Just like "Wall-E" a year ago, Pixar delivers one of the best films of the year in "UP". These two films excel for the same reason: humanity. The animation is beautiful and technically flawless but it rightfully supports - and never overpowers - the emotional pull of the story. Carl, the 78 year old grump, is a wonderfully unusual choice for a protagonist in an animated film. Underneath his grouchiness, he delivers the heart and soul of the film through his faithful dedication to his recently deceased wife, Ellie.

The film opens with a youthful Carl meeting a spirited Ellie, who shares his dream of being an adventurer. Her boundless spirit and energy complements his reticence and brings him out of his shell. Its a cute and blushing scene, however the real heart of the film follows in a 10 minute wordless sequence which chronicles their relationship from childhood to courtship and marriage until old age. Compressing such a long period of time can come off as trivial but this particular scene perfectly celebrates the beauty of lifelong love without words. It is a heartfelt homage to growing old together and captures the little things in life which endear Carl and Ellie to each other. Truly one of the best sequences I've seen on film in a long time. We now feel the emotional motivation behind Carl's mission to fulfill his recently deceased wife's dream of traveling to a Lost Land in South America.

Of course, all this emotion and sentiment is balanced by the wonderment of his flying house and by bits of humor and physical comedy - most of which are delivered by the 8 year old stowaway Russell and their animal companions. While I think this film might be over the heads of children under 5 years old, it is certainly a treat for the rest of us.


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