A young Carl Fredricksen stumbles upon a derelict house while playing in the street. Inside the house is a young tomboy Ellie, who just like Carl has a fascination with adventure and has been using the empty house as her clubhouse. More importantly they both idolise Charles F. Muntz (a famous explorer). Muntz has been accused of fabricating the skeleton of a giant bird he claimed to have discovered in Paradise Falls in Venezuela, and vows to return there to capture one alive. Ellie decides that she wants to move their club house to Paradise Falls and Carl promises that they will. Carl and Ellie grow up together, move into and fix up the derelict house, get married try for children and save up for an adventure of their own. After a long struggle to pool funds they eventually book up for their adventure. Unfortunately Ellie dies before they get a chance to make that trip and yes this all happens with in the first 10 minutes of the animation!
The story telling within this portion of the film set you on an emotional roller coaster. Every time I’ve watched this I and other family members can’t help but shed a few tears. Pixar have that inimitable talent of embedding the spirit of the characters into you very quickly in an absorbing way.
Carl, now older has remained living with in their home alone. With only memories and a few material items to remind hime of Ellie, he hasn’t managed to move on from his loss. This fact embeds itself further when his home is the only property left on the neighbourhood as property developers have compulsory purchased the entire estate. Turning it from a once leafy lane to a high rise town center. A construction worker visits Carl to pass on a message and accidentally breaks a hand painted mailbox; one of the remaining material items Carl and Ellie made. He loses control and lashes out at the construction worker. This results in a court order for him to move to a retirement home and leave the site for development.
Carl realises the predicament that he is in and instead of simply accepting the situation that is being handed to him, he looks for a route to escape. This is his last chance to try and keep the promise he had made with Ellie to transport their club house to Venezuela. With a little creativity he inflates a lot of helium balloons and ties them to the frame work of the house. The lift from the balloons turns the house in to a make shift air ship and off into the sky it floats. As Carl waves goodbye to the ground below and sits back in an armchair to relax. The doorbell rings and an accidental passenger appears in the form of a Wilderness Explorer, Russell, who is trying to gain his “helping the elderly” badge.
Reluctantly Carl realises that he has to take the young wilderness explorer under his wing.
By some miracle, the house eventually touches down near paradise falls, Venezuela. This being the location that Carl had promised Ellie to visit.
Through their exploration of their newly found base location they discover that life as an explorer has it’s pit falls and perils. Charles Muntz, the explorer that Carl once admired has settled here also continuing his search for the flightless bird that branded him a liar and cheat. Muntz obsesses to regain his heroic glory to the point that he believes the 2 intrepid explorers are competition on his bird hunt.
Carl and Russell end up being stuck between capturing this strange bird and re-uniting it with it’s chicks. As with all great stories good prevails over evil and the feathered family is returned.
At the beginning of UP we see the joyful side of Carl while he spends his time with Ellie. After her death his outlook on life is slightly bitter. He certainly doesn’t welcome Russell into the house with open arms upon first contact. However at the end of the movie Russell and Carl have more of a father son relationship that has warmed the heart of this cantankerous old man.
To help promote UP in cinemas, Disney Pixar released 3 short episodes to give fans a taster of what’s to come in the new release UP. These “UPisodes” where exclusive footage of Carl Fredricksen and Russell as they traveled through the Venezuelan jungle.
UPisode One: Animal Calls
UPisode Two: First Aid
UPisode Three: Snipe Trap
- Up was released at the cinema on May 29, 2009 in the US.
- It was Pixars 10th feature film.
- John Ratzenberger plays Tom the construction guy who asks if Carl is ready to sell.
- UP’s Director Pete Docter provides the voice for Kevin
- Elizabeth Docter (Pete’s Daughter) is Ellie Fredricksen when she is younger.
- Carl can’t move his head more than 20 degrees without moving his body aswell.
Up has to be one of my favourite Pixar films. The simplicity of the story is echoed in the animation, the music and the plot. The beauty of this story is there is two sides to every action / imagery. Carl’s seat and Ellie’s seat. Carl struggles to climb the hill, then she does. Small subtle details, that are easily missed, but it’s these details that add to the depth of this for me. If your not crying with in the first 10 minutes of the film you have been making a cup of tea. For this reason I am not allowed to watch it with my in-laws. The struggle of the ageing couple through their life’s journey followed by Carl completing his Adventurous journey. Finalising in a realisation that life’s adventures are not about climbing mountains or crossing continents. Life is about enjoying what you have when you have it and helping each other.