Here is another Disney/Pixar animated collaboration that is aimed more toward adults than children (see "WALL*E"). In fact, two of the adults who saw this with me feel strongly that it is far too dark and scary for children (although to be fair, I remember the forest fire and the death of the mother in "Bambi").

We are treated to a cute back story that explains how a little boy and girl met. This is followed by a montage of scenes that illustrates their life together: school days, dating, engagement, marriage, disappointments (complete with her inability to bear children), their aging and her death. Are you with me so far? (Most of the children in Wednesday's screening audience had lost interest by then.)

When we resume our story, the main character is now an elderly widower, complete with a four-footed cane. He is somewhat of a curmudgeon (Ed Asner provides an appropriate voice). He sees an old photo album in which some pages were left blank by his deceased wife; they were to be filled by pictures from her dream trip...which they never took. Overcome with regret, he devises a plan to go after all: float his house to South America via balloons.

Many of the story's elements were a little beyond the little 'un's understanding.

  • They had never heard of a "Snipe Hunt" which is what caused a little stowaway to end up floating along with the house when the old man attached thousands of helium balloons to it.
  • When our old man was a boy, his hero was an Air Force ace who was later stripped of his medals because he claimed that a peculiar bird existed, but he couldn't provide proof (that even confused ME!).
  • The vicious dogs were led by a Doberman named "Alpha," who obviously dominated the pack.
  • I never quite understood why the former hero was so homicidal.

I enjoyed the trek through the South American wastelands with the pudgy little boy's non-stop lament: "I want a drink of water!" "Are we there yet?" "My feet hurt!" "I'm hungry!" Some things never change.

Despite my complaints, this IS Pixar and this IS Disney, consequently, it will be a huge hit, so just be prepared to explain some of that other stuff, okay?

If the little one can stick it out through the scary parts, at least there is (finally!) a happy ending.