Docter, P. (Director). Up. (DVD Motion Picture). United States. Pixar Studios. 96 minutes. $29.99.
“Hi, my name is Russell and I am a Wilderness Explorer from Troop 514, Sweatlodge 12. Do you need any assistance today?” This is how Russell queries the elderly Mr. Fredrickson, who gives him a short, gruff reply: “NO! [slam!]” Mr. Fredrickson once had a dream of adventure himself, of following the revered explorer Charles F. Muntz in search of Paradise Falls, Venezuela. After the death of his childhood friend and tomboy, then later his wife, Ellie, Mr. Fredrickson retreats into sadness and anger. When the orderlies from the old folks home come to help him leave his home, Mr. Fredrickson has a surprise for them: he launches his home by means of hundreds of helium balloons, which yank his house from the city and pull it up and into the clouds! Unbeknownst to him, though, Russell has stowed away. The two unlikely companions are in for a real adventure together, involving a trip to Paradise Falls, robot dogs, a very strange bird, and even the now-disgraced Charles F. Muntz.
This is mostly just a very entertaining film about an intergenerational pair of unlikely heroes. It’s funny and poignant to observe Mr. Fredrickson’s gruff, grumpy exterior start to crack under Russell’s constant attention.
The opening sequence is particularly moving. It shows, in condensed form, the progression of Ellie and Mr. Fredrickson’s friendship, to courtship, to marriage. Then the couple weather’s a personal tragedy, and finally, through later life to Ellie’s death. This, plus the chase scenes with the robot dogs, could be moments wen younger children might need reassurance (Chen, n.d.).
Academy Award Best Animated Feature and Best Picture, 2010. Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature, 2010.
Friendship, Adventure, Humor, Family
My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazake) and Despicable Me (Coffin and Renaud) are two movies that include the similar themes of humor, family, friendship, and adventure, aimed at a similar audience.