Film Review: UP.

Starring the voices of Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Delroy Lindo
Story by Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy, and Bob Peterson
Written and Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson
Theatrical release date: May 29, 2009
Rated: PG
Runtime: 1 hr. 36 mins.

Having grown up idolizing adventurer Charles Muntz and his exploits in South America, Carl Fredricksen and his wife Ellie save up for a trip there themselves—only life keeps getting in the way, and finally Ellie passes before Carl can present her with the plane tickets.

Cantankerously living in the same house as the neighborhood builds and rebuilds around him, rather than be forced into a retirement home, former balloon salesman Carl (Asner) takes off on the trip he and Ellie always wanted by tying thousands of helium balloons to his house. Unknown to Carl, Russell (Nagai), a young and eager Wilderness Explorer, has stowed away looking to earn a merit badge for assisting the elderly.

Reaching South America with the aid of Russell’s GPS device, the pair discover a rare giant bird being hunted by none other than Charles Muntz. While Russell quickly befriends the bird and wants to protect it from Muntz, Carl struggles to give up his image of Muntz along with his lifelong dream of settling in South America.

Though the premise is admittedly fanciful, Up is really powered by its fully fleshed-out characters. Carl is more than a curmudgeon; Russell is more than pure enthusiasm. Because of their capacity to play beyond type, when Russell awakens Carl’s spirit of adventure and Carl teaches Russell common sense, you believe it. My favorite Pixar film since The Incredibles.

–Gerald So