The characterizations are fairly coarse cartoons, in contrast to the emotionally rich cartoons that have become Pixar's hallmark. They're more schematic than organic, and that applies to the plotting as well.
It propels the viewer up, up and away in an experience combining smart, imaginative storytelling with dazzling dreamlike visuals, creating an experience that is the special province of animation -- at once utterly convincing and completely impossible.
This is a wonderful film. It tells a story. The characters are as believable as any characters can be who spend much of their time floating above the rain forests of Venezuela.
From the title onward, Up is a stratospheric success. It's guaranteed to lift your spirits, and not with a pushy DreamWorks-style gag reel of celebrity voices and committee-processed one-liners.
Through its writing, direction and execution, Up doesn't just achieve hipness, it transcends it. With its spirit of fun and adventure, it echoes Raiders of the Lost Ark (only funnier) -- it's a thrill ride, but a thrill ride with heart.