Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) is in his late 70s. After the death of his wife Ellie, he decides to fulfil a dream they had shared since childhood. The dream is of going to exotic Paradise Falls in South America. Their hero, the once-famous explorer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), claims this is the most beautiful place in the world.
Carl ties thousands of helium balloons to his house and takes off. After a while, he discovers that Russell (Jordan Nagai), a visiting scout, has accidentally stowed away with him. They are joined in their adventures by a rare bird called Kevin and a dog called Dug (Bob Peterson). When Carl finally meets Muntz, his hero is not the person he thought.
Death and separation; animal cruelty
This movie contains some violence. For example:
- Carl hits a construction worker in the head with his pronged walker. The worker has a bloody injury and needs an ambulance.
- In self-defence, Kevin runs at Dug to subdue him. He tackles him to the ground.
- Carl mistakes a croaking frog for an alarm clock, and hits it on the head.
- Alpha (head dog of the pack) attacks Dug, biting him on the neck and throwing him.
- Alpha lunges at and bites Kevin’s leg. This makes Kevin bleed.
- Muntz captures Kevin in a net and drags her into an aircraft.
- Muntz torches Carl’s house before escaping.
- The dog pack ties Russell to a chair. They slide him out of the ramp of the flying aircraft.
- Pack dogs in planes attack Russell as he dangles from the flying house.
- Dug bites Muntz’s leg before Muntz throws him out of the room.
- Carl and Muntz fight with a sword and walking aid. They hit each other in the face.
- Alpha attacks Dug again.
- Carl and Muntz fight on top of the aircraft and in the house. Muntz jumps out and falls, presumably to his death, through the clouds.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, some scenes in this movie could scare or disturb children under five. For example:
- As a child, Carl falls suddenly through the attic floor and breaks his arm.
- Old Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house. The house lifts off and soars through the city into the sky. It bangs into some things on the way.
- The house crashes to the ground several times.
- Scary dogs chase the bird Kevin through the jungle. Threatening shadows are sometimes used throughout the movie during chase scenes.
- Kevin is quite big and can be frightening. For example, she is scary towards Carl when they first meet.
- The dogs jump out of hiding in the bushes, growling and running at Carl.
- The dogs have scary red eyes for most of the movie. When they wear special collars, they can also ‘talk’. This could be scary for young children.
- There are several large dinosaur skeletons on display in the aircraft.
- Several flying helmets and goggles are kept on top of wooden mannequin heads. When the heads are thrown to the floor, young children might think they are real heads.
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, some scenes in this movie could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:
- This movie has themes of death and separation. For example, Ellie has a miscarriage; Ellie dies; Russell is separated from his family; Russell parents are divorced; Kevin is separated from her baby chicks.
- In the opening scenes, Ellie (as a child) keeps a hamster in a bare cage with nothing but a rat wheel to entertain it.
- Russell wedges his foot into Carl’s front door. Carl accidentally slams the door against Russell’s foot, and Russell yells, ‘Ow!’
- In Carl’s imagination, Russell dangles from a rope out of the window of the flying house. He is looking for a bus stop when he is accidentally dropped.
- The house flies into a violent lightening storm. Carl, Russell and the furniture crash around the house. Russell almost slides out the front door.
- Both Russell and Carl fall out of the house as it does down. They grab onto a hose, and end up on the edge of a cliff.
- Russell gives up. While he is still tied to the house, he falls over and allows himself to be dragged face down in the dirt.
- Kevin picks up Russell. She plays with him like a cat might play with a mouse. Viewers expect that she is about to kill him.
- The pack dogs take Carl and his friends hostage. They seem in great danger for a while.
- While escaping Muntz and the dogs, Carl and Russell are dragged through rocks and over cliffs by the house.
- Dogs fall off a cliff into a river below.
- The bite on Kevin’s leg bleeds through her bandage.
- Russell flies away on his own with several balloons attached to him. He is captured and tied to a chair.
- Muntz catches Kevin in a net, and then locks her in a cage.
- Russell looks like he will fall off the aircraft ramp until he is saved by Carl. He does, however, fall out of the house. He grabs onto the hose and is dragged along the windows of the aircraft.
- Dogs regularly surround characters in a threatening and menacing way.
- Three dogs in planes with machine gun darts fire on Russell. The planes crash and the dogs escape in parachutes.
- Muntz uses a gun to pop the balloons on the house. The house disappears through the clouds.
Children over eight are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some very infrequent use of substances. For example, Muntz arranges for his dogs to pour him and Carl an alcoholic drink before dinner.
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains one scene of mild sexual activity. It is a scene where Ellie and Carl kiss passionately on their wedding day.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Up is an animated 3D comic adventure movie. It is a funny and touching critique of the human character.
Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include family ties, loyalty, perseverance, courage, friendship, kindness and respect.
This movie could also give you the chance to discuss with your children issues such as what happens when:
- you put your faith in the wrong heroes
- you put off doing something and live with regrets and bitterness
- people are bullied and victimised.