If there was ever truly such thing as an instant classic, in my opinion “Up” would be one of the all time greatest. 2009’s animated Pixar spectacular tells the story of young Carl Frederickson who dreams to one day grow up and go on an adventure like his long time idol and world famous explorer Charles F. Muntz. Carl idolises the explorer regardless of the fact that Muntz had recently been accused of fraud. After returning from a trip to Venezuela with a skeleton of a creature he dubbed the ‘The Monster of Paradise Falls’, Muntz is disgraced and accused of forgery; in order to clear his name he vows to go back to ‘Paradise Falls’ and return with a live specimen as proof.
On Carl’s way home from the movies, he bumps into the ever-so-energetic Ellie, who is also a self proclaimed explorer. Ellie and Carl begin a childhood friendship which soon blossoms into romance and years later, as young adults, they are married. We are treated to a brief glimpse of Carl and Ellie’s life together until fast-forwarding to an elderly current day carl who is left devastated after Ellie becomes sick and dies. Now widowed and alone, carl shuts himself away in the house he once shared with the love of his life.
After an incident involving the construction crew who are trying to force Carl out of his lifelong home, he makes the decision to fulfil a promise to his wife, by turning their house into an airship and relocating it Paradise Falls; just like she always wanted. With this gesture, Carl embarks on the adventure he Ellie had always dreamed of. Things don’t quite go as smoothly as expected when an accidental stowaway in the form of young Russel (a “Wilderness Explorer” who had been on the porch at the time of lift-off) knocks on the door. However, things take a much darker turn when arrive together at Paradise Falls and realise they might not be alone. Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, “I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.” Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.
Pixar, is one of the few companies, which seem to release hit after hit with very few stinkers in-between. They clearly care about their movies and it shows completely in the quality of films they produce. No Pixar movie relies on its superb visual effects alone, the primary focus is always on story, and “Up” is no exception. Anyone who can sit through the first act of this film without holding back the urge to cry… is soulless unemotional monster (and you can quote me on that!).
I personally feel that the relationship between Ellie and Carl may be one of the greatest romances of the twentieth century – and the whole thing plays out in the opening 10 minutes – it isn’t even the main focus of the film. You could stop the DVD after the opening scenes and it would still be a better love story than ‘Twilight’ managed to accomplish in four feature length films.
This really is a visual masterpiece with a script which can appeal to all ages. It’s heart-warming, hilarious and filled with adventure and excitement, which is something which you won’t find with a lot of movies these days. It’s really hard to write a review for a film like this without loading it with spoilers, because on the face of it, it’s a film about an old man who misses his wife and turns his house into a make-shift blimp using an excessive amount of balloons, but in reality… it’s a man’s vow to keep a promise to his late wife whilst simultaneously helping a small Asian American child to rescue a rare bird from he clutches of a madman with the aid of a talking dog – but when you say it like that, people take you less seriously.
“Up” is a must see movie; It’s one of Pixars best and If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.
And here’s hoping that one day, we all find the Ellie to our Carl…