Movie Review: UP!

Development on this movie began in 2004, Pete Docter and 11 fellow Pixar animators spent 3 days in Venezuela to research and gain inspiration. They were challenged wanting to create their animation so realistic however they succeeded when they released Up on May 29th, 2009. It was also the first Pixar film to be presented in Disney Digital 3D.

Up begins in the 1930s when an eight year old Carl Fredricksen (Jeremy Leary/Edward Asner) learns about the explorer Charles F Muntz (Christopher Plummer), whom he begins idolizing. Muntz was accused of lying about an exotic bird he found at Paradise Falls, so he left promising to not return until he captures one alive. Carl meets Ellie (Elle Docter), another Muntz fan and she confesses that one day she wants to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls.

Carl and Ellie stay best friends as they get older, falling in love and get married. They restore the house and attempt to have children but unfortunately they were told they couldn’t. Instead they begin saving up to visit Paradise Falls just like they said as kids. Now that they were old they hadn’t really saved up enough but Carl had promised his wife, who fell ill and died. 

Fast forward to the present day, construction for skyscrapers where happening all around Carl but he held firm not giving up his house. One day he accidentally injures one of the construction workers. The court ruled that Carl was a menace and he was forced to move to a retirement home. Carl still refused and instead turned his home into an airship using thousands of Helium Balloons. As the house lifts up, Russell (Jordan Nagal), a wilderness explorer,  gets stuck on board when he was attempting to earn his last merit badge. 

Russell, now inside helps Carl but as they slew over South America, they were caught up in nimbus storm. Unfortunately for them they land on a cliff, which was opposite of the falls. Carl and Russell strap themselves into a harness to set out towards the falls before the balloons deflate. On the way they meet a colorful bird that Russell names Kevin then a golden retriever named Dug (Bob Peterson), who can talk through a special collar. The following day a pack of aggressive Doberman Pinschers approach, led by their leader Alpha. The dogs take Carl and Russell to their master, Charles Muntz, Muntz brings the two onboard to explain how he’s been searching for a large flightless bird. Carl mentions that it sounds similar to Kevin. Muntz begins to get hostile, believing that Carl and Russell are out in Paradise Falls to capture the bird as well. 

The two flee with Kevin and Dug back to the house with Muntz in pursuit. Muntz is able to capture Kevin after starting a fire under Carl’s home, forcing Carl to choose between the two. Carl saves the house angering Russsell, who runs away. Carl and Dug look through Ellie’s scrapbook to find she had filled it with photos from their marriage, the last just before she died, thanking him for the adventure. Carl notices that Russell is sailing off with balloons and a leaf blower on his way to save Kevin. Carl threw the furniture out to take off after Russell. Russell is captured by Muntz and Carl goes to rescue him, tethering his home to the dirigible. Carl frees Russell and Kevin as Dug stops Alpha (Bob Peterson) with a cone of shame, becoming the new leader of the pack. Muntz tries to stop them by untethering the house but he gets caught up and falls to his death. The house as well after loosing too many balloons to stay afloat. 

Carl and Russell return Kevin to her nest full of chicks before flying the dirigible home. Russell gets the “Assisting the Elderly” badge just before Carl give Russell the grape soda cap, the same Ellie had given him. The movie ends with a shot of the house now settled on the cliff next to Paradise Falls, just as Carl promised Ellie all those years ago. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

So honestly I would be okay never watching UP! again. It is okay in my book but except for the scenes from Carl and Ellie meeting until Ellie’s death of old age, and then the very end with Carl supporting Russell, I just wasn’t invested in the story. Of course Doug, Kevin and Alpha (the doberman with the voice box problems) make the rest of the film better but overall once is enough for me. Matthew, my 8 year old, does enjoy because he just does, at least according it him. I’m going to assume it is because of the vast amount of colors and the way Carl used thousands of balloons to lift the house. The Easter eggs are amazingly placed throughout the movie but it doesn’t feel like it really fits in the theories that well as a movie on its own.

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