Up Gets a Negative Review: Who Dares Bad Mouth Pixar??

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Well, Pixar’s Up hits theatres tomorrow (or tonight at midnight in some places), and once again, the Pixar name almost seems to be overshadowing the movie itself. I’ll be honest, I still know next to nothing about the damn flick (which is probably a good thing), but the early reviews have been as ecstatic as ever. Mike Goodridge over at Screen Daily already started the inevitable Oscar buzz with his review, and it’s currently sitting at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. But wait a minute… less than 100%? For a Pixar movie? That can’t be right!

The Pixar police are out scanning reviews looking for any hint of negativity, and they’ve zeroed in on critic Armond White, who gave the movie its first thumbs down. He calls it overly sentimental, predictable, and cloying, among other things. /Film points out that White has given unfavourable reviews to plenty of critical darlings including The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Dark Knight, but does that make his opinion any less valid? Maybe he has unpopular taste in movies, or maybe he’s just going against the crowd to stand out, but either way, I’m glad to see an opposing point of view as long as it’s justified. I’m getting sick of hearing nothing but rave reviews for Pixar movies. While I’m looking forward to Up, sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical when you’re surrounded by so much blind faith. What do you think, does Armond White know what he’s talking about? Is Pixar overrated, or do they deserve every bit of praise they get?



  • Overrated.

    But if this guy didn’t like The Wrestler, I don’t trust him.

  • what were the reviews like for Cars? i think out of all the pixar movies, this is the one i read/hear the least about. did people not like it? did they find it enjoyable but perhaps found it the weakest pixar offering?

    did anybody here see Cars? thumbs up or fart sound?

  • I think generally people think Cars is a decent movie, but not up to Pixars usual standards.

    I have seen half of it and it’s definitely a fart sound for me.

  • It’s my least favourite, but I know it has some supporters out there. It didn’t win the Animated Feature Oscar, but then, neither did Monsters, Inc.

  • mrbenning

    I, too, saw half of Cars. Couldn’t finish it. Just didn’t think it was funny or charming.

    I’m more curious about what Armond White did like, rather than what he didn’t.

  • His top movies for the past 10 years:

    1997: Amistad
    1998: Saving Private Ryan
    1999: A Moment of Innocence
    2000: George Washington
    2001: A.I. Artificial Intelligence
    2002: Femme Fatale
    2003: Together
    2004: Vera Drake
    2005: Munich & War of the Worlds
    2006: Broken Sky
    2007: The Darjeeling Limited
    2008: Happy-Go-Lucky

    Clearly the guy likes Spielberg.

  • mrbenning

    Thanks for doing the research! It seems he does like Spielberg a lot, even going so far as to make 2 of his movies the ‘best’ in 2005. (for the record, I did like both of them)

    Oh, and to answer the question from the post, they deserve the praise they get.

  • Aaron

    I’m all for a critic calling a movie to task. Where were the haters when the reviews for the obnoxiously overrated Slumdog Millionaire started rolling in?!! I’ll have to research Mr. White’s record, but I’m fine with his critical take on Up as long is it’s critical and not plain ‘ol Pixar-bashing. I guess the larger question is…are there now enough Pixar entries made that critics can be more critical in their reviews of them?

  • Glendon

    I wouldn’t call positive reviews of a movie they’ve seen blind faith.

  • “”farts in your general direction::

  • Jon

    Armond White’s opinion cannot be trusted. He called “Wall-e” conventional. Even if you did not like “Wall-e” as much as everyone else, the last thing you would call it is conventional. I can understand your dismay at seeing nothing but raves, but I would try to go in with an open mind and not let that affect how you judge the film.

  • “2001: A.I. Artificial Intelligence”

    And this guy didn’t like The Dark Knight AND THE WRESTLER!?!?!?!?

    Wow.

  • MJS

    The Pixar FANBOYS (yes, that’s what they are) are clearly worse than Trekkies. Pixar movies are neat, but come on, the idea that a single negative review is offensive is rediculous. Eventually people are going to turn on Pixar, they’re going to start holding them up to the same standard they hold other prestige films eventually.

  • I don’t why people would have a problem with someone not liking the film if they present valid reasons. I think the biggest problem with reviewers sometimes is they like what they think they should like and aren’t objective as they should be.

  • hungSolo

    I really liked Wall-E right up to the part where the humans were introduced. Then it did become quite conventional. Until that point, I’d thought Pixar had produced something on par with Fantasia.

    Is Pixar overrated? Sure. Do I still like a lot of things about their movies? Yep.

  • Matt Keith

    Worth the praiseIMO.

  • Niklas

    I dunno.. clearly Pixar makes the best animated movies out there. I dont like all their movies but The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Wall-E are up there with some original Disney classics for me. I dont know why they should get bad reviews if they make good movies?

