I liked Up. While it follows the traditional Disney/Pixar animated format (c’mon, we all know that pretty much every story line from Disney is the same), it was nevertheless an enjoyable afternoon at the local movie uberplex with my family.
For those unfamiliar with the film, Dug is a dog. That talks. Or rather, his collar speaks on his behalf, translating his doggy thoughts into Bob Peterson’s voice. Dug wants nothing more than to be part of the pack led by the dog Alpha (with Beta and Gamma at his side, of course), as they carry out assignments from their master. Sadly for Dug though, he doesn’t have the personality or skill set (read: he’s too sweet, goofy, and innocent) to fit in. Which, as someone who is not unfamiliar with time spent on the outside of the cool cliques, is one of the reasons I love Dug.
"Dug’s Special Mission" is a prequel to Dug’s story line in Up. Since there's no way in hell I'm publishing spoilers to a four and a half minute animated film, I'll just say this about the plot: It follows Dug as he tries to fit in with his pack, attacking with gusto the useless “missions” meant to keep him out of the way, ultimately explaining how he meets the main characters in the film. And it’s great. Because really, what’s better than a tasty, well-written chunk of animation that makes you laugh out loud? Not so much.
I’m an unapologetic fan of Dug’s, particularly in his ADD moments (“SQUIRREL!”), so more Dug is always a good thing, and "Dug’s Special Mission" makes a great Dug fix. It's my favorite Pixar short yet, and if I have any criticism at all, it’s that it’s too short a short (maybe make it a medium next time?).
If you have kids and haven’t seen Up, you should. If you have seen it, well, you don’t need me to tell you if you want to see it again. But I can tell you this: whether you’ve seen it or not, you certainly won’t be disappointed in "Dug’s Special Mission," a great DVD extra well worth watching.