What I have come to appreciate about Pixar feature films is that every release does not lend itself to intense merchandising.
The merchandised Pixar films are actually quite good (Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles, etc.). Yet Pixar invests in a wider mission beyond merely trying to move product, they are also at least mildly interested in telling a good story. Ratatouille is a good example of this story telling trajectory. "Up" is another one of the Pixar feature films that tells a solid story. Looking at the characters, I don't see a kid going to the first day of school with a crotchety old man silk screened on the front of a t-shirt.
The story hits some heavy topics that went over the head of my young children, yet hit me square in the chest, nearly taking my breath away. I can't think of a family film, let alone a film in general, that squarely addresses truly enduring love woven with broken dreams and unfulfilled hopes, yet redirected with redemption. The film also had enough kid silliness, color and adventure to keep my 2 and 6 year old engaged. This was a miracle in itself--because the 2 year old hasn't found the movies all that interesting (which I don't consider a character or development flaw) and doesn't behave in the movie theater. I like to have family activities--and a trip to the cinema can be enjoyable for all. In that way, we have turned a corner. My Dad and I had a great day at the movies with the girls.