  • If I were a kid, I would much rather see TMNT than Ratatouille. If I were an adult, I would much rather see TMNT than Ratatouille.

    That guy clearly does like Steven Spielberg. I will call him retarded.

  • swarez

    Ratatouille is the only Pixar film that I really disliked story vise. Cars comes a close second. The rest of their stuff is pretty much gold in my book.

  • Matt

    This Armond White guy is clearly going against the grain of what the majority says just so that his review has an impact on the aggregate score of the film. And that’s total bullshit. His reviews are incredibly insicere. His goals seem to be to get a reaction and attention and get people to talk about him. And that’s exactly what he accomplished. And besides, how can you be a Spielberg fan and not have Minority Report as your best movie of 2002?
    IMO, Pixar’s movies aren’t over-rated. Ratatouille is the one I liked the least.

  • MJS

    Armond White has been batshit since long before aggregate sites, I’ll stil defend his decision to criticise Pixar

  • Justice

    I wouldn’t in my dreams call Pixar overrated. Name me one other director/studio that have consistently put out high quality movies year after year and still manage to improve pretty much yearly? There aren’t any. Pixar is hands down the best movie house in film today.

    I haven’t seen Up yet so I can’t say if Armond White’s criticism is fair or not, but take a look at his history, and I quote: “Forget the Oscar bait, Transporter 3 is the only movie you need to see this season.” Enough said.

  • Cochise

    Argh!!!

  • Gina

    Well I saw UP and was not a fan. I think it is visually awesome and great for adults, but somehow I don’t think I should have to be explaining infertility, death, depression, and detached fathers during a Pixar movie. There were several times during the film that the packed audience was so quiet and stunned and sad that all you could hear was my 3 year old munching on popcorn. It’s a Disney Pixar film, she’s 3. I thought it would go hand in hand, but it didn’t. Throw me in that 3% that think this is one of Pixar’s weakest.

  • Trent

    It doesnt help that Armond White’s Picture is cocky as hell looking lol.

  • Matt

    Armond White’s reviews aren’t justified. He trash talks good films then praises bad films just to get a rise. Quit defending this piece of human excrement. Better yet, quit talking about him altogether, he doesn’t deserve attention.

  • emily

    I don’t think Pixar (as a studio) is overrated. But Wall-e and Up sure are.

  • emily

    And about Armond White, I think he is obviously very intelligent, and rather than “mean,” is quite sensitive to the films he sees. I think his not liking a lot of the more critically praised films demonstrates that he hasn’t fallen into accepting Hollywood for Hollywood’s sake, and is able to keep a sharp awareness of insincerity in recent filmmaking.

    Though I can’t emphasize with many of his good and bad movie reactions, I don’t think there’s anything bad about a reviewer expressing himself with passion backed up by wittiness(whether its to praise or criticize).

  • ashlay

    White’s just as guilty of an obsession with Hollywood as anyone he accuses in his reviews. Whatever happened to just reviewing a movie on it’s own merits? does it really matter who made it or who’s gonna watch it?

    As the monk says to his fellow aesthetic:
    “I carried her across the river. But you have been carrying her ever since.”

  • emily

    From what I’ve read of his reviews, he makes fair and often poignant arguments about films. I may not agree with him always, but in an ideal world, I think critics should be allowed to have opinions that vary from other critics’ opinions without being slandered all over on the internet by movie fans. Just saying.

  • art

    yes,pixar is way overated-i,too am tired of hearing only of them. dreamworks and bluesky studios are indeed equals! let’s hear for somebody other than disney/pixar!and i do indeed like pixar myself.oh,by the way “up” sucked!!

  • James E.

    I have yet to see a Pixar movie I enjoyed. The stories are generally not all that interesting, and the animation is too perfect. And, in its perfection, does not reveal much about the human condition.

    For interesting, nuanced animation, try anything by the National Film Board of Canada (generally shorts), or something like “The Triplets of Bellville”. Now that’s a fascinating movie.

  • Ken

    I agree with the author of this article. Pixar is WAY too overrated. It’s not that their movies are bad (which they’re not, they’re good in fact). It’s that the majority of the public fail to notice obvious flaws that prevent these movies from being great:

    Finding Nemo– paper thin story, but PLENTY of swim-for-your-life-action-scenes which is tiring.

    Cars– a billion and a half car-related in-jokes that you wouldn’t understand (or even care about unless you like cars.)

    Incredibles– it ends just when it gets exciting. And some scenes are directly taken from previous superhero flicks.

    Wall-E– It would have made an EXCELLENT short film.

    Ratatouille— Overstuffed with too much “blah” for what you get.

