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Pixar sets a new high with its latest animated feature Up which rises to the occasion and proves to be as funny and thoughtful as it gorgeous to look at. The movie follows the adventures of a cranky old man stuck in his ways, mismatched with an over enthusiastic youngster whose intentions seem to always overshoot his abilities. Right from when the film first launches off, you know that this is going to be something different and special.

What could have been simply a light hearted kid’s adventure movie turned out to be a beautifully introspective story about letting go and finding a purpose in life, a theme that seemed to resonate even stronger with the adults in the audience. One moment the theater would be squealing with laughter and the next minute, you could almost hear the collective sound of everyone’s heart breaking, at the same time trying hard yourself to stifle back a tear. It is a rare thing to see a film that can pair tenderness & soul with giant blimps, yet Up somehow manages to pull it off.

My only thing I could take issue with in Up was that the main “buddy rescue” quest that drives of the latter half of the film is not well set up. The villain seemed to me an unusual choice, his dastardly plot coming across more convenient then evil, making the final conflict seem inflated out of proportion. For a film that has such powerful emotional impact falling short on this front is disappointing. Regardless, the movie manages to tell a beautifully moving story that engages the audience in a way that few animated films do. You are allowed to watch a man’s entire life unfold, feeling each thrill, hope, and heart-ache along with him. When you leave you feel like you have gotten to share something truly beautiful.

–Laura Gaddy