Grumpy old man Carl Fredricksen (Asner) has seen every house on his block knocked down, replaced by modern buildings. He doesn’t want to sell the home he shared with his late wife Ellie to a big corporation just so they can demolish it, so instead he ties thousands of balloons to his little house, and lifts off on an adventure, aiming to reach a place in South America that he and Ellie always wanted to visit.
It’s only after Carl’s home is airborne, however, that he realises he has a stowaway – eight-year-old boy scout Russell, who had been knocking on Carl’s door in the hope of earning his Help The Elderly badge. Their unusual trip takes them to the remote Paradise Falls, where they encounter a rare bird, a talking dog (thanks to a special collar), and a famed explorer with nefarious intentions.
This animated adventure from Pixar (the home, of course, of Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Wall.E) begins with one of the most heart-rending sequences you are ever likely to see on film, animated or otherwise, as Carl remembers how he met Ellie as a girl and they built their life together, only for her to die and leave him before they could fulfill their dream of visiting Paradise Falls. It’s a prelude that is truly tear-jerking for grown-ups, but the filmmakers soon remember the movie should appeal to kids too and so up pops cutie Russell, Kevin the bird and Dug the dog to provide laughs and excitement.
Like Wall.E, it’s a superb mix of poignancy, humour, action and thrills, as the old man and young boy become friends, that may puzzle really young viewers, but for older kids and adults it’s a delightful tale that truly does soar above the rest.
Is Up suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The attack dogs will frighten younger viewers.
The explorer, Charles Muntz, may scare the under-8s.