Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thirty Days of Disney Movies, Day Twenty-Three - Movie That Inspires Me

It's a simple inspiring notion, really.

"Adventure is out there."

We all know it's true, but how many of us ever really act on it?

Carl (r.) and his reluctant
stowaway Russell
In Pixar's Up, it becomes the mantra of Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), a quiet, nerdy kid who idolizes Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), a famous adventurer and explorer who travels the globe in his well-appointed dirigible. Carl shares his dream of seeing the world--just like his hero--with Ellie, an equally nerdy girl who eventually becomes Carl's wife and the love of his life. Together, they hope to one day have a home overlooking exotic Paradise Falls at the remote edge of a South American jungle. That would be their ultimate adventure.

But, as the saying goes, life is what happens while you're making other plans. As much as Carl and Ellie try to make it to their jungle paradise, it never quite works out for them. Still, they manage to carve out a comfortable and loving life together. When Ellie dies and Carl is left alone (a touching scene that still brings tears on repeated viewings), the dream dies with her.

Or does it?

(l. to r.) Kevin, Russell, Dug and Carl
Now old, grouchy and misanthropic, Carl faces an uncertain and unfulfilling future in a retirement home. Refusing to give up without a fight, however, he draws upon his experience and resources as a lifelong balloon salesman to attach thousands of helium balloons to his house and set it aloft in search of the adventure that has always been out there.

With one complication: Russell, the young, earnest and clumsy Wilderness Explorer who's gotten trapped on Carl's front porch.

With Russell on board, Carl somehow finds his way to South America, where he encounters exotic birds, talking dogs, cones of shame and the elusive hero of his youth, Charles Muntz--who turns out to be not nearly as noble as young Carl thought he was. In the end, Carl and Russell must fight to save a rare bird (which Russell has named Kevin) from the evil clutches of Muntz. And Carl still never quite makes it to Paradise Falls, at least not the way he and Ellie intended. That bittersweet conclusion forms the core of Up's inspirational message. Life is not about the destination, it's about the journey. And the greatest adventure of all is the one that happens right outside your doorstep.

This is the latest installment of my 30-Day Disney Movie Challenge. Next up, my favorite movie soundtrack.


  1. I love this movie, really great post.

  2. This is one of my favorite newer movies. You're right, it's truly inspiring! Here from the hop! Great post!

  3. One of my favorites too! My 6yo told me that she wishes the beginning part of UP were longer. I think that about life lately. Great review.

  4. Great post! I always cry at this movie! I like your sum up at the end - you're bang on with the message of UP! :)