    Up– Hard to follow, because an old man ends up being Indiana Jones to resolve his problems. Plus, his character design and personality was ripped-off from Mr. Magoo.

  • David

    Up is amazing, you should have no heart and taste if you didn’t liked. Pixar is amazing, non of his movies are perfect but they are original. And Carl’s design is a little based on Walter Mattau and Muntz’s design is based on Kirk Douglas.

  • Jess

    Anyone who says Pixar is bad or that any of their movies are overrated is a complete and utter retard.

  • CJ Met

    OVERRATED
    Up was actually better than I expected, no that that says much. Over the last decade Pixars has become extremely overrated. The only movies I can find enjoyable are The Incredibles and Ratatulie, and even they lack what Dreamworks and Disney can do. I was officially turned off by them at last years awards when WALL-E swept EVERY SINGLE award show when it should have gone to Kung Fu Panda or at the very least Bolt and Horton hears a who. And the secons they don’t win the Annie award they spread rumors that Dreamworks bribed the award show (if that’s even possible) When they weren’t nominated for best picture they claimed they were being “snubbed”. And what makes there film any different from any other film not nominated? Pixars can’t make relateable stories. They lack feeling thats easy to get intuned to. Up was the first one in a while that actually had feeling but it was TOO MUCH. Even after all the hype they’ve already won sveral golden globes. I hoping the Annies hold true, but I have no hope for the Oscars

  • Bradc

    I dont know how “UP” unbelieveably besotted every critic. I have enjoyed all the Pixar films, yet I felt “UP” was a poorly plotted and unsatisfying film. It had no second act (and I mean, NO second act: Skip the balloon trip across the world and jump cut to the finale), and the third act piled on action film cliches and wildly unimaginative obstacles (packs of zombied dogs -Weeee! ) on what began as a wonderful heartwarmer. Yes, the beginning was wonderful, but the second half felt completely disconnected. Garbage thrown on roses. I, frankly don’t know why every critic missed that fact the film descended into Hollywood junk. I absolutely am baffled by this and bouyed to see that others dare to recognize that Pixar isn’t infalible when it comes to making films. Their early work had much better writing, but now everyone employed there seems to believe their an auteur (based on the fact that for awhile they were the ONLY animation act in town) and capable only of genius. Frankly, I hardly find their films geniunely funny any more. “Toy Story” made me laugh, but since then … well…. And “UP,” for me, was the weakest effort they’ve put out. A beautiful short that descended into an bad action film.

  • d keir

    Up was a complete and utter disappointment, boring, stupid annoying talking dogs, poorly directed.Tedious beyond words, animation and characterisation were terrible. Most definitely Pixar’s weakest effort to date after Wall-E. This is not the Pixar of old, at this rate i would want Pixar to quit altogether, rather than embarass themselves further. The list of what i think are the Pixar movies of best to worst are 1. Toy Story 2. Toy Story 2. 3. The Incredibles 4. Monsters Inc 5. Ratatouille 6. Cars 7. A Bug’s Life 8. Finding Nemo 9. Wall-E 10. Up

  • Jess

    ^ Wow, d keir, you’re a dumbass. Up is a phenomenal movie; not ONE moment in it is boring, tedious, or stupid. And what the fuck are you talking about?! Poorly directed?! Terrible animation?! Terrible characterization?! It was directed perfectly! The animation is beyond amazing! The characters are great! Shut the fuck up and get the fuck out of the country you retarded cunt!

  • Frank Lee Mydear

    PIXAR IS SOOOOOO NOT OVERRATED!!!
    Up is a phenomenal movie – the best movie of 2009 without a doubt. It’s funny, clever, heartwarming, charming, and exciting; great directing, lovable characters, and phenomenal animation. I will admit that I like WALL-E better (and WALL-E is my favorite movie of all time), but I still love Up. Pixar has never made a bad movie. Anyone who says that any of Pixar’s movies or shorts are bad or overrated or that Pixar as a company is overrated is COMPLETELY wrong. All of Pixar’s movies are hilariously funny, heartwarming, phenomenally animated, clever masterpieces and they always will be. Pixar as a studio isn’t overrated and it never will be; none of their spectacular movies or short films are overrated and they never will be. The real overrated animation studio is Dreamworks. They are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO overrated that it’s not even funny, and the only great movies they’ve ever made were the first Shrek movie and Kung Fu Panda; Over the Hedge, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Shrek 2 and 3, and the Madagascar movies are pretty decent, but not great; Shark Tale and Bee Movie sucked; and I thought Antz was just completely stupid. The truth is, while all of Pixar’s movies so far are unbelievably great, most of the Dreamworks movies aren’t that great. Also, Dreamworks is the studio that has to turn every single movie into a huge franchise – even if the movie wasn’t good!!! And somehow, Dreamworks movies win awards that the Pixar movies deserve! Hmm… fart jokes and unfunny pop culture references (Dreamworks) are better than beautiful, brilliant, touching, stories (Pixar)? Yeah, that makes perfect sense! *cough*NOT!*cough*

    And to those very few people who thought that Up sucked, maybe you should try watching the movie when you’re a little older. Maybe then you’ll understand it then. ;)

  • Jess

    Ken, you’re a fucking retarded cunt. Those flaws you mentioned aren’t even in the Pixar movies that you mentioned.

