While putting off going to the grocery store (one of my least favorite things to do because let’s face it, it’s depressing to go in with a list then based on how flat your pocketbook already was to begin with spend what little you had left with considerably less than what was on the list!) with my 10-year-old in tow, I remembered seeing the listing for “Up” in the paper the other day. I knew I had to go to the store for necessities that couldn’t wait until the next day but really dragging my feet on my day off.
So, because it was staring in about 30 minutes, I asked my son if he’d like to go, and we did. Turned out to be a great choice. The movie was uplifting. My son really enjoyed it. A good family film if a bit sad in places (mom, take a hanky), and kids love the 3-D experience from previews to closing credits.
The story was as unique as the house from which the story lifts off — as colorful as Ellie, the main character's wife. Essentially, (plot spoiler), Carl Fredricksen marries his childhood pal, also an adventurer at heart. They live a good life, if a bit lonely as they are unable to have children. They save up to go on an adventure to see “the falls” at a South American destination, but for numerous reasons never make it. She always wanted a house by the falls. He finally purchases tickets as they are in their much golden years, but she dies before they can go.
Mr. Fredricksen then holds out against big business who have bought up and industrialized all of the property around him. They want him out. He won’t part with his house. Someone buzzes by and disturbs his mailbox. He gets upset and hits the guy and ends up in court. He is being forced to move to a retirement community.
When the bus pulls up to take him, he hand’s ‘em his bag and excuses himself to go inside for one last look around. What must be thousands of helium filled balloons attached to ropes float out the chimney, lifting the house. He’s engineers ropes and a wheel to navigate, and starts heading toward South America to fulfill Ellie’s dream.
As he’s flying over the city he hears a knock at his door. Up that mean feet, and someone’s at his door? It’s that pesky kid Russell who wanted to “help an elderly” person so he could get his final wilderness patch and advance a rank. Didn’t he send that kid snipe hunting?
He lets the kid in and they’re off. They get close to where they’re going and encounter all kinds of adventures, including a talking dogs (they have special collars that allow them to talk – real people words, with options on conversing in several languages) and a bird that’s not supposed to really exist.
They hike tied by a water-hose and rope to the floating house to try to get it near the waterfall. They meet Carl and Ellie’s childhood hero, whose reputation was ruined when he couldn’t produce the mysterious bird that trails them. Turns out the guy’s a real jerk, who it’s inferred had killed others who got between him and his goal to find the bird and restore his reputation.
It’s a wild rid, and long journey, but the kid ends up earning his badge — which his dad doesn’t show up to pin on him but his new best pal Mr. Fredricksen (who becomes more like an honorary grandpa to the kid) does, the house ends up by the falls, adventures abounds and Fredricksen doesn’t have to go to the retirement home after all.
It’s a feel, good family show, great for parents or grandparents to take kids and grandkids to see without worrying about bad language, suggestive material or other scenes not appropriate for the under 13 crowd. It’s worth it to hear the kids wow at the 3-D animation, ponder whether balloons could really carry a house to another continent, giggle at the talking dogs and learn to appreciate anyone with gray hair, glasses and a wrinkle or two. Definitely gets kids thinking and opens the line of communication, or it did for my inquisitive science enthusiast.
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