This film was made for 3D. Husband, the film guy, could tell you how the 3D was used as a cinematic something-something to express emotion when the action was feverish or whatever, but to me, it was just a lot of pretty pictures. Really pretty ones.
The back story was told in the most remarkably sensitive, beautiful way - without dialog to get in the way of "Image producing Feeling." I managed to love a character whose voice I never heard (adult Ellie). She becomes a leading force in the film without being present. Art-film stuff, huh?
The characters are likeable, even lovable - and I wasn't expecting that. The old man, voiced by Ed Asner, looked (in the previews) like a grumpy caricature. Not at all, it turns out. Flawed but redeemable characters, great dialog, prefect delivery, random surprises that I will not give away, and a few lines we'll be saying around our house for weeks to get a laugh ("Squirrel!" "I have just met you and I love you.") and gorgeous animation.
And don't look away laughing when Russell gets hit in the face by the tent pole. The welt over his eye disappears by the next moment, and you might (if you're a sicko like me who laughs when a kid - especially a cartoon kid, but maybe even my own kid - gets hurt) not want to miss that.
(Side note on the 3D glasses - they are much improved. By the last 20 minutes, they were sort of squeezing my head, but no carsickness from the 3D.)
Great summer film. GO SEE IT! VOTE TODAY! (and let those Hollywood types know what real families like in the theaters)
Over and out. And up, up and away.