Death holds no terror for Carl Fredrickson (Ed Asner) after the passing of his beloved Ellie, to whom he was married for over 50 years. But assisted living, to which he is ordered after an altercation with a workman trying to remove the mailbox from his house, evidently does. So Carl comes up with a novel solution: Inflate thousands of helium balloons (his job at the time of the incident), attach them and a pair of homemade sails to his house, and fly the house to Paradise Falls in South America, which he and Ellie always wanted to see.
Russell, a Wilderness Explorer Scout whose journey in life is just beginning, arrives on the day Carl is to fly away in his house and becomes trapped on the porch when it takes off. His mission is to win the "Assisting the Elderly" merit badge. Carl is at this point a crusty and even bitter old man, but gradually warms to Russell and the animals who befriend Russell after gradual deflation of the balloons limits the house to floating just fifty feet off the ground, a few miles short of their goal. They then begin walking the house towards the falls. Enter the villain, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), a mad explorer in a dirigible assisted by a pack of (mostly mean) dogs whose only remaining goal is to capture one of the animals befriending Russell, a rare bird and mother of three named Kevin.
"Up" explores the full range of human emotion from outrage to pathos to bathos to awe. Awe is what most viewers probably felt watching this on the big screen. The animation will set a new standard, though it is perhaps not quite as compelling as Avatar's CGI. The characters are given situations that only make them more vivid as individuals and as a team. While the target audience may have been children I saw this movie with three other people of whom the youngest was 17, and the oldest 69, leaving him not many years at all before he becomes Carl Fredrickson. I believe myself to be no longer young, and for me, the strongest emotional reaction inspired by this movie is the knowledge I have not yet found my Ellie.
Ellie's memory inspires Carl from beginning to end. For someone like me who albumizes all his photographs the moment they're developed, the scene where Carl looks at his photos of Ellie for the last time was gut-wrenching. Yet surely, every person who's ever loved me would have the same advice Ellie writes in the photo album -- "Go out and find a new adventure." This is the sort of movie that just might inspire you to do just that. Five stars.
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Movie Mood: Date Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing