For the last couple years, Pixar has held the title of having the best reviewed mainstream movie release of the year. Ratatouille and WALL-E both ended with 96% with over 200 reviews (only 9 rotten). Two days before the nationwide release, Pixar’s Up is riding high with a perfect 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with over 40 reviews.
But of course, someone is always bound to come along with a contrarian view. New York critic Armond White has filed the first negative Up review (it hasn’t been officially added into the Tomatoemeter rating just yet).
White is known for having an differing viewpoint than traditional critics. He wrote one of the 5 negative reviews of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler and one of the four negative reviews of The Class. His list also includes unfavorable thumbs downs for Star Trek, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight, Gone Baby Gone, Iron Man, There Will Be Blood, and Zodiac. Did I mention that he gave Bedtime Stories a positive review?
White’s Up review is essentially an attack agains tthe non-Brad Bird-directed Pixar movies. Here is an excerpt from his review:
“Every Pixar film—including the new Up, gushed over by Cannes Film Festival shills—is greeted with nearly patriotic fervor. This absurdity clarifies contemporary news media’s unprincipled collusion with Hollywood capitalism.” … “Pixarism defines the backward taste for animation. Refuting Chuck Jones’ insistence that he didn’t create his great Warner Bros. cartoon for children, Pixarism domesticates and homogenizes animation—as if to preserve family values.” … “After ripping-off Albert Lamorisse’s classic The Red Balloon, dispersing it into Carl’s thousands of colorful orbs, Pixar then literalizes the meaning of flight as a commercial icon: Up. Here, it’s simply the means to “adventures” and not an ecstatic elevation of individual identity. Last year, elitist film nerds forgot how Hou Hsiao Hsien’s Flight of the Red Balloon also dishonored Lamorisse’s beautiful tale—as they cynically overrated the entropic Wall-E. All this deflated cinema and Pixarism mischaracterizes what good animation can be, as in Coraline, Monster House, Chicken Little, Teacher’s Pet, The Iron Giant. Up’s aesthetic failure stems from its emotional letdown.”
One bad review isn’t likely to bring Pixar’s floating house down to earth. I’d be surprised if this movie leaves theaters with more than 10 negative reviews.