Bottom line: Presented in beautiful 3D animation, Up tells a story that is both funny and tender, conveying a moral that our connection with others is what makes life meaningful. Several moments of peril may be frightening for young children, and the movie deals with the reality of death and loss.
MPAA Rating: PG, for some peril and action
Guide age recommendation: 7 years+
Runtime: Approx. 102 minutes
Up - Overview
78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen is pushed beyond his limit when builders force him to move out of his own home, where he and his late wife had built their lives. Determined to live out a lifelong dream and show everyone that he won't be living in an old folks' home, Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and lifts off toward Paradise Falls, South America.
Just as the thrill of his successful sianara is sinking in, Carl realizes something horrifying: he has a stowaway -- an 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. Carl is unable to get the talkative and persistent whippersnapper back to the ground, and the both of them end up in South America, with Paradise Falls finally in sight.
Along their trek toward the falls, Carl and Russell find a strange and very large bird, whom Russell dubs "Kevin," and a talking dog named Dug who is hunting the bird. Russell wants to keep them, but Carl does not want any extra tag-a-longs. When a pack of mean dogs sent by Dug's master show up to get the bird, Carl's trip takes a whole new turn.
As it turns out, the dogs belong to Charles Muntz, the adventurous explorer who inspired Carl and Ellie's dreams of Paradise Falls. He is in search of the mysterious Kevin bird, and will stop at nothing to capture it. Despite his desire to stay out of this big mess, Carl finds himself right in the middle of it. At 78 years old, he is about to finally realize what life and adventure are all about.
Up - Guide Review for Parents
As with many of the Pixar films, the story of Up can be interpreted on different levels. To young kids, it is a funny story about an old man, a boy, and some silly animals. Kids will love the colorful scenery, the talking dog, and of course the house floating away with all of the balloons tied to it.
Slightly older kids may catch some of the beginning moments of the film which reflect on Carl's life will Ellie, the joys and pains, and her death. The tender reflection may bring a tear to the eye of adults, and reminds us of how quickly the years add up.
What did Carl and Ellie accomplish in the many years they spent together? What is it, exactly, that they built? After Ellie's death, Carl sees his home as the symbol of all of that. His trip to Paradise Falls is an attempt to close the book on his big adventure, but instead, he realizes a new adventure is just beginning.
Small children may be frightened by some scenes of action and peril, especially those involving ferocious-looking dogs. Kids may be saddened by some scenes played during the reflection on Carl and Ellie's life. Ellie is shown crying in a doctor's office (she presumably lost a baby), and Carl is shown sitting in a funeral home after Ellie was in the hospital (it is left for the audience to presume that she passed away). Also, parents should know that Russell feels sad that his dad isn't around much anymore.
Up – Content Overview
- Violence (Medium): For the most part, Up contains the usual cartoon violence: characters chasing each other, falling off things, crashing into things and more without getting seriously hurt. However, one character in the movie is injured, and another character (a bad guy) falls from very high in the sky. We see him disappear through the clouds as he falls toward the earth. A number of dogs also fall off a cliff as they are chasing the main characters. We see them fall and land in a river at the bottom. One house fire is set intentionally, and one character shoots at others with a rifle and a dart gun.
- Sex/Nudity (None):
- Drugs and Alcohol (Low): Two scenes in the movie show wine or champagne. In one such scene, the dogs open the bottle and pour the drink into two glasses.
- Language (None):
- Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (Medium): Charles Muntz will stop at nothing to catch Kevin so that he can prove he was right. He orders his mean dogs to get the bird and others. The mean dogs mock Dug and try to act tough. Carl is grouchy during much of the movie.
Up – Topics to Discuss
- After seeing Up, kids may have questions about the following topics: losing a baby, losing a loved one, growing old, using balloons to carry objects or people, South America, adventure, a dad not spending time with his son.
Up – Blu-ray Bonus Features
Up is now available on Blu-ray (in a pack which includes the DVD), and contains a wealth of bonus features. Watch features about the making of the movie, as well as a documentary about the filmmakers' visit to Venezuela. The Blu-ray version also includes an awesome game that helps kids (and adults) learn geography!