Much has been written about how Pixar has become the surest thing in Hollywood. But with this level of consistency- even Cars, which was a low point only by Pixar’s lofty standards- has come a certain level of shrugging from the critical establishment. “Ho-hum,” we joke. “Another awesome Pixar release. What a shocker.” This is, to say the least, unfair, not least because although the element of surprise has long given way to an almost ironclad reliability, the movies have actually become more diverse in the past few years. The early Pixar releases stuck to a dependable formula- two buddies save the day, usually backed by a ragtag group of wacky misfits- ever since The Incredibles, Pixar’s features have grown increasingly unique. Incredibles’ colorful animation covered for the fact that it was a superior superhero movie, Ratatouille was a French-inflected foodie drama about an unlikely genius, and WALL*E was a cross between a silent film about a single-minded robot and the outer-space epic Jacques Tati never got around to making. And Pixar’s growth continues unabated with their latest, Up, which to these eyes may be their best film yet.