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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Up is the second Pixar movie (after The Incredibles) to receive a PG rating, mostly due to a few potentially frightening scenes involving a band of trained talking dogs trying to get rid of the protagonists, some moments where characters almost fall from a floating house, and some guns firing. That said, it's Disney/Pixar, so the violence is mild. Viewers should note that an early wordless sequence follows an emotional and potentially upsetting trajectory that could trigger questions about old age, illness, and death.
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What's the story?
In UP, septuagenarian Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and his wife Ellie had a shared dream since childhood: to visit exotic Paradise Falls in South America, a place the once-famous explorer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) claimed was the most beautiful in the world. After Ellie dies, Carl decides to make his beloved late wife's dream come true and unveils hundreds of helium balloons to fly his house to Paradise Falls. Unbeknownst to Carl, a young Wildlife Explorer scout named Russell (Justin Nagai) is along for the ride. When they finally arrive, the odd couple discovers that Muntz is more interested in killing an elusive rare bird than living in paradise.
Is it any good?
Pixar has brought to life a multi-generational odd couple in a film that's visually stunning, surprisingly touching, and unsurprisingly delightful. After nine films, Pixar's legend is well known; it's the only studio with a perfect record both commercially (each of its releases has grossed more than $150 million) and critically. Up is no exception on the latter front, and considering the demand for family entertainment, it's sure to be a big hit money-wise, too.
The beginning of the film is an unexpected tearjerker following the entire marriage -- from first sight to widowhood -- of adventurous-at-heart Carl and Ellie Fredricksen. But he bulk of the story, as the trailer promises, is Carl and Russell's amazing skyward journey to Paradise Falls. Above the gorgeous and colorful animated vistas, Pixar's astonishing achievement is the sweet, funny, lasting relationship that it's odd-couple heroes share.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Up's central relationship between Carl and Russell. What does the movie have to say about multigenerational friendships? What does a young boy teach an elderly man, and vice versa?
Kids: What kind of adventures do you dream of having? Does an adventure need to be somewhere far away?
- In theaters: May 29, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2009
- Cast: Christopher Plummer, Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai
- Director: Pete Docter
- Studio: Pixar Animation Studios
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character Strengths: Empathy, Gratitude, Integrity, Teamwork
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some peril and action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.