    Finding Nemo – a stunningly beautiful materpiece about the love between father and son. (Phenomenal movie.)

    Cars – a hilariously funny, exciting, wonderfully animated, and heartwarming film about finding your roots. (Great movie.)

    The Incredibles – a fun, action-packed comedy about the importance of family. (Amazing movie.)

    Ratatouille – a hilarious, fun, and beautifully animated film about following your dreams. (Really great movie.)

    WALL-E – easily, the best CG film of all time; funny, touching, visually amazing, original, etc. (Indescribably great movie.)

    Up – a great story, great humor, great animation, great characters, and a great message. (Phenomenal movie.)

    So Up is hard to follow, you say? The jokes in Cars are hard to understand unless you’re interested in cars, huh? Ken, buddy, you’re just a brainless, retarded dumbass. THAT’S why Pixar’s too hard for you to follow. Anyone who says that any of Pixar’s are bad or that Pixar is overrated is a brainless retard and is too stupid to grasp the concept of a great movie. Pixar is not overrated; they never have been, and they never will be. Dreamworks has always been overrated and they always will be. Ken is an idiot with horrible taste and he always will be Period. Case closed. End of discussion.

  • Chuck

    I hated UP. I hate all animated films that aren’t funny. UP was boring and didn’t let you know what you were getting into until you saw it. It was depressing, too far, and might as well have been live action because it’s sad when animation gets praised just for being serious and dramatic. Pixar always has movies that go too far and they stink. Pixar tricks the kids into making their parents see it by the silly trailers but end up having some dramatic and unnecessary crap. That’s why Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs is probably if not the best, one of the best animated movies of all time. It keep everyone interested, parents and kids alike. Pixar just makes dramatic movies because they know that drama always gets oscars. It’s a sad but true thing. Comedy doesn’t get the praise it deserves although laughter is a medicine. It’s sad when we take the laughter out of cartoons.

  • Heather

    I didn’t care for Up overall. While some parts were amazing, I actually would say it would be much better as a short film in some respects. I utterly despised the flying dogs in aeroplanes and the humour wasn’t that great as well as the villain falling flat.

    Carl however was a great character, but simply everything else to push the plot around and stretch it out wasn’t that great- Dug was funny at first but eventually grew annoying as did Russell.

    Oh and Jess, even though it’s been a few months ad-honinem attacks are terrible and reflect badly on the person making them all the time. Don’t do it. They are entitled to their opinion and that doesn’t make them stupid. And really do you think Pixar cares or needs your “defence”? I’m sure they’re wiping their tears on 50 dollar bills right about now that someone didn’t like some of their movies -rolls eyes-

  • Minez

    Oh don’t get my started on Pixar.

    I’ve hated this overrated, self-righteous studio since the rather mediocre Wall-e stole the academy award for best animated feature from the well-deserving movie Bolt.

  • You think Pixar fanboys are bad? You think, Trekkies and fanboys are bad? Well, how about those hateboys? The trolls. They’re scums of the net, like Ken and Mr. Minez over there.

    Up was genius. It dared to do something no filmmakers dared to do – put an old man as the main character in a children’s movie, causing several retards to dare call it ‘boring’ and ‘dull,’ being unable to see the subliminal message that is an aging man yearning to fulfill the promise to his beloved wife he never had the opportunity to do so. Suck it, Dreamworks.

  • Pixie

    I’m glad Armond’s reviews are no longer being posted on Rotten Tomatoes. It seems people are finally beginning to ignore him.

  • sheralaine

    Thank you Mr white! Finally someone has the nerve to treat a pixar film like any other and not as some incredible god sent gift from heaven all because of their name being stamped all over it. Yeah we all cry at the opening scene but what next? Can anyone remember the rest of that film,other than a cute dog,a cute kid,some tall,rainbow coloured bird and a psychopath for a villain? Come on people pixar Isn’t perfect!

  • we4bears

    My 8 year old daughter and I tried to watch Up this morning for the first time. Both of us were bored… and because the reviews were so good I kept trying to give it the benefit of the doubt. We are about an hour in now and I’m pretty miserable watching this movie. I don’t get the hype at all. Boring!!!