Best movie of the year.
You'll cry. You'll laugh. You'll cry some more. You'll feel inspired to live your dreams. You'll look at your life and say that while you went 1 way and ended up another, it "made all the difference."
I don't know if this is a movie for kids so much as the kid in adults. The beginning is heavy. At one point, Ariel asked me if Ellie was going to die and I nodded because I already knew what was coming. How else does Carl end up alone? But nevertheless, the heavy stuff isn't so much in the death (sitting alone at the front of a church), but in the cracking of the savings jar every time a calamity arises or going to the obstetrician's office and seeing him point at the womb and realizing she's barren. Perhaps even more powerful is the frustration of Carl as he's being forced out of his house by an evil builder that looks like something malicious out of the Matrix only to be told that he doesn't seem like a menace to society when he's given 1 night to gather his belongings and be ditched in the old folks home.
But then comes the balloons and life goes UP!! And it does get positive, but...
For all the kids in the audience, they weren't doing the fun Madagascar 2 and Monsters vs. Aliens thing that we saw them getting into when we saw those movies at the theater (Amish Paradise gets a lot of first run family films and charges $5 a person to see them).
The animation was spectacular. Paradise Falls did seem an ultimate destination for a waterfall aficionado like myself, and things did seem realistic. Russell as the lost little kid without a male role model (a younger Carl) was also really fun and played well in the pictures of the New Adventure Book. Charles Muntz is positively evil and his dogs run between amusing and evil, which makes them the perfect villains for an old guy, a young boy, a talking dog, and a rare bird to have to run away from.