Pixar's Up

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Up: The Adventurous Journey Through Life’s Difficulties, Building of Relationships, and Decision Making to Achieve True Happiness

By Lance R. Matthews

Research Paper
Film Evaluation

For Tara Hargrove
November 2012

Up: The Adventurous Journey Through Life’s Difficulties, Building of Relationships, and Decision Making to Achieve True Happiness

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios’ Up, the popular animated film from 2009 grabs your attention from the very beginning with its outstanding creativity and vividness throughout every scene. Characters are brought to life through witty characterizations and fun voices. A meaningful story is felt, bringing you all the way to the fairy tale ending. Up is an imaginative and adventurous journey, taking you through the difficulties of life, building of friendships, and making right decisions, all contributing to attaining true happiness.

“Nominated for 92 awards, winning 55, including 2 Oscar Awards for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures and Best Animated Feature Film of the Year “ Up is simply incredible (IMDb). Up mastered the idea of making an animated film enjoyable for all ages, whether child, teenager, or adult. Action, adventure, love, and laughs are all parts contributing to the film as a whole, making it fun for anyone. Good morals and metaphors can be seen throughout, relating them to parts of life but in a creative and imaginative manner keeping the entertainment levels high from the very start.

Up begins with the heartfelt love story of Carl and Ellie as young children meeting in the old house where they began their adventures together. As kids, they share characteristics of curiosity, optimism, and fun loving souls. Carl and Ellie shared a long and happy life with a desire for more adventure than they were really able to achieve. This beautiful love story is then torn to pieces as Carl is faced with the death of Ellie and is forced to move on with his long-lived life. “Carl becomes overwhelmed by his grief and the burden of a life that to him now seems incomplete. It would be so easy for him to give up – to let the developers take over his home – but Carl stubbornly stays in the house filled with their shared memories while feeling increasingly despondent and grumpy” (Evely, 62-70). These strong feelings of how upset he seems to be are truly felt by the animation and actions of shown. As he moves on, his day-to-day routine is stagnant, lacking in life or even much care. His life feels pointless, as he hangs on to the past from when his one love was still with him. Anger and heartache are brought out in Carl when a construction worker unknowingly damages the mailbox carefully painted by Ellie in the past. When this happens, Carl strikes at the man out of pure instinct, holding on to what he cares about most, the memories of Ellie. Because of his actions, Carl is then required to leave his home and live in a retirement home. But just as his life seems to have completely ended, Carl comes up with the bright idea to save his home and Ellie’s dream at the same time, to fly his house with thousands of balloons to their childhood dream, Paradise Falls. But while his unimaginable dream seems to be in motion as he sails through the sky, he is soon awakened by the knock of a young wilderness explorer 70 years younger than he.

Russell, voiced by Jordan Nagai, is an 8-year-old wilderness explorer trying to earn his last badge of assisting the elderly. Carl, being an old man himself, turns out to be the perfect target. Ending up on Carl’s porch while flying through the sky, Russell is fearfully caught outside and Carl is reluctantly forced to let the adolescent boy in. Showing more of his stubborn and grumpy personality, Carl dislikes the presence of the boy, only being a distraction to his journey. A barrier is felt between the two mainly coming from Carl’s negative vibes contrary to Russell’s fun-loving persona. Christine Evely...
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