Movie Review Up (Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer) 2009

Posted: October 24, 2012 in Comedy

When Carl Fredrickson (Asner) was a kid, he used to watch the exploits of Charles Muntz (Plummer).  Muntz was an explorer who lived in Paradise Falls Venezuela, and brought the bones of a huge bird home with him.  Muntz was ridiculed and thrown out of the Explorers society for claiming the bird was real.  Carl dreams of going to Paradise Falls,and vindicating Charles Muntz.  Someone shares the dream of going to Paradise Falls with Carl, a girl named Ellie, who invites a young Carl to her treehouse to show him her adventure book.  They are friends for life, who eventually fall in love get married and fix up a house and begin their married life.  Each day they climb a hill near thier house and talk, and daydream all while holding hands.  One day, Ellie learns she’s pregnant, but she loses the baby. To assuage her pain, Carl promises to take Ellie to Paradise falls and fill her adventure book with pictures.  Circumstances don’t allow Carl and Ellie to go to Parradise Falls, and Ellie passes on.

A development company wants to offer Carl double the money to move out of his house, he refuses.  But after getting in trouble, the police come to evict Carl and take him to a retirement home.  Before the cops come a Junior Wilderness Explorer named Russell (Jordan Nagai) knocks on Carl’s door, and asks if he can help Carl, to earn his Helping the Elderly merit badge.  Then the police come, but Carl has a surprise waiting for them, he attaches 1,000 ballons to his house and takes off. Carl can finally realize his dream of going to Paradise Falls.  Carl has a surpise waiting for him, it’s Russell waiting on his porch, still trying to get his merit badge.The two fly to Paradise Falls, where Carl meets his hero Charles Muntz, and Russell meets a friendly talking dog named Dug, and a 13 foot bird he nicknamed Kevin.  Things are not as they seem however, Carl’s hero is really after the bird to rehabilitate his reputation. Russell begs Carl to save Kevin, Carl just wants to set his house down Paradise Falls, like he promised Ellie?  Does Carl help Russell save Kevin, does Carl stop his hero Charles from killing Kevin?

This is a wonderful movie for people of all ages.  The montage of Carl and Ellie’s life together is simply one of the best montages I’ve seen in any movie, animated or otherwise.  When I saw Ellie and Carl holding hands and looking up at the clouds, I fell in love with the lovebirds. When Ellie lost the baby, I wept.  A confluence of serious and thoughtful ideas were expressed without saying a word.  Russell is a cute boy, looking for a father figure.The story enocurages environmentalism in a gentle way, unlike Avatar which beat people over the head.  Up talks about Paradise Falls, which is based on Angel Falls in Venezuela, and animates the beauty of Angel Falls, it encourages conservationism by making Kevin, an endangered bird species, so lovable. The hero Charles takes a fall.  That’s complexity.  Ed Asner is wonderful as the intriguing Carl, gruff on the outside, but yearning for someone to love on the inside.  Jason Nagai is sweet and vulnerable and looking to help his new bird friend Kevin, and Dug he just wants a master, and someone to love him.  Dug loves Carl unconditionally and it’s wonderful to finally hear a dog’s unconditional love given a human voice.

Up.  Lift yourself with this film.

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