less engaging, with a wonderful balance of humor, action and suspense. It’s a story wonderfully told, wonderfully acted, and artfully animated.

When it first became apparent in the mid-’90s that hand-drawn animated feature films were on the brink of extinction, I was dubious that computer animation could ever become as artistic as the best classic animation. I feel like Pixar reached that point with Finding Nemo, surpassed it with The Incredibles, (truly incredible), and finally became an art itself with Ratatouille. I thought the opening third of WALL-E maintained that level, although once the doughy humans appeared my enthusiasm waned. But I am pleased to say that Up has picked up where Ratatouille left off. The sight of thousands of brightly colored helium balloons billowing up from Carl’s house was a dazzling moment, and that was just the beginning.

Yes, I think Up is a success in just about every way. But the thing that has stuck with me most through the rest of the day is the impression Dug the dog made on me. He’s a wonderfully endearing, delightfully comic (without being cheesy or corny) character. Here’s a clip of our heroes first meeting him.