Towards the latter part of Carl Fredricksen’s life he decides to take a very unconventional trip to Paradise Falls, South America in order to fulfill a promise he made to his late wife. However, this sentimental trip inside a house toting mass of balloons proves to be much more when he quickly realizes that he has inadvertently kidnapped Russell, an 8 year old Wilderness Explorer who was hoping to obtain his last merit badge by helping Carl out (though he probably had something much simpler in mind). Once they finally reach South America, the journey to the falls proves to be harder than expected, filled with perils involving a giant bird named Kevin, a pack of talking dogs, and a blast from the past.
Like all of Disney-Pixar’s films, they can be summed up as being hilarious, inventive, and magical. Basically, they are awesome. However, Up seems to move past a lot of the previous films in subject matter. For starters, the dedication Carl shows to his wife that runs through the entire film, which is the reason for this ridiculously crazy journey, is one of the cutest and most touching love stories ever. And I am not ashamed to admit that their life story and his loss early in the film had me in tears within 10 minutes of it starting. But that is just the beginning, and only one of the many darker elements that this story has, from infertility, murder, and the many problems that come with growing old, such as assisted living situations and being alone.
Thankfully, Up keeps its surface level fun for the viewer, full of excitement, adventure and comedy, which is more often than not fueled by the unexpected relationships that form through the circumstances. For one thing, who would never think that a giant tropical bird would lend a helping wing in warming a crotchety old man’s heart? Well, with Disney-Pixar, I should have known that anything is possible.
Final Grade: A