After the major disappointment of "Cars", Pixar comes back in full form with Brad Bird's latest animated masterpiece. Simply put, the man's a genius.
I had no interest in this film originally (other than it being Pixar, and under Bird's name), so it was quite a surprise to find myself as captivated by it as I was. The characters are handled perfectly, and the slapstick humor is executed in fun and creative ways. The picture even manages to include a number of stunning action sequences, proving once and for all that Bird and his team can take even the most tired elements and do something exciting with them.
The film is also refreshingly deep, featuring a combination of mature adult themes and a wonderfully handled message for the younguns (unlike the usual stock messages that most family-oriented films provide).
Like "The Incredibles" and "The Iron Giant" before it (both directed by Bird), there's a balance struck here that allows people of all ages to appreciate what the film has to offer. The kids will love the silly characters, energetic sequences, and goofy gags, while the older audience members can enjoy those very same elements (since they're handled in a way that's not at all condescending), plus much more. In particular, the writing is sensational, adding a non-stop series of hilarious moments to the mix without sacrificing character development or a strong story.
Brad Bird sure knows how to make a classy picture. This is one for the ages.
9 out of 10