Now talking about loss, this movie really throws it in your face. When Ellie (Elie Docter) can’t have children, it is one of the saddest parts of an animated movie I have ever seen. And then she dies before we can even hear adult Ellie speak. We only see her for a few minutes, but we are endeared to her.
It is established early that Carl Fredricksen (Edward Asner) and Ellie idolize Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). They are his “biggest fans”. They want to be explorers and go to South America. Although Ellie does not actually get to go with Carl, her spirit is with him while he is there. Their house is like a shrine to her.
We find out about the loss in Russell’s (Jordan Nagai) life after he tries to put the tent together. Carl says, “Phyllis! You call your own mother by her first name?” Then Russell says, “Phyllis isn’t my mom.” That is when we realize that divorce caused Russell’s loss. His dad is away all the time because his parents are no longer married.
We also find out here that Russell idolizes his dad. He wants him to be there to “show him about tents” and other things. But his dad is rarely around.
Even Dug (Bob Peterson) finds a “master” in Carl. He needs someone who will treat him well, unlike the other dogs. Although Carl doesn’t treat him nicely at first, by the end of the movie he is claiming him as his dog.
Not only does Carl lose Ellie, he loses his idol when he figures out how crazy he is. Charles Muntz is so focused on getting the bird and reclaiming his fame and credibility that he is willing to kill for it, literally. We get the impression that he took out “a surveyor making a map, a botanist cataloging plants,” and is ready to get rid of Carl and Russell. Carl “finally meet[s] [his] childhood hero and he’s trying to kill [them]!”
Although Carl has lost his idol, he becomes one for Russell. Russell needed a strong male figure in his life and Carl has the opportunity to be just that.
Here are some interesting ideas about the roles of characters in this movie. It’s worth a look.
Never would have placed Paradise Lost and Up next to each other, but this article did. If you are dedicated, read John Milton’s works to get the exact comparison. However, I think the brief synopsis in this article is explanation enough.
Hope you enjoyed this look at Up. Come back next week!