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Movie Review: Up

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Author/Source: Nancy Keith

Topic: Movie Review, Reviews

A review of Up, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Up</i>

Overview

Carl Fredricksen is a man of great pathos. He marries his childhood sweetheart, Ellie. They dream of a wonderful life together. That dream includes children and their little house far off in South America in an idyllic place called Paradise Falls. Carl promises to stay true to this dream. They start saving money for that dream and work hard doing it. However, dreams do not always come true. Ellie is not able to have children. Again and again the Fredicksen’s have to raid their saving to pay for tires, a roof for their house and other normal things. The couple lovingly grows old together, never able to fulfill their Paradise Falls’ dream. Ellie becomes ill, is hospitalized and eventually dies. Most of this happens without words and all of it happens in the first ten minutes of this movie. While you gently cry, it goes right over your children’s heads...and that is great. You understand why Carl is a bitter, crotchety old man.

There is a knock at the door. Enter Russell, the Junior Wilderness Scout. The only thing keeping him from being a Senior Wilderness Scout is a merit badge, the only one he has not earned, for “Assisting the Elderly.” He is bound and determined to help Carl do something and pesters him constantly.

When Carl is forced to move into a nursing home, he hatches a plan. You see, Carl used to sell balloons for a living. He apparently spends all night inflating balloons with helium. When the nursing home attendants come to take him away, he takes off – literally- house and all, with the goal of making it to Paradise Falls for the late Ellie. Carl steers the house with homemade sails, sets his compass and he is off for the great adventure.

There is a knock at the door. Enter Russell, the Junior Wilderness Scout. Still trying to earn the coveted “Assisting the Elderly” badge, he had been on the premises when the house took flight. Though Carl attempts to find a way to get Russell back on ground, the two ultimately embark on a life-changing adventure as they go UP!

I refuse to give away anything more than that. YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE! I ended up viewing the film with family members...my 12-yr-old niece, my 78-yr-old mother, my 30-yr-old nephew and his 5-yr-old daughter. We laughed. We cried (the children did not get the sad parts as much as the adults did). We experienced a great life lesson. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this movie. We saw this movie in 3-D, and it was fun. While you might miss the sensation of things coming at you, it should be great in 2-D, too.

Concerns

As far as language is concerned- NONE! I have never been able to say that. There was nothing even slightly off color. God’s name is never misused.

There is great adventure in this movie and it seems that at one time or another someone is dangling dangerously from a rope way up in the air, there’s a sword fight and other adventurous kind of maladies- but it wasn’t too scary. Characters are often being chased by the meanest pack of dogs you have ever seen. Even this was handled beautifully. The leader of the pack, a Doberman, was completely menacing, however, the dogs in this movie talk through special devices on their collars. His was malfunctioning. Although he was saying really mean things, he sounded like a chipmunk! What would have really been frightening was somewhat comical.

Two other negative elements: Carl and a character named Muntz briefly sip wine served by dogs. Ellie, as a child, admits to tearing a page out of a library book.

Teachable Themes

  • Be Faithful to Your Promises

  • Carl makes Ellie a promise that he in the end fulfills. He also makes Russell a promise that he keeps, too.

  • People are More Important Than Things Are

  • Muntz is willing to risk lives to capture a bird!

  • In Good Times and Bad Times, Give Thanks

  • As we live our lives, we should realize that God is with us through the good and the bad…watching out for us…working His plan for us.

  • LifeDoesn’t Always Turn Out the Way We Plan

  • Carl thought that all of his dreams had turned to ashes when Ellie dies without fulfilling their dream.

  • You Can’t Go It Alone

  • Carl thought that he could do everything by himself and did not need the help of anyone, much less a little boy named Russell. Russell turned out to be an amazing asset and a good friend.

  • You are Never Too Old to Change
    You are Never Too Old to Dream

  • Because of his age and disposition, you would think there was no hope for Carl to be anything but his crotchety, old self. His metamorphosis was inspiring.

  • Live Each Day to Its Fullest

  • Don’t waste time!

Biblical References

  • Loyalty in Friendship

  • Proverbs 17:17 “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (NLT)
    Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (NLT)

  • God has Plans for Us

  • Jeremiah 29:11 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ’They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (NLT)

  • Give Thanks for Everything

  • Ephesians 5:20 “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NLT)

  • All Things Work Together for Good

  • Romans 8:28 " And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (NLT)

  • Keep Your Promises (within reason)

  • Proverbs 25:14 “A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.” (NIV)


Discussion Questions

  1. What dreams to you have for your life?

  2. Do you think these dreams are realistic?

  3. What would you say if God called you to a great adventure...like being a missionary to a far off country?

  4. Have you ever made a promise you couldn’t keep?

  5. What are the most important qualities of your friends?

  6. Can God change the hearts of people?

Conclusion

This movie really spoke to me personally. So often we try to measure our lives in the great things that we have accomplished...and get discouraged because of that very fact. There is a lot of mundane in our lives. There is real blessing even in that. In this movie, Russell makes this statement. "It might sound boring, but I kinda think it's the boring stuff I remember the most."

Whatever we do, we need to make the most of the time that God gives us on earth, and live each day to its fullest. On the final page of her scrapbook, Ellie wrote this note, “Thanks for the adventure," it reads. "Now go out and get a new one!"


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