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Up : Exploring the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ – Film Review

Photo: Disney/Pixar

Up Review

The idea [about Up] came from the idea of escaping the world, actually. . . there’s definitely days where I feel like I’ve been overwhelmed by people, and I need to get away.

-Pete Docter

Pete Docter, co-director of Up, confesses that Up was born out of fantasy. However, it is amazing to note the way the movie oscillates between the real and the fantastical. Thereby, gradually blurring the distinction between the real and the unreal.  It needs no telling that the thoughtfully etched out animation along with equally dynamic and apt dialogues creates a sense of immediacy. On the whole, the movie being an animation works best to manipulate the emotions of the audience. Hence, the movie has a huge target audience.

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Synopsis of Up: Exploring the ‘Spirit of Adventure’

The plot of the movie is simple and engrossing. Little Ellie and Carl Fredricksen come together drawn by their interests in an adventure. The ‘cross your heart’ moments keep recurring and are really adorable. The physical and superficial adventures transform and take new forms as the couple and individuals grow in life. This voyage is an exciting adventure for both the fictitious characters and the audience. Love is omnipresent and overarches the picturesque journey. Though the plot overtly seems a bit overdone, the unexpected twists and turns make Up an interesting engagement for the audience.

Up Film Review
Dug, Carl, and Russell: Exploring the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ 
Photo credit-Disney/Pixar

The movie begins with a fantastical ‘spirit’, rather a halo that surrounds the world of ‘adventure’-when Ellie and Carl are kids. The next big fantastical adventure constitutes Mr. Fredricksen’s journey ‘Upward’ in the ‘floating house’ to fulfill Ellie’s wish to visit the Paradise Falls. It is a cumbersome journey indeed!

The ‘floating house’ might seem a fantasy, but the all-inclusive spirit of adventure triggered by it is not fantastical. Through the ascent and descent in Mr. Fredricksen’s journey, the spectators get a view of various alleys that form life. From being an ardent lover of Charles Muntz to getting married, making a home, losing a child and growing old- it is a poignant tale of growing relationships. It is also about revisiting the past with an experienced understanding of the present.

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The characters separately deserve our attention as it is the skillful depiction of characters that makes Up a movie worth watching and re-watching. The characters, though limited, range over time and space. In doing so they stand for multiple issues. Carl Fredricksen is the protagonist whose personal adventure is both an experience and a source of realization. In the quest to fulfill Ellie’s desire he realizes how Ellie had silently grown far beyond the fantasy of physical adventure.

The generation gap is an important theme that infuses excitement. Russell is a new generation ‘wilderness explorer’ who wants a senior rank as an explorer by helping out people. This prompts a value system that would both educate and cater to the entertainment need of the audience, especially the kids.

Besides this, we gradually see how after Ellie’s death, Carl’s house and Ellie seem to fuse as a single character. However, it is noteworthy how the characters and conceptions about them change with the aging recluse, Carl’s perspective.

Here, romance is much beyond life. The subtle romance is gripping and there are admirable romantic moments in the developing bildungsroman of the relationship.

Also, it is noteworthy how the gang of dogs bring a new excitement to the plot of the movie. Dug is almost a friend-philosopher-guide figure. In spite of being an animal, he has a lot to add to the values and the world in which we humans reside.

Up Review
Carl and Ellie: The Romantic moment
Photo credit- Disney/Pixar
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Overall  Thoughts on Up

A ‘new’ adventure book is what the movie ends with. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. The mazy nature of life’s journey is what the movie represents.

We experience generations, the old and the new, the real and the fantastical. Up, as an exploration of the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ is inimitable.

Content Note The movie is rated PG as it contains a few intensely emotional and violent scenes.


Five Corset Rating Lower Byte Size

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”


four heart rating

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My

feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me

to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

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By on April 28th, 2017

About Riti Agarwala

Travelling, writing poems, reading, watching movies alongside a keen interest in weaving ideas into art (painting, sketching, origami) is what constitutes my story. Currently delving into the alleys of Animal Studies and reading into multifarious genres. 'Classics' and people's shifting perspective in reading them is something that has always intrigued me.

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