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Going Up

Movie Title: Up (2009)
Spoilers: No


Should you ever get tired of your surroundings and decide you want a change of scenery from the featureless lots that are your and your neighbor's backyards, you should try sending thousands and thousands of balloons up your chimney so that your whole house will float off of its foundation to a spot of your choosing. Once you get it off the ground, you just have to steer the thing (and make sure it doesn’t fall apart in route, but nevermind that concern).

Floating your house with balloons would, of course, never work in real life. For one thing, you’d need enough balloons to cover half the state of Wyoming. But it will work if done in your imagination. Alternatively, you could forego imagining and just watch the movie Up where an old and brokenhearted Carl Fredericksen (Edward Asner) decides to fulfill his childhood dream and the dream of his late wife by moving their house to South America in the spirit of the great adventurer, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer).

In a creative and altogether imaginative endeavor, Up is heart-tugging and funny, complete with all the human nuances that Pixar has become known for clustering into their stunning works of animation. It’s thumbs up for Pixar, but thumbs down for the human actors today—so few of whom can sprinkle their performances with this much humanity.

In Up, you have an old man who is cranky and tired of life – as he should be at his age – and you have a young man who acts like a young man and not like some too-smart-for-his-own-good adolescent who needs to be slapped across the mouth. Russell (Jordan Nagai) is an 8-year-old boy scout, and he acts like it! Up manages to be both a blast from the past and a modern day epic tale at the same time. There’s something going on here!

You have an odd mixture of dinosaurs, dogs, an ambitious bad guy, technology, and an old man who is afraid of said technology. There’s a moral to the story, and yes, it has a little to do with friendship and happiness, but how many times have you seen those themes played out in a character who needs a walker with the traditional cut-up golf balls on the four pronged ends? You haven’t.

The humor is low-key, although memorable, but it is the plot that will be near and dear to many a heart. Up is not as funny as it is endearing, but the story is an adventure that grows in appeal the longer you watch. But when all is said and done, I’m going to give second place to the story and first place to the creativity.

You have to be pretty young (or creative) to appreciate an entire house lifting off of its foundation by balloons, but that is the true beauty of creativity—the laws of reality can (and should) take a back seat to unrestrained imagination so that those childhood fantasies of tiny, engine-less propellers powering huge plains can be appreciated, the same with superheroes picking up whole (intact) submarines without them breaking—if it’s going to happen, creativity’s got to do it. It is the sublime beauty of creativity by which we can escape this unimpressive and often miserably confining world and reach heights unknown—even if those heights happen to be floating a house somewhere in Venezuela.



Grade: A+ (4 stars)
Rated: PG
Summation: 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.
Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Starring: Edward Asner “Carl Fredricksen” (voice), Christopher Plummer “Charles Muntz” (voice), Jordan Nagai “Russell” (voice), Bob Peterson “Dug / Alpha” (voice), Delroy Lindo “Beta” (voice), Jerome Ranft “Gamma” (voice), John Ratzenberger “Construction Foreman Tom” (voice), David Kaye “Newsreel Announcer” (voice), Elie Docter “Young Ellie (voice), Jeremy Leary “Young Carl” (voice)
Genre: Animation / Action / Adventure / Comedy / Family


  1. I loved this movie - took my kids to see it, but I enjoyed it more than they did.

  2. Depending on their ages, I suppose that could happen. And the things that they miss we catch. Age does have its privilege.



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