The StoryWe first meet up with Carl Fredericksen as a young boy who dreams of being an adventurer as he watches newsreel footage of explorer Charles Muntz. Carl's quiet and sort of shy, but his love of Muntz leads him to Ellie, a sassy little girl who is as outgoing as Carl is introverted. They make for a great team and in fact will go on to share their lives together. From elementary school through high school and on up into adulthood, Carl and Ellie are inseparable, sharing every moment of joy and sadness together while dreaming of a time when they can actually take off on an adventure in the wilds of South America just like their hero, Muntz. But jobs and health issues and whatnot have a way of intruding on dreams, and Carl and Ellie grow old never having visited the South American jungles. And then, sadly, Carl becomes a widower with just his lovely little house and his beautiful memories of Ellie to keep him company.
Unfortunately, Carl's home is right in the path of new construction. Unable to stand up legally to those who want to level his house, Carl finds the perfect way to keep his home intact. He'll kill two birds with one stone. He wants to visit South America before it's too late and he needs to remove his house from its current location. The solution: ties thousands of helium-filled balloons to his roof and float away. He's even rigged up a way to steer.
But Carl fails to take into consideration the persistent presence of an overly helpful Wilderness Explorer scout named Russell. Russell didn't know of Carl's planned getaway and was on the porch when Carl's house lifted off. With no way to put the house down and South America set as his goal, Carl and Russell become unlikely traveling companions. Touching down just short of his target landing spot - Paradise Falls - Carl and Russell must walk the house (with balloons still attached) a mile or two to the perfect spot.
So, now they're in South America and all is as it's supposed to be, right? Nope. There's danger lurking around every corner for poor Kevin, and it's up to Carl, Russell, and Dug to keep the rare bird safe.
The Bottom LineWhat can be said of Pixar's animation that hasn't already been said time and time again? It's dazzling, simply stunning to take in, and so incredibly beautiful you forget you're watching an animated film and instead just lose yourself in an amazing adventure. From dog hair to bird feathers to the humans in Up to the 10,000 balloons that hold up Carl's home, Up animators have surprised us once again by surpassing the quality and beauty of every previous Pixar film. And let's face it, Pixar is the standard bearer for this medium. They do it better than every other studio out there, and that's because they never sacrifice character development for cute/fancy animated tricks. They don't play down to kids, they don't take shortcuts in plot development, and they are able to get you emotionally involved and invested in animated characters in a way their competitors have never been able to duplicate.
Up is storytelling at its best. The adventure film takes audiences through the full spectrum of emotions, with action and thrills mixed with comedy and suspense. A sure lock on an animated film Oscar nod, Up delivers a wondrous world filled with people and creatures you'll fall head over heels in love with. Up earns a spot as one of the best films of the year, and not just in the animated category.
Up was directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson and is rated PG for some peril and action.
Theatrical Release Date: May 29, 2009