By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.
Pixar delivers another amazingly stunning artistic piece that transcends generations and touches your heart whether you are five or seventy five years old.
The first few minutes of UP play out like an animated short showing the story of how the main character Carl and his wife Ellie met as children and spent their lives together, always planning to getaway to Rainbow Falls only to have life’s emergencies keep costing them their savings. It reminds us all how when we try to save for a retirement or vacation, often an emergency dips into our life savings to cover the unexpected. I was nearly left in tears by just the opening of the film, as the life full of love comes with the loss that you know is coming. Most of the introduction to the film has barely any spoken words, and is more played like a flashback through Carl and Ellie’s lives.
Once you reach where Carl is in the present you see his a man in a house surrounded by construction, his desperation and frustration at being alone have him rather crabby and hostile toward the outside world. When a construction worker voiced by John Ratzenberger (who has a cameo in I think every single Pixar film ever made) tries to make an offer on his house on behalf of a corporate tycoon, Carl just tells them off.
Shortly his temper and frustration get him into a situation where he is going to be forced into a retirement home and to spare himself, he decides to keep his promise to Ellie who he now personifies as the house. Using many helium balloons he lifts the house and sets sail for South America toward the Rainbow Waterfalls as promised.
Picking up a kid eager to earn his final scout badge to help the elderly and a canine with a translating collar along the way, the movie is filled with adventure, humor and sadness as we are taken to a magical world in a mythical place in South America. The movie plays out so beautifully with suspense, comedy and sadness all poised at exactly the right points to make you feel exactly how the director intended.
The movie is about spirit and adventure and achieving everything you wanted to do in life, it shows mortality, aging, and how friends and family and the life we spend with each other are what matter most in the end.
This film is like watching a beautiful piece of art, and honestly is among Pixar’s best. It has among the most unique stories out of any film period, and has the heart, humor and design for the entire family. I could not recommend a movie more this year, as this was the best film I have seen in the past year without any doubt.
Watch the trailer: