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Western Animation / Up

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"Adventure is out there!"
Charles Muntz, later borrowed by Ellie

Up is a 2009 animated film from Pixar Animation Studios. It is directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.), with the screenplay by Docter and Bob Peterson, and the story by Docter, Peterson and Tom McCarthy.

Up tells the story of a septuagenarian named Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) who had promised his wife, Ellie, that they would one day have an adventure and move to Paradise Falls in Venezuela like their childhood hero, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). However, life got in the way of them doing it — repeatedly — and she passed away before they could. Carl, guilt-ridden, shuts himself off from society in the house they built together.

When land developers threaten and scheme to destroy their home, Carl decides to take action and fulfill his promise to his wife. Being a retired balloon man, he ties thousands of helium balloons — the leftovers of his old trade — to his house and sets off for Paradise Falls. He has an accidental stowaway in the person of Wilderness Explorer Russell (Jordan Nagai), who has been trying to earn his "Assisting the Elderly" badge by helping Carl.

Traveling thousands of miles in a house lifted by helium balloons is probably the least adventurous thing Carl and Russell do...

Up is Pixar's tenth film and their first full-length 3-D film. It has the honor of being only the second animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, following Beauty and the Beast; it's also the first fully-CGI film to be honored with the nomination. While the film didn't win that award, it did get Pixar another Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as the Oscar for Best Original Score for composer Michael Giacchino.

For information about the short Partly Cloudy, which played before the film, as well as the three spinoff shorts Dug's Special Mission, George & A.J., and Carl's Date, see Pixar Shorts. An animated series of shorts about Dug and Carl as they reside in suburbia, called Dug Days, premiered in 2021 on Disney+.

For the unrelated Granada/BBC documentary series, see Up. Also not to be confused with the 1976 Russ Meyer film of the same name, which is definitely not for children.

Up provides examples of—SQUIRREL!:

    open/close all folders 

  • Accidental Passenger: 8-year-old Russell happened to be underneath Carl's house trying to earn his scout badge for assisting the elderly right when Carl launched said house into flight. Since Carl is unable to drop Russell off before getting caught in a storm, Russell tags along for the adventure.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Muntz finds it hilarious that Carl and Russell came to Paradise Falls in a floating house held up by balloons.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Carl and Ellie wear them in their youth. Muntz is seen in one in the old films of him. He is still wearing one as an old man.
  • Affably Evil: Muntz. Polite, reserved, and genuinely friendly... but for the love of God, don't make him think for one second you're going to "steal" Kevin, lest you find out just how violent he can be.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Kevin pats Carl on the head with his/her beak.
  • Agony of the Feet: Carl slams his front door on Russell's foot, producing an "Ow!"
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Unusually realistic. Some dirigibles actually were used to carry observation biplanes.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Dug and Carl use it to sneak into Muntz's airship to rescue Kevin.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Even if Charles Muntz was a murderous narcissist, all he wanted was to restore his reputation by proving he was right about the bird all along, and Carl still saw him as an inspiration in his life even when he became a laughingstock. Thus, when Muntz falls to his death, Carl takes absolutely no pleasure from it.
  • All for Nothing: It's strongly hinted that Russell's Disappeared Dad will show up at the ceremony if Russell gets his final Wilderness Explorer badge, but when Russell is at the ceremony, right when the film sets up a heartwarming redemption/family bonding scene... his dad still doesn't show. Carl comes up to do it instead.
  • All There in the Script: The credits list the construction worker who Carl strikes with his cane as being named "Steve".
  • Ambiguous Situation: Both Carl & Ellie's hopes of being parents are ruined when Ellie is seen crying after given the devastating news by the doctor. Though not stated why, it is implied judging how they were preparing the nursery, Ellie simply had a miscarriage and had problems with her ovaries meaning she can no longer conceive. However though rare, she might have been diagnosed with menopause at a young age, ruining her chances on being pregnant again. But it is possible Carl had a low sperm count explaining his guilty looks.
  • Ambulance Cut: When young Carl tries to retrieve his balloon from the attic of the old house, there's a huge hole in the floor with one rickety board across it. You can probably guess what happens next.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Dug and the other Spirit of Adventure Dogs. They are Muntz's butlers. Epsilon can cook. They can fly airplanes! Kevin is also pretty smart.
  • Anachronism Stew: The ambulance that takes young Carl away after he falls is fitted with a modern electronic siren, rather than the old motor-driven type.
  • And Then What?: Subverted. Carl eventually makes it to Paradise Falls, like he and Ellie always wanted to, but he's stuck with an angry Russell, Kevin has been captured by Muntz, Dug has been sent away and Ellie died before the trip was made, so at first Carl's at a loss for what to do next. Until he sees Ellie's Adventure Book and looks through it again.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Muntz has an entire team of them. Alpha stands out as the meanest and angriest, except when his voice modulator gets screwed up. Then he sounds Affably Evil.
  • Animation Anatomy Aging: As Carl gets older, he becomes hunched, his nose becomes a bit larger, and his head becomes squarer.
  • Arc Symbol: Balloons, reflecting Carl's happy and uplifting memories of Ellie (or more accurately, the way he stubbornly clings to them and refuses to let go, as if he's afraid he's going to fall). At the beginning, he uses balloons to fly his house to South America, reflecting her desire to go to Paradise Falls propelling him forward. Throughout the film, the number of balloons still attached to his house decreases as he learns to let go of her and focus on the present. By the end of the movie, the balloons have been replaced with Muntz's blimp, which could be interpreted as him using her memory to propel himself in a new direction — namely, enjoying the rest of his life.
  • Arc Words: "Adventure is out there!"
  • Armor-Piercing Response: In this conversation:
    Carl: Phyllis? You call your own mother by her first name?
    Russel: Phyllis isn't my mom.
    Carl: ...Oh.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: The strength of a structure like a house is dependent on the foundation it's built on. When the house is lifted off the foundation with no reinforcement of the foundation it would fall apart. Furthermore, since the balloons were anchored to the chimney, the rest of the house around it should have been sagging. All excusable thanks to Rule of Cool.
  • Artistic License – Physics
    • Carl and Russell can transport the floating house by harnessing themselves to it and walking along the groundnote .
      • Not quite as unrealistic as one might think. Back in the days of zeppelins, they were maneuvered on the ground by dropping ropes to a crew of men who would pull them to the docking mast or into the hanger.
    • The idea of a steerable sailing balloon, indeed any balloon at all, being able to do anything at all bar run directly before the wind... that most certainly breaks the laws of physics. The only reason a ship can do it's because part of it's immersed in a dense medium that the wind has a velocity vector relative to.
    • The MythBusters tested (not specifically) this myth. You'd need about that many balloons to lift a 6-year-old girl, let alone a house.
    • Carl being able to maneuver the house on its rope/hose during the chase scene.
    • There's also no way enough balloons would survive the storm they encounter to keep the house afloat.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: The pack of dogs seems to work on this. Given that packs of wild canines usually do work this way, it's also Truth in Television.
  • Attack Backfire: During the fight on the airship, Carl hits Muntz with his cane, only for the blow to bounce back and hit him in the face.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: All of the dogs seem to have thi—SQUIRREL! Gamma, after being defeated, says "I hate squirrels!"
  • Audible Sharpness: Muntz's sword during his and Carl's fight on the Spirit of Adventure.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Tweaked examples.
    • Dug defeats Alpha, and the rest of the Muntz dogs immediately treat him as the new Alpha. To his astonishment. Inverted, in a sense: Alpha is the one who is "crowned", with the Cone of Shame.
    • During Russell's ceremony for the badge pinning, Carl pins on "The Ellie Badge", the first keepsake he ever got from Ellie, in lieu of the "Assisting The Elderly Badge".
  • Ax-Crazy: Charles Muntz. It may not be clear at first, but when he strongly implies that he's actually murdered others in the past just because he was paranoid that they were after his bird, AKA Kevin, it's quite obvious he's gone completely insane after all those years of searching to no avail. And he only gets worse. By the end of the movie, he attempts to kill Kevin, Dug and Russell (a ''kid'' mind you), in cold blood with a shotgun.
  • Babies Ever After: In the credits, Dug finds a female dog that looks a lot like him and they have many puppies.
  • Bait-and-Switch: It's hinted that Russell's Disappeared Dad will finally show up at the ceremony if Russell gets his final Wilderness Explorer badge, but when Russell is at the ceremony in the second-to-last scene, right when we're all set to see a heartwarming redemption/family bonding scene... his dad still never shows. Carl comes up to do it instead.
  • Bait-and-Switch Silhouette: We see the shape of a man in the fog, and hear a male voice. It turns out, however, that the voice is Dug the talking dog, and the "man" was just a man-shaped rock.
  • Balloonacy: Could be titled Balloonacy: The Movie. Or the trope could be called "Carl Fredricksen's house".
  • Big Friendly Dog: Dug, and the only one out of Muntz's pack. He is, after all, a golden retriever. To wit:
    Dug: I have just met you, and I love you!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Dug is telling Russell to stop playing with his collar (in the same sentence) in several languages, though he gets cut off in Japanese.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: It's mentioned that Carl Fredricksen poured prune juice in somebody's gas tank as a prank.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While not as extreme as some examples of this trope, the fact that this film actually depicts blood no less than twice qualifies it for this trope in comparison to other movies from Disney and Pixar. The first instance of blood occurs towards the beginning of the movie when Carl accidentally hits Steve with his cane, causing a rather large splotch of blood to appear on his forehead. The second happens after Carl, Russell, Dug and Kevin escape from Muntz's dogs; blood can be seen soaking through the bandage that Russell applies to Kevin's injured leg.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: On a Missing Trailer Scene, Carl blows a raspberry at the nursing home orderlies as his house floats away. In the final scene, he just says, "I'll send you a postcard from Paradise Falls." Had he actually done it, it would've made the scene ten times funnier.
  • Bomb Whistle: Russell's GPS and other things make a whistling sound when falling.
  • Book Ends: When Carl takes off right in front of the Shady Oaks nurses, he shouts to them, "So long, boys!" In the short George and A.J., when he comes back in the Spirit of Adventure and "bumps" into the nurses again, he shouts to them "Afternoon, boys!"
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: A non-romantic example. Once Carl lets Muntz take Kevin to get his house to the falls, a disappointed and enraged Russell leaves him. The two make up when Carl joins the fray.
  • Bridal Carry: Literally. Carl carries Ellie, still in her wedding dress, to their house in the opening montage.
  • Bringing Back Proof: Charles Muntz goes on a quest to find a rare and exotic species of flightless bird that resides in South America, not returning until he does. When he brings back a skeleton, people accuse him of forging it, so he vows not to return without a real live specimen. By the time he finds one (with the help of Carl and Russell), he's an old man.
  • Broken Pedestal: "I finally meet my childhood hero, and he's trying to kill us. What a joke."
  • Bully Bulldog: Gamma. Relatedly, Alpha and Beta are a Doberman and a Rottweiler respectively, two other popular guard dogs known for aggressive behavior. Dug, obviously, is a golden retriever.
  • Call-Back: "Don't jerk around too much, kid."
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Subverted when Russell mentions how whenever he tries to call his father "Phyllis" tells him he's not home. Carl tries to chastise the boy for calling his mother by name only to be told that Phyllis isn't his mother, at which point Carl understands the implications and drops the subject.
  • The Cameo: John Ratzenberger's traditional cameo, this time as the construction worker at the start of the film that tries and fails to carry on a conversation with Carl.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: The campfire is where we discover more of Russell's backstory, as well as where he and Carl begin to bond.
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: Muntz's dogs do this at one point, the bulldog with a big pile of dog biscuits in front of him.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Dug. Of course, that might be because he's a dog, and this might be legitimate dog humor...
    Dug: Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, "I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead." Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: If only Russell could've laid low about his discovery of Kevin.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: During the opening montage, Ellie is seen helping Carl with his tie. She's seen doing it many times as they grow older.
  • Captain Obvious: Dug. Especially in Dug's Special Mission.
    Dug: Now I am going down the hole. It is dark in the hole.
  • Cassandra Truth: Charles Muntz. His discovery of the Beast of the Falls in the beginning of the movie got him ridiculed as a liar. It went downhill from there. He doesn't believe the other people who went to the Falls went there for any reason other than trying to get the beast for themselves.
  • The Cat Came Back: Carl attempts to ditch Kevin and Dug in the jungle, with predictable (yet hilarious) results.
  • Ceiling Cling: The George and A.J. short reveals that this was how Russell got on the house when it took off. He was clinging from the bottom of the house.
  • Central Theme: What matters in the journey of life is not the destination. It's the journey itself. You will always face ups and downs but you can always be happy.
    • It's never too late to reach for your dreams.
  • Character Catchphrase
    • "It's none of my concern."
    • "Adventure is Out There!"
    • "The Wilderness must be explored!"
    • "Cross your heart."
    • "SQUIRREL!"
  • Cheerful Child: Russell, duh.
  • Chekhov's Armory:
    • Ellie's childhood control mechanism gets used as the steering controls for the house.
    • Then: "Bird, chocolate!"; "A ball!", SQUIRREL!, the Leafblower, ALL THE BALLOONS, and even Chekhov's airplane, which was visible in the background several scenes before it was used.
    • Also provides an aversion. It looks like Carl's hearing aid feedback tone will become helpful later on, given that it's demonstrated that the dogs react badly to it but it never makes a return. DVD Commentary states that they had planned to use this one, but weren't able to do so in the finished product.
    • Kevin's labyrinth, where once you get in, you can't ever get out, is another aversion. This was an idea for what would happen to Muntz that was abandoned.
    • After the house lands, the rest of the film is a succession of Chekhov's Guns being fired. First, the Adventure Book appears again, and Carl finally turns the page. Then Russell uses the balloons and leaf-blower to go after Kevin. Dug hides under the porch, as Russell did earlier. Dug uses "point!" again, followed by "who wants the ball?" with the tennis balls on Carl's cane. The bi-planes that were first seen upon first meeting Muntz get used by Beta, Gamma and Omega (another dog). Dug ends up fighting Alpha, and utilizes the cone of shame — Alpha's higher voice returns. Carl uses the Wilderness Explorer call to motivate Russell in climbing the hose. Russell then uses SQUIRREL! The chocolate returns when Carl uses it to save Kevin from Muntz. Finally, the grape soda bottle cap Carl has pinned to his lapel gets given to Russell as "the Ellie Badge"..
    • The prologue is not exempt from this either. When pretending to fly as a kid, Ellie mentions "seeing" a puppy and a storm. Carl also promises to take her to Paradise Falls in a blimp, exactly what he does if you consider the house as her.
    • Even Kevin gets in on the fun. When she and Carl first meet, she tries to swallow his cane, chokes and coughs it back up. When she's returned to the labyrinth, she does it again — as a farewell ritual. And she teaches her CHICKS to do it too, with the tennis ball feet of the cane!
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Carl and Ellie, victorious type. Possibly deconstructed with Carl breaking after her death as a result of losing both his best friend and wife at the same time.
  • Children Are Innocent: See the Wide-Eyed Idealist entry below.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Subverted. Muntz starts the fight between him and Carl with a claymore, but eventually stops to grab a lever action shotgun. Which is rather odd considering the movie's audience.
  • Company Cross References: A girl seen when the house takes flight happens to have a Minnie Mouse-esque appearance complete with afro puffs representing the mouse ears, the star ball from Luxo Jr., and a doll of Lotso Huggin' Bear from Toy Story 3, the Pixar film that followed Up.
  • Compressed Hair: When young Ellie takes off her flying helmet.
  • Cone of Shame: Trope Namer. The dogs use it as a humiliation device.
  • Confirm Before Reveal: When Russell meets Kevin for the first time, he believes it's the "snipe" that Carl had told him about earlier and asks him to confirm its appearance. When Russell asks Carl, who has his back turned towards them, asks if they like chocolate, Carl is confused with that question and he turns around to see Kevin and is shocked to see it.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Implied. Carl accidentally brings Russell with him on the porch of his floating house. At first, Carl does not let him inside his house after asking him to do so, but few seconds after he lets him in, anyway.
  • Cool Airship: Both the Spirit of Adventure and Carl's house.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Charles Muntz, when he's sane.
    • The main character arc involves Carl's journey from depressed shut-in to badass. By the climax, he's turned the house into a battleship and is fighting Muntz one-on-one.
  • Cope by Pretending: Part of how Carl deals with his wife Ellie's death is to speak to the house as if it's her. Russell catches onto this at one point and to get "Ellie" to make Carl keep Kevin.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The real estate guy who made Carl out to be a public menace after Carl hit one of his employees with a walking stick just so he could have him sent to a retirement home and thus remove the only obstacle to getting Carl's land. For some he is the only real evil character of the movienote .
  • Counting to Three: Carl planned to, but found something better. Still, he invoked it.
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": During the big fight between Carl and Charles. They're going at it Errol Flynn style, but their advanced age causes them to crack when they lift their weapons.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits are in the style of Ellie's scrapbook and some of the pictures in the scrapbook correspond to the job of the person being credited.
  • Crime of Passion: When a construction worker named Steve accidentally damages Carl’s mailbox and tries to put it back into place, Carl immediately tries to get him to stop touching it and hits him with his cane hard enough to draw blood. This ends up happening in front of witnesses, and Carl can only look horrified when he realizes what he’s done, knowing that the real estate agent will use this as a reason to take his land from him.
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In the beginning, Ellie is too weary to climb the hill for her and Carl's picnic. The next scene has her in the hospital, and in the scene after that, she's dead.
  • Dark Reprise: The first song heard in the film is Charles Muntz's theme, a jaunty and optimistic tune that represents the inspiration he brings to Carl and Ellie. When Carl meets Muntz at Paradise Falls and his theme returns, it gradually takes on a far more sinister tone as his true intentions are revealed.
    • Also Ellie's theme, Married Life starts off jolly but has a dark reprise towards the end and also in a separate track Stuff We Did as Carl takes another look at Ellie's scrapbook and discovers her final message to him.
  • Daydream Surprise: Carl dangling Russell out the window by a Bedsheet Ladder, presumably to lower him on to a high building. And dropping him, which is what causes him to abandon the idea and Imagine Spot.
  • Dead Man Writing: Ellie's final words to Carl, lovingly written on the last page of her Book of Adventure.
  • Death Seeker: It's strongly implied that this was what motivated Carl to finally go to Paradise Falls, at least at first. After all, with Ellie dead and having no family left to speak of, what better way to go out in style than to do the one thing he was still able to pull off? Even if he knows that it'd likely be a one-way trip that could go terribly wrong.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Alpha tends to do this, intentionally using more "educated" language over the other dogs despite being just as much of a, well, dog.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Ellie's statement on the continent she wishes to live in at the start of the movie.
    Ellie: South America! It's like America... But south!
  • Disappeared Dad: Russell's father isn't around much.
  • Disney Villain Death: Charles Muntz. It really does not get more dramatic than falling to one's death from 10,000 feet. There's a special feature on the DVD where the writers note how they were tired of the go-to "villain dies by falling" Disney ending and struggled hard to avert it, but it ended up being inevitable given the film's subject matter. The alternatives included Muntz getting lost in Kevin's labyrinth (which was too confusing and drawn-out) or being carried up by balloons (which lacked the same impact).
  • The Dog Bites Back: Dug gets harassed by an aggressive Alpha. Not only does Alpha berate Dug for losing the large bird (Kevin) they’ve been tracking down, but he also has Dug wear the cone of shame. Alpha also tosses Dug for betraying the pack by helping Carl and Russell escape with Kevin. During the climax, when Alpha has Dug cornered behind the steering wheel of the blimp,he gets his head through the steering wheel while trying to attack Dug, Dug grabs a makeshift cone and puts it over Alpha’s head. One of the dogs exclaims “He wears the cone of shame,” and the other dogs laugh at him. Thus, Dug returns Alpha the favor by humiliating him.
  • Dogs Hate Squirrels: Throughout the movie, practically every dog from The Ditz Dug to Muntz's Angry Guard Dogs can't suppress their natural urge to chase squirrels with all the dogs occasionally raising their heads and yelling "SQUIRREL" in mid-conversation. Russell exploits this during the final struggle in the movie where he causes Muntz's fighter pilot dogs to crash into each other by yelling "squirrel". And during the credits, Dug can be seen chasing one.
    (Parachuting down) Gamma: I HATE squirrels!!!
  • Dogs Love Being Praised:
    • Implied when Beta and Gamma whine after thinking about how Muntz will react when they find out Alpha sent Dug out on his own.
    • When Carl, in the middle of his HeroicBSOD, blames Dug for Muntz finding them and almost burning down Carl's house, he calls Dug a bad dog. Dug immediately lowers his head and walks away with his tail between his legs.
      • Reversed when Dug and Carl reunite after Carl has had a change of heart, happily welcoming Dug and finally, for the first time, calling him a good boy.
    • In the "Dug's Special Mission" bonus short, Dug becomes even sadder than he was initially when he overhears Alpha calling him a "bad dog".
  • Don't Explain the Joke: "It is funny because the squirrel gets dead!"
  • Double Entendre: Not in the film, but on the soundtrack. Track 14 is called "Giving Muntz the Bird."
  • Double Take: Carl does one when he spots Russell on the porch after his house is airbourne.
  • Downer Beginning: By the end of the montage of Carl and Ellie's life together, you will probably be reduced to tears.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Variation — the lever-action rifle in question is fired correctly, but both the camera and character pause considerably when chambering a new round.
  • Dread Zeppelin: Charles Muntz's cold, grey, massive zeppelin contrasts with Carl's small, colorful balloon-propelled house. Carl gets to keep the airship in the end, though.
  • Dumb Is Good: Dug is noticeably dumber than Muntz's other dogs. While Alpha, arguably the smartest of the pack, is a jerk and the other dogs are PunchClockVillains, Dug immediately makes friends with strangers.
    Dug: My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Just after Carl has taken off, when his house flies by the little girl's apartment window, she has a Lotso Huggin' Bear (from Toy Story 3) in her room.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For just about all the protagonists. Muntz falls to his death and Kevin is released to the wilderness, presumably never to be disturbed by poachers like Muntz again. Carl is finally able to move on from Ellie's death and unfulfilled promise with her, now living in the Spirit of Adventure and enjoying a new life with Russell, Dug, and the other pack of dogs. Russell gets his "Assisting the Elderly" badge on ceremony and is given "The Ellie Badge" by Carl (the bottle cap Ellie gave to him in their childhood), much to Russell's delight. Even the house earns its happy ending, as the ending shows that it landed exactly over the cliff at Paradise Falls.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Charles Muntz has become one of these, ad nauseum.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: Ellie's chair had sat empty since she died, until the end of the movie when Russell and Dug take it over.
  • Enter Stage Window: A young Ellie visits an injured Carl like this early in the film.
  • Evil Counterpart: Muntz to Carl. Both of them were fixated on the past, and on living their adventure. One was able to move on, the other wasn't.
  • Evil Gloating: During the swordfight, both fighters throw out their back. Muntz is the first to recover, but instead of attacking Carl, he knocks him over and asks if he has any last words.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Alpha is a Double Subversion, as his collar gives him a squeaky voice, but only when it's not working right. However, when his voice becomes deep, it becomes really deep.
  • Exact Words:
    • This exchange near the end:
    Muntz: Any last words, Fredericksen? Come on, spit it out!
    Carl: *spits out his dentures at Muntz*
    • In the final scene, when Carl and Russell are playing the "red vehicle/blue vehicle" game, Carl counts a red bike, even though that's not how Russell used to play the game with his dad.
  • Expy
    • Kevin bears a strong resemblance to the Road Runner.
    • She also resembles the giant bird from For the Birds, including the honking noise.
    • The Wilderness Explorers are obviously Expys of the Boy Scouts (or, more likely Cubs, given Russell's age).
  • Fallen Hero: Charles Muntz can be seen as one of these.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: WW1 era fighter planes whose guns seem to otherwise act like normal weapons shoot darts. The in-world logic is that the planes were designed for a Non-Lethal K.O. of Kevin, given that we see them earlier in the traps. Interestingly, in the climax they go to the detail of showing the copper shell ejecting and damage to the house from Muntz's rifle.
    • In a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, one model of WW1 airplane was deployed with darts. Just instead of darts-guns, the darts were to be dropped from above in the hope of deflating and crashing the enemies airships.[1]
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Charles Muntz plummets to his death from an airship that is about 10,000 feet above sea level.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two orderlies who come to take Carl to the nursing home.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The world called Charles Muntz a fraud for bringing back the very real and verifiable skeleton of an unknown species of giant bird. He doesn’t even get an apology or exoneration years later from this world’s farce of a scientific community!
  • Floorboard Failure: See Ambulance Cut.
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe: in the George and A.J. short, after seeing Carl moving his house, many other senior citizens start moving their houses as well, though with different methods. Even those who have already been administered to Shady Oaks try to take the building with them by attaching helium tanks around the perimeter.
  • Food and Animal Attraction: Kevin the bird appears because Russell has a chocolate bar in his pocket.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Carl attempts to ditch the animal companions at one point. He forgot that even if neither could smell or hear him, all they have to do is look underneath a floating house.
  • Foreshadowing: If you pay attention during the opening, you can see crafting supplies, including tape and various crayons, on Ellie's bedside table while she is in the hospital. This alludes to her having worked on their adventure book.
    • There's also Carl catching his balloon cart as it almost floats away. This allows the audience to better accept the universe's Balloonacy.
    • When Ellie first appears, she mentions "seeing" a puppy and a storm. On the way to Paradise Falls, the house ends up in a storm, and a puppy could refer to Muntz's dogs, but most likely it could refer to Dug, the first dog Carl and Russell come across.
    • In the opening newsreel, Muntz is revealed to have lots of dogs and technology for them. When the dogs first appear in South America, the fact that their collars allow them to speak is an early clue as to who their master is before he appears.
    • Russell says he found the "snipe" under Carl's house and remarks that "this snipe had a long tail and looked more like a large mouse". Later, Dug hides under Carl's porch.
    • When Beta and Gamma start laughing at Alpha's squeaky voice, he suggests that they may be attempting to challenge his rank. Beta denies this but jokingly suggests that Dug would. Dug becomes the new Alpha at the end of the film after trapping Alpha using the Cone of Shame.
  • For Science!: "I will take it back... for science!"
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Carl (melancholic), Ellie (choleric), Russell (sanguine), Kevin (phlegmatic), and Dug (sanguine/phlegmatic).
  • Funny Background Event: A minor one at the end, when they are eating ice cream. The ladder from the blimp ends at the Disabled Parking lot.
  • Furry Reminder: The dogs wear collars that enable them to talk, but it doesn't stop them from being able to bark.
    Carl Fredricksen: "And on your way, learn how to bark like a real dog!"
    Doug: "I can bark. *woof woof* And here's howling. *Awoo*!"

  • Gadgeteer Genius:
    • Carl qualifies, given he outfitted his house with shower curtain sails and a steering system. Carl retrofitted his entire house into an airship in less than one night. He's better than MacGyver!
    • This applies to Muntz as well: he used 70-year-old technology to make the dogs' collars that not only allow them to talk but be tracked as well. The guy even created a version of Dick Tracy's video wristwatch for the dogs!
  • Gender-Blender Name: Kevin the (female) bird.
  • Genki Girl: Ellie was an energetic girl when she first met Carl.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a comedy/drama/tragedy/action/floating house/talking dogs/extremely difficult to categorize but highly enjoyable movie.
  • Glass Smack and Slide: When Russell tries to escape from the dirigible, he accidentally smacks into the windshield and slides by right in front of Muntz while holding onto the hose from Carl's house for dear life. Muntz's reaction is an angry, but evidently awkward glare as Russell passes by.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Having spent the better part of seventy years searching for "Kevin", the combination of need for vindication and lack of human contact have caused Muntz to become paranoid, murderous, and insane, believing that anyone he encounters is after his bird.
  • Good-Times Montage: The infamous "Married Life" montage, showing Carl and Ellie as Happily Married through all the good times and the bad over the years.
  • Greek Letter Ranks: Muntz names his dogs after Greek letters according to their rank. Dug, the Minion with an F in Evil, has an Odd Name Out, which suggests he's so low on the hierarchy that there were no letters left to assign him. When Dug defeats Alpha, the other dogs make him the new Alpha.
  • Grow Old with Me: Carl and Ellie. They met as children, married as young adults and remained together until Ellie's death at old age.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Carl Fredricksen is frequently irritable ever since Ellie died.
  • Half-Empty Two-Shot: Whenever Carl sits in his recliner, positioned beside his late wife's coach; signifying his grieving and melancholy about her passing.
  • Happily Married: Carl and Ellie were married for many years until the latter's death from old age.
  • Hate Sink: You can't hate Muntz or his pack of dogs, but you can hate the silent construction supervisor who tried to claim Carl's property to make room for his new condominiums; even attempting to bribe Carl with money to no avail. And upon Carl accidentally injuring one of his construction workers for accidentally breaking his mailbox, the executive exploits this to bring Carl to court and label him as a 'public menace' so that he'll be forced to move out from the house and into a retirement facility.
  • Headgear Headstone: A dark version occurs, combined with a grim Trophy Room, as Charles Muntz has killed other explorers and, apparently, kept their aviator helmets on stands as a way of keeping track.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The credits show all of the villain's dogs, including Alpha, assisting the infirm.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: Russell wants to help Carl Frederickson to gain his Assisting The Elderly merit badge. Since Carl is already home, Russell tries narrowing his initial offer to help cross the street to Carl's yard and then to Carl's porch. Carl eventually gets Russell to leave with a Snipe Hunt. Watch the exchange here.
  • The Hermit: After the death of Ellie, Carl lived his life as a recluse. He sat beside his late wife's empty chair in their house surrounded by objects and memories as a city grew around him.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Completely subverted. All the Big Bad's Evil Minions are dogs, and Carl doesn't exactly warm up to Dug. And then DOUBLY subverted with Carl and his eventual acceptance as Dug's master.
  • Heroic BSoD: Carl entered one of these after the Big Bad set his house on fire and Ellie's picture broke. It took reading the pages in Ellie's Adventure Book that he never looked at since he believed she never finished it to snap him out of it.
  • Hollywood Law: Carl is involuntarily committed to a retirement home after he whacks a guy over the head with a cane. The guy, at the time, had been struggling with Carl over his mailbox, despite Carl's repeated demands for him to let it go. While he may have had to pay some damages as a result, a single incident borne of an obvious misunderstanding wouldn't lead to commitment, though the Corrupt Corporate Executive who wanted Carl's house might have pulled strings. After all, tampering with the mail is a federal crime. He could be prosecuted for assault (unlikely) or sued by the man, but involuntary commitment to a retirement home is only something next-of-kin with power of attorney can do.
  • Honor Before Reason: "Cross my heart."
  • I Can See My House from Here: Played with in the daydream scene where Russell is tied to a Bedsheet Ladder. He looks up towards Carl's house, joyfully exclaiming "Hey, I can see your house from here!"
  • I Gave My Word: And Carl would go to Hell and back to keep it.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Carl Fredricksen desperately tries to ignore Russell figuring out how to go potty in the wilderness by putting his hands over his ears and singing.
    Russel [offscreen]: Mr. Fredricksen! Am I supposed to dig the hole before, or after?
    Mr. Fredricksen: Uuugh! None of my concern!
    Russel [offscreen]: Oh, it's before!
    Mr. Fredricksen: BAH! [puts his hands over his ears] Lalalalalala—
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: In the opening, Ellie gives her Adventure Book to Carl not long before she dies; it then serves as one of the reasons Carl finally heads to South America, inspires him near the conclusion, and then loses importance when Carl finally comes to terms with her death.
  • Improvised Zipline: Carl does a short zip-line with a garden hose and his own cane.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Carl and Russell eventually forge this.
  • Ironic Echo: "Hey, stop jerking around so much." There are also certain scenes during the early Carl/Ellie montage. The hill, and the hospital.
  • It's All Junk: What Carl comes to realize about all his possessions and eventually even the house itself compared to his love for his new friends.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: While Ellie did want Carl to take her to Paradise Falls when she was a kid, as an adult she came to appreciate that her life with Carl was a wonderful adventure in itself. She filled her adventure book with photos of their married life together. While Carl does make it to Paradise Falls to honor her wishes, and the house lands exactly where she would have wanted it, he ultimately builds a new life being a father figure to Russell, seeing the new adventure just as she wanted.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carl came to embody the stereotype of the loner old man after Ellie's death, but still retained the sweet person he always was at heart. It's getting rid of the "Jerk" part of his personality that's part of his Character Development.
  • Kick the Dog: Used frequently, and often quite literally. Almost all instances involve Charles Muntz; his targets include, but are not limited to, a few of the talking dogs.
  • Knight Templar: Subverted, as Muntz falls into mere self-avenging.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: Subverted. The inside of the labyrinth Kevin lives in that no one can escape ooh scary is never visited. Word of God was that one planned ending was for Muntz to get lost in it. The DVD has it (along with several other endings) as an extra feature.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Briefly, subtly, but harshly implied. Word of God is that it was a not-so-Convenient Miscarriage that left Ellie unable to have children, and what we see is what they were comfortable showing in a kid's movie.
  • Leitmotif: Main theme of the movie represents Ellie and Carl. Muntz also has a theme, which practically duels with Ellie's theme by the climax.
  • Like a Son to Me: One Word of God interview says that Russell was designed to be the child Ellie and Carl were unable to have, in both a figurative and literal spirit. Figurative in that if they had had a child, that child would be very much like Russell (especially at the end when he has both a mother and father figure in his life), and that Russell fills the hole Ellie left behind when she died, much like Carl and Ellie's potential child would have. Literal in that if you look close enough, Russell has features very similar to that of both Ellie and Carl....
  • Little Stowaway: Russell, but only accidentally.
  • Living Dinosaurs: Muntz mentions that in his youth he battled an Arsinotherium, a prehistoric relative of elephants that lived about 30 million years ago, in the modern age.
    • Kevin herself counts as this, being a living (avian) dinosaur.
  • The Load: Russell at first seems to fit this category: he loses his Wilderness Explorer GPS, literally acts as a deadweight while Carl is towing the house, cannot put up his tent, and reveals to Muntz that he and Carl have met "the Monster of Paradise Falls" (i.e. Kevin the Bird). Probably meant to be an inversion of how in many films where a crotchety old man is paired up with a spunky kid, it's the adult who's portrayed as inept and in need of rescue. Plus, Russell has the excuse that he has no real way of getting home under his own power. If Carl doesn't do it, the poor kid is toast. However, he eventually takes a level in badass.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Carl deciding to go after Russell. After tossing all of his possessions out of the house to make it light enough to float with the remaining balloons, he puts on Russell's Wilderness Explorer sash, shoulders his cane, and steers the house himself.
  • Lost World: Paradise Falls itself, not to mention the many, many shout-outs to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle book of the same name.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • Though not necessarily a literal example:
    Dug: My name is Dug. I have just met you, and I love you.
  • Lying on a Hillside: Carl and Ellie enjoyed picnics on top of a hill.

  • Mad Scientist: Charles Muntz, who made the dogs' collars.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The shy, quiet Carl and energetic tomboy Ellie in their childhood.
  • Match Cut: A balloon popping to a flash popping at Carl and Ellie's wedding. Another one happens where Carl walks up to Ellie's coffin at her funeral to walking up the stairs to his house.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There are hints that Ellie's spirit has come to inhabit the house but it's never confirmed one way or the other. Carl talks to her as if she's still alive at various points, and Russell even does the same to ask if he can keep Kevin. In the climax, the house's garden hose dislodges, saving Russell and Kevin, while stray balloons catch Muntz and keep him from grabbing the bird. Finally, at the end, the house lands exactly where Ellie wanted it to be in Paradise Falls.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "Cross your heart."
      • Related: Russell's line "I gotta help you cross something" near the beginning of the movie. He does indeed.
    • Russell's comment about the boring times being the ones he remembers the most. When Carl finally turns the page of Ellie's adventure book, he notices that there are pictures of their everyday life. While some of the things might not be considered boring under normal circumstances, recall that Ellie and Carl wanted to live by Paradise Falls and have really exciting adventures.
  • Meaningful Name: The movie title itself. It's literally what the plot is about, going up in the air in a house raised by balloons, and it's where Ellie wanted her house to be above the falls, but it's also Carl's character arc (coming up out of depression and realizing life is still worth living). Also consider the fact Carl seemed ready to die before Russell appeared, so that his whole trip was "going to join Ellie", and the symbolism of going up into the heavens...
  • Megaphone Gag: Carl borrows a construction worker's megaphone to yell at the construction worker's boss "You in the suit! Yes, you! Take a bath, hippie!" The construction worker frantically grabs the megaphone back to declare "I am not with him!"
  • Merit Badges for Everything: As seen in Russell's band. And the credits shows some specific ones. Including one for Bio-Hazard, and one with the design of a Mushroom.
  • Midair Collision: A group of dogfighters get distracted by a SQUIRREL!! (well, not really), and proceed to crash into one another.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Dug can't be an Angry Guard Dog to save his shaggy hide. He's far too nice.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film opens with Carl and Ellie meeting as little kids, and it does set up the rest of the movie... by showing how important they were to each other, and their united dream of seeing the wilds of South America.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Dug decides that Carl is his master after being repeatedly mistreated by Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Omega.
  • The Mockbuster: Vídeo Brinquedo's "What's Up", a low budget cash-in on this film.
  • Moment of Weakness:
    • When Carl attacks Steve, the construction worker who accidentally damages the mailbox.
    • Also later when he abandons Kevin and Russell to try and save the house.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: At one point, Carl and Russell think they've spotted a human figure watching them on the horizon. Approaching, they discover it's really two oddly-shaped rock formations that just happen to resemble a man in profile, if viewed from that specific angle and distance.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The scene of Carl and Ellie after her miscarriage in the middle of their Happily Married montage.
    • After the tear-jerking scene of Ellie's death, the next scene is a comedic scene of Carl's morning routine, set to orchestral music.
    • During a tense scene where Carl and Russell nearly fall off a cliff, we are treated to Carl screaming, which is clearly Played for Laughs. Then the next scene is a beautiful shot of Paradise Falls, where the cliff they are on is overlooking.
  • Morning Routine: We see one for Carl after Ellie's death. It's... less than exciting.
  • Motive Decay: Good Lord Charles Muntz... what did South America do to you?
  • The Mourning After: It's only towards the end that Carl finally comes to grips with Ellie's death.
  • Moving Buildings: Carl Fredricksen's house, when tied to a bunch of helium balloons. Ironically, this means the developers technically succeeded in evicting him and clearing the lot. If only they'd thought to just suggest that to begin with...
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: It's a Pixar animation, so it's given.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Carl going slowly down the staircase in his machine. While "la Habanera" plays in the background.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Carl tries to stop Steve, a construction worker, from touching his mailbox and accidentally bashes him over the head with his cane hard enough to draw blood, and in front of witnesses too. Carl has this reaction and retreats inside, knowing the real estate boss will use this as a reason to take his land from him.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: This is the attitude of Muntz's dogs (they are dogs, after all). Apart from Alpha, none of them seems to have a mean streak, yet none of them has a problem with the way Muntz treats Carl and Russell. Once Carl becomes their master, they become friendly.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Charles Muntz and his dogs capture Kevin and take her in his blimp making Carl and Russell unable to stop them. The only reason Russell was able to catch up with Charles was he used his leaf blower and saying that he would help her even if Carl wouldn't. This prompted Carl to use his house to fly up at rescue him from falling.
  • Never Recycle a Building: Carl and Ellie's house appears to have been abandoned for quite some time when Carl and Ellie first meet inside as children, and it remains abandoned until they buy and refurbish it after their marriage (when it then becomes a trope subversion).
  • Never Trust a Trailer: As is tradition for Pixar's films, the initial teaser trailers contained original material created solely for the trailers that were never intended to appear in the film. Still, the jovial Carl in the earliest trailer contrasts quite sharply with the Grumpy Old Man of the film.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Paradise Falls is clearly based on Angel Falls in Venezuela.
  • Now What?: After getting his house to Paradise Falls, Carl goes back inside and just sits in his armchair blankly staring at nothing. After accomplishing his childhood dream, Carl doesn’t know what else to do, especially since Ellie isn’t with him to enjoy reaching Paradise Falls.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Muntz was a world-famous explorer and young Carl's hero, yet has isolated himself for so long that his view of the world is antiquated. In particular, his insistence on capturing Kevin alive is a sign of this: had he not cut off contact with the scientific community, he'd know that bringing a molted feather (with never-before-seen DNA) would suffice to confirm his discovery. Conversely, killing what's clearly an endangered species (not to mention plenty of people) just for the bragging rights would only get him vilified.
  • Odd Name Out: Dug is the only dog whose name is not a Greek letter. The other names are implied to be ranks, but it still highlights Dug's position as their Butt-Monkey.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Carl sees the skeleton and realizes Muntz is completely off his gourd. His face just gets more shocked when Muntz starts nonchalantly knocking flight caps of the people he killed to the floor... with him eventually saying:
      Muntz: A man taking his house to Paradise Falls... That's the best one yet. I can't wait to hear how it ends...
    • The dogs when Carl uses the tennis ball to distract them so that he can rescue Kevin.
    • Dug when he gets chased by the other dogs after Muntz kicks him out of the way.
    • Muntz, right before he falls to his death from thousands of feet in the air.
  • Older Than They Look: Carl is old — but Muntz was a grown man and veteran explorer when Carl was a little boy, and he makes references to going on safari with Theodore Roosevelt. The film doesn't explicitly say, but Muntz must be well over a hundred.
    • Confirmed by Pete Docter to be 92. Notice that Muntz didn't specify which Roosevelt he went on a safari with. It could have been one of Teddy's sons, or even FDR.
  • Ominous Clouds: While floating in the sky in the flying house, Carl and Russell came across some Cumul-nimbus clouds. The clouds cause a storm which shakes the flying house.
  • One-Word Title: The film is simply titled "Up."
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • We have only seen Ellie sad once as an adult: when she was told she either miscarried or was unable to have children. She broke down sobbing in the doctor's office, and later sat in the front yard meditating. Even when she was dying, she was smiling and reassuring Carl.
    • Likewise, Ellie has always been able to outpace Carl walking on their favorite hill. When she falls behind and collapses, Carl immediately goes to her side, fearing the worst. It turns out she was dying.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • Carl descending the staircase on his Stair Lift.
    • Russell getting dragged against the outside of Muntz's airship windshield.
  • Percussive Maintenance: When the Stair Lift gets stuck halfway down, one good fistbump and it's going again.
  • Piggy Bank: In the opening sequence, Carl and Ellie save up for their trip to Patagonia by dropping coins in a glass jug labelled "Paradise Falls"; but when a flat tire, broken leg, or tree limb falling on the house forces them to raid their savings, they do so by Carl smashing the jug with a hammer. By the time they did have the money, Carl was going to surprise her with tickets.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Ellie's death sets the main storyline in motion.
  • Plucky Comic Relief:
    • Dug the dog is hilarious, and plucky doesn't even begin to describe him.
    • Not to mention the overly-enthusiastic Russell.
  • Plummet Perspective: Any time a person nearly falls out of the airship, an inanimate object does fall, with a shot following it down to emphasize how far there is to go. With Russell, it's the chair he was tied to. During the fight between Carl and Muntz, it happens with some of Muntz's memorabilia.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Muntz turns against Carl and Russell after Russell blurts out that he saw Kevin and made her his pet, making Muntz believe that they were bandits out to capture Kevin for themselves. Carl shutting down Russell and trying to leave when Muntz started acting maniacal only made them look more suspicious. Granted, Muntz wasn't exactly in a stable headspace.
  • Posthumous Character: Despite being dead for much of the film, Ellie remains an important figure to Carl all throughout. Especially noteworthy in that after she dies, we never see any flashbacks to her so that she can "talk" to Carl or the audience - all we get is the pictures of her Carl has left, and his reactions to her absence.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The construction supervisor does press charges against Carl for hitting his employee and drawing blood. Not because he hurt the guy (Steve's blatant fear of his boss implies the two aren't on very good terms), but because he now has the means to get Carl's house taken away from him.
  • Prized Possession Giveaway: When Ellie is dying in the hospital, she gives her "adventure book", a book full of plans for her future adventures she had since she was a kid, to her husband Carl.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Dug's silhouette in Ratatouille. Up itself has an appearance from Lotso Huggin' Bear of Toy Story 3.
  • Product Placement: Parodied. An ad for Aflac explains that Carl got the money to fit his house with balloons from his insurance. The canon status is uncertain.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Muntz's dogs. As the end shows (and the end credits), once they get a new master, they're perfectly nice.
    "I like you temporarily."
  • Puppy Love: Carl and Ellie first met when they were little kids. It was love almost at first sight.
  • The Quiet One: Carl was a really quiet kid. He barely makes a sound during the flashback.
  • Radio Voice: Hilariously done with all the dogs, particularly Alpha, whose broken collar makes him sound like Darth Vader on helium.
  • Railroad Plot: Carl's house is in a block where a major development is planned, and when he kept stubbornly refusing to sell it, the developers attempted to get him committed to a senior home. They did succeed in evicting him and clearing the lot, but not quite they way they expected.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Don't think the sleazy developer could manipulate the legal system to get Carl's house? Sadly, you'd be wrong if the local government is inclined to support them. And thanks to eminent domain, he might not have even had to wait for Carl to lose his temper.
  • Recurring Camera Shot:
    • One occurs during the marriage life montage at the beginning, as the couple are going up to their hill in the park with the tree on it, first with Ellie running up to it with Carl lagging behind, then as an elderly couple with Carl at the top and Ellie, who is beginning to fall ill, running behind right before she collapses.
    • The montage right after that, which shows Carl's daily routine as a widower, repeats two shots from the marriage montage — one of Carl having breakfast, and one of him cleaning a window. The main difference is that Ellie is absent, empathizing how empty his life is without her.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Dug as well as Kevin's babies.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Muntz has a whole pack of them; Alpha stands out.
  • Ring-Ring-CRUNCH!: Carl pounds his alarm clock with a fist to stop its ringing. This gets a Call-Back later when he's in the South American wilderness. A frog chirps and wakes him, and gets rewarded with the groggy thump of a fist.
  • Room Full of Crazy: More like part of the room, but the wall where Muntz has his elaborate map to capture Kevin and all the caps and goggles of the people he killed definitely counts.
  • Rule of Funny: Carl and Muntz's ages are rarely taken into account except when it would somehow be humorous.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The main reason that the balloon-carried house works so well is because it's tied in to some very effective and heart-wrenching thematic elements of the movie.
  • Running Gag:
    • The dogs being distracted whenever they — SQUIRREL!!
    • Carl's hearing aid too.
    • And Russell's snipe hunt.
    • Leaf blower to the face!
    • "Who wants the ball?"

  • Sadistic Choice: Muntz gives Carl one after trapping Kevin and setting his home on fire: save the bird or the house. No prizes for guessing which one he chooses.
  • Sad-Times Montage: The Good-Times Montage leads into this once Ellie falls ill. The final scene is Carl returning to his home, heartbroken and alone.
  • Samus Is a Girl: "Kevin" is a girl. Whoa, didn't see that one coming.
  • Sanity Slippage: Charles Muntz is an implied example. Psychologically speaking, the years have clearly not been kind.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Carl and Ellie as children, being shy and outgoing respectfully.
  • Scare Chord: Can be heard during the latter half of the scene where we discover Muntz's true colors.
  • Scout-Out: The Wilderness Explorers are an example of this, complete with Merit Badges for Everything. Russell even manages to get a great bit of scouting done: helping the elderly, learning about nature, sticking up for the right thing, etc.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Young Carl when Young Ellie appears at his window.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Gawky, gap-toothed Ellie grows up to be beautiful.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Charles' life becomes this. He starts off as a brilliant inventor and famous explorer, goes to this paradise and brings back