It should come as no surprise that with three kids I’ve seen pretty much every Disney movie made from Pinocchio on down.
The Pixar Animation films Disney has put out since my now-teenager was a toddler have received mixed reviews for plots but universally high marks for visual effects.
In taking my two youngest sons to see “Up” over the weekend, I expected much of the same. Reviews had generally been glowing about the plot and the purpose behind the film, but over time I’ve learned to take most reviews with a grain of salt and make my own judgments.
The animation was great and there were plenty of “inside jokes” for adults, a staple of kid-directed movies anymore. What struck me the most was how directly the film dealt with eternity and moving forward in life when a loved one has passed away.
I hate it when people totally blow open the plot for a movie I really want to see, so I won’t do that – at least not completely – if you haven’t seen “Up” and are planning to.
Briefly, the movie centers on Carl Frederickson. Carl’s longtime wife and love of his life, Ellie, has passed away. The house they lived in for decades is threatened by surrounding skyscraper construction.
Instead of going to the retirement village, Carl fantastically connects his house to a myriad of balloons with the ultimate of goal of going to Paradise Falls, a South American waterfall oasis he and Ellie dreamed of making it to.
Carl accidentally pals up with Russell a well-meaning Wilderness Explorer (a.k.a. Boy Scout). There’s plenty of adventure between the two and a run-in with Carl’s childhood hero who turns out to be quite the villain.
That being said, along the way Carl learns that it is OK to move on with your life, even after the most tragic of circumstances leave you clinging to the past and deferred dreams that may never come to fruition. Throughout the film there is a definite spiritual vibe, that Carl is seeking answers beyond what he can find is his daily life.
That makes it a film worth seeing, even if you don’t have kids to take. And as an aside, if you do, or if you have seen it, let me know where I can find the apparent titanium-reinforced garden hose Carl has; it’s a keeper.