I saw Up for the first time about a week ago, and absolutely adored it. There wasn’t a second that I looked away out of boredom. I was hesitant that I would like it, but as soon as the movie opened with Carl and Ellie’s budding friendship-turned-romance, I knew it was going to be a quality movie for people of all ages. For me, Up is essentially a story of transition between different stages in life. We begin with Carl’s childhood, then we see his adulthood alongside Ellie progress, and after, how he becomes a grumpy and alone old man after the loss of his true love. I never thought animated movies could be so moving. I was emotional throughout the entire feature clip of Carl’s life, and got SUPER emotional especially as he and Ellie grew older together, when you could that see she was starting to have trouble climbing up their favorite hill, and of course when she passes away, leaving Carl with her treasured Adventure Book. It was clear to see that she gave him life, and that without her, he was merely surviving, not truly living.
Back to Carl as a kid, he believed SO much in his hero, Charles Muntz. I just knew something had to go wrong, it was so easy to sense. Nearing the end of the movie when Charles’ true characteristics reveal themselves, we learn that sometimes you get let down by either events or even people you look up to. Expectations are not always reality.
Alongside this already heavy lesson are even more serious adult issues such as infertility, death, divorce, parental neglect, inability to pay for things or to go on the adventure you always wanted to go on… I was surprised to find so many sad themes in an animated film, but they brought the movie to life for me. As an adult, it made it so much easier for me to connect with the characters and feel REAL feelings of sympathy for them. I think Pixar did an incredible job incorporating these experiences and lessons into the movie in such a way as to connect with all audiences (and not scare younger viewers).
I was amazed at how serious yet witty and funny Up was, sometimes all in the same time span. One minute I was feeling sad for Russell who was talking about the neglect he bore from his absent father, the next I was totally laughing at the talking dogs’ voices (how old am I???).
Though the flying house was 100% unrealistic, I felt the significance of such an occurrence. It was Carl’s ultimate escape plan from society (from the nursing home, from corporate greed, etc.), and it was his last chance to finally bring Ellie to her lifelong dream of Paradise Falls. On his way to the faraway land, when Carl faces a harsh storm, he desperately clings onto the items from his past. It was clear that he just couldn’t let go of these reminders of his memories. In the end, though, Carl learns to move on from his past and leaves his house at Paradise Falls. In realizing that he didn’t let Ellie down like he thought he did for so many years, Carl opens his heart up to happiness and to the idea of a family again. He “adopts” Russell (in essence, becomes the father – or grandfather – he always wanted to be but never was), takes in Dug, and helps free Kevin. The movie ends with Carl taking Ellie’s advice and starting his own adventure. (sheds small tear)
I’m so happy that I finally got to see what all the rave was about with Up. There were so many lessons and emotions to be taken away from it. It has definitely earned a spot on my top movies list!