Pixar is probably the most evil company ever. No production company makes movies that consistently make me cry like Pixar does. I can’t even describe the scene where Jessie gets given away in Toy Story 2 without bursting into tears and I was doing pretty good during Toy Story 3 until Andy says good-bye to Woody. But no movie in film history makes me cry like Up! It tells the story of a couple who have a love for adventure but reality keeps them from living their dreams. After the wife passes and developers plot to kick the husband out of his home, he unleashes millions of balloons, which carries him and the house (and an enthusiastic boy scout) to Paradise Falls, the land of his wife’s fantasies.
There are three key moments that make me lose my shit in this movie and not one of them contains a single line of dialogue: 1) Early in the film, we see a montage of Ellie and Carl’s lives together and we see them eagerly preparing for a baby, only to see them later in a stark doctor’s office, Ellie devastated. Carl helps her move on with plans of a trip to South America, which due to a series of financial hardships and the illness that takes Ellie’s life, they can never go on together. 2) Towards the end of the film, Carl discovers Ellie’s scrapbook, filled of pictures of all the adventurous locals she never got to visit. He feels helpless when faced with all she couldn’t do, and then see the scrapbook also contains photos of their lives together. While Ellie didn’t get to live her dreams, she still had a full and meaningful life because she had Carl’s love. 3) At the end we see the house eventually ended up at the top of the waterfall, just like Ellie always wanted. Carl made her dream come true afterall. And I’m a blubbery mess!
When this film came out, a lot of people gave Pixar flack for having another male dominant movie. Brave, will be the first Pixar film with a female protagonist. While the point against Pixar is valid, I felt it distracted from how good Up was. I don’t believe this movie would work as well with if the genders were reversed. Since the two leads are an elderly person and a child who spend a good portion of the film alone together, they have to be the same gender. It’s awkward having a little girl following around an old man, or an old lady being stalked by a little boy. Also, while this film is known for it’s tender moments, there is a lot of comedy and a grumpy old man is funnier/less sad than a grumpy old lady. I’m sorry, it’s true! Also it’s probably more PC to have a husband who is the quieter member of the relationship, than the opposite. If it was the story of an old lady trying to fulfill her dead husband’s wish, people probably would have complained about her being defined as a wife or something. Ellie is such a strong character that we know everything we need to know about her in just a few minutes of screentime and her presence is felt throughout the film. I’ve heard people say Carl and Ellie’s story is more completely told in a few minutes than many other “classic” couples and I agree, because we are not just told they love each other, we are shown why they love each other, a key element missing from some of the most famous couples in romance history.
The relationship between Carl and Russell is great too. They both are missing key people in their lives (Carl ‘s wife and Russell’s father) but show that just because life deals you an imperfect hand, doesn’t mean your life can’t be filled with love. These two fill in the blank in each other’s lives and prove that families can come in all shapes and sizes as long as everyone cares for one another.
Dug: My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.