‘1 Man 365 Films 365 Days’ – Day 263

#234 / 365 – ‘UP’ (2009) – 96 mins
IMDb Challenge #138 / 250 – Ranked #94 – DVD Collection

Carl Fredricksen, a 78 year-old curmudgeonly balloon salesman, is not your average hero. When he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America, he finally fulfills his life long dream of adventure. But after discovering an 8-year-old stowaway named Russell, this unlikely duo soon find themselves on hilarious journey in a lost world filled with danger and surprises.

When I first watched up on its cinematic release in 2009, then from an emotional standpoint, the best thing about Pixar’s tenth animated feature was the prologue and my outcome was the same today. Running for about 10 minutes, it’s a masterpiece, and it could easily stand up on its own as a Pixar short. It’s the story of Carl and Ellie – two kids who find in each other perfect matches. They like the same things. Both dream of adventuring far and wide when they grow up. It’s only natural for them to spend their lives together, mixing dreams with reality. They marry and then face the heartbreak of being unable to have children and if this dialogue free ‘married life’ story-within-a-story (which played out to a beautiful Michael Giacchino score) doesn’t make you cry – then you simply must have a heart of stone.

The rest of of movie isn’t quite at this perfect level, but it’s still great fun mixed with inventive animation. That involves dogs with talking collars, a giant multi-coloured bird who likes chocolate and Carl adventuring in Paradise Falls with the persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer, Russell, and Christopher Plummer commandingly voicing Charles Muntz, the complex explorer tracking down the elusive bird.

Ultimately, UP is about the little things, where all those little things are in fact the big things. Spirits will fly as high as the balloons in this engaging, funny and moving tale.

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