#14 – Up – by Nick Andersen


Up is a 2009 animated film directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Bob Peterson. Both of them along with Tom McCarthy wrote the story. Before Inside Out, Up was Pixar’s best movie and even won the award for Best Picture. It tells the story about an elderly man fulfilling a promise to his late wife with the company of a young scout explorer, a house tethered to thousands of balloons, a long-lost explorer, some “talking” dogs and a giant bird named Kevin. It is a beautiful, funny and touching film. Pixar always knows how to make us emotional and in Up, you will most likely cry.


I have to say that it is poignant with a slight dark or serious touch. For a kids PG film, it probably made more adults sad than kids. But they make up for that by introducing Russel, a young scout explorer who does anything for his last scout badge and who also seems to have no worries. You know, a child. So what happens when you pair a grumpy old man with a young boy? Only funny situations can come out of that and a few heartwarming lessons. The film does a good job of raising the levels of sadness and happiness one at a time. One minute you have tears and the next you are chuckling.

My favorite character is Dug, the “talking” golden retriever. It helped me understand a little better how dogs think and are. Dogs are unconditionally loving beings and our guardians. When they take Kevin away and Carl puts out the fire of his house, Dug comes over and with the help of the talking machine, he says to Carl, “It’s gonna be alright.” And it’s true, dogs are like that even when we are sad; they come to us to help us be happy again. Besides that, the dog’s funny. “I was hiding under your porch because I love you. Can I come in?”

Fun fact: Pete Docter, the director, voiced Kevin, the giant bird. That surely makes me smile and laugh when I think about it.

But don’t let the adventure and wit bring you up (no pun intended) just yet. Carl finds Ellie’s old adventure book and looks through only to find that Ellie had filled the last pages with photos of them and their wedding and left a message for him:
“Thanks for the adventure! Now go find a new one. Love, Ellie”
All aboard the feels train! Next stop, Pheeladelphia!

Something beautiful is taught here. The sooner you let go of things, the happier you realize you’ll be. It’s okay. Carl realized that in two occasions. Right after he read that message from Ellie and set out to rescue Kevin, and when his house floated away and off into the clouds with him saying to Russel, “It’s just a house.” That was a touching moment.

Of course Kevin doesn’t have a healthy father-and-son relationship! But because of that his and Carl’s friendship grows closer as Carl in the end becomes a father figure for Kevin.

Let’s not forget Michael Giacchino’s score for the film. That guy really knows how to set the mood for animated movies!

It truly is an exciting adventure and a beautiful story. Pixar always delivers lessons about teamwork and friendship in its films.

Thanks for reading my review!

– Nick Andersen

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