I missed Up when it was in the multiplexes – a friend of my daughter’s had a movie party to see it, so I didn’t get to take her to that one. I couldn’t wait to watch it when the DVD arrived, so on this dull half-term afternoon we snuggled up on the sofa and pressed PLAY.
Yet again, Pixar has got it absolutely right. This is a true family film that works on all levels and I adored it, despite it making me well up within the first few minutes!
It starts by telling the story of how Carl met Ellie, and their life-story together into old age until Ellie dies (this was where I first needed a tissue). Now Carl lives alone in the old house and the city builders want him out – his is the last house left on the block. Then one day Russell, a Wilderness Scout, knocks on the door wanting to earn his last badge – helping the elderly. Carl packs him off on a ruse, then gets into trouble with the builders, and instead of being carted off to the retirement village, he ties thousands of helium balloons to his house and floats away – little does he know that Russell has come back. Anyway they float off together to South America, to Paradise Falls, which was somewhere that Carl and Ellie had longed to go to together, and they have a big adventure involving big birds and talking dogs, plus encountering Carl’s boyhood hero the explorer Charles Muntz who has turned bad.
There is joy, sadness, humour, danger, excitement, heroism, happiness, redemption, not forgetting love – a full range of emotions are experienced in this lovely film. The animation is fabulous, the little details and in-jokes are as always brilliant; and again there is an environmental message in the film. The reflective moments are particularly good. I couldn’t imagine anyone other than Ed Asner voicing Carl – he does grumpy old man perfectly; and Christopher Plummer as the mad explorer was clipped and nasty too. But key to it all is the story, and the partnerships between Carl and Ellie, and then Carl and Russell – as the young scout is the child they never had.
This may be Pixar’s best yet … I defy anyone to not enjoy this film – adults will love the sentimental touches (which are light and not overdone); children will love Dug the dog and the big bird, and everyone will wish they could fly away on balloons for an adventure.