On Sunday Dave and I spent the afternoon at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, and then saw the new animated movie Up in the evening.

Up is a lot of fun, with great animation, good characters, a lot of pleasant sentiment without getting gooey, and a wonderfully ridiculous story. The main character is a cranky old man, the kind who sits on his porch and yells at people to get away from his property, and yet the way the story is set up, ten minutes into the movie and you are completely on his side. The other central character is an irritatingly helpful kid in a Boy-Scout-like group called the Wilderness Explorers, and one of the many sweet touches in this movie is that Russell is drawn as Asian and not a word is ever said about it.

Dave tells me that the movie is also a fanboy’s delight, containing all kinds of references to much-admired animated movies from Pinocchio to Howl’s Moving Castle. I didn’t catch much of that.

I cared for the second half of the movie, though, less than the first half. From the point where one character is revealed to be a stock archvillain of the Evil Mastermind genre, the movie becomes a rescue adventure culminating in a way-over-the-top action sequence that is partly meant to be exciting and partly meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It seems like every movie of this sort has to lead to one of these and they’re all trying to top each other and I’ve grown kind of tired of the pattern.

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