I've never reviewed a movie here, mostly because I think seeing art is such a subjective experience, and I don't take my opinion that seriously so why should anyone else.
Well, I'm making an exception for UP. Because I think it is the best movie of all time. It is certainly the best Disney/Pixar film ever, and that's saying something. It seems that with each film, they just get better and better and better, and with Up, they have exceeded all expectation.
When I saw the previews, I thought it was cute and visually appealing. The previews will draw people in, no doubt. The idea of a house being carried aloft by thousands of helium balloons is so whimsical, so much fun to think about, you have to go see it just for that. And the visuals don't disappoint. It's eye candy from beginning to end.
But the thing that Disney/Pixar excels at, though, in my humble opinion, is the heart of the story. Remember Jessie's musical montage in Toy Story 2? The basic human story line of The Incredibles? Wall*E when he first sees Eve? Somehow they take animated characters, most not even human, and hook us in the heart and make us cheer and cry and RELATE in ways that so many other films just can't.
"Up" does all of that to the nth degree. First of all, it's one of the few films of theirs that has humans as the central characters (the only other being "The Incredibles" and they were superheroes). As adorable and irascible as Carl seems in the previews, it truly doesn't do justice to the character. What you don't see in the previews is the backstory. It feels ridiculous calling it that, because it never feels like it's "back". It is ever present in every moment of the film - the REASON this person does what he does. It is so rich and so full and so beautifully told, that you by the end of the film it is so hard to say goodbye to these characters, these people you've come to know. You want to hug them, congratulate them for a job well done, and wish them well. And make them promise to send you a postcard the next time they go on an adventure.
I need to say one last thing: This is not a film you need be a parent to see. If you must, take some kiddos if you feel it's the only thing that legitimates your attending an "animated" film. But if you're a parent and your children are tinys? And you will spend a lot of time shhhshing and going to the bathroom and explaining? Give yourself this treat: see it with your honey first. Go on a date. Hold hands. Snuggle up. Or go with your best friend. Or by yourself. Just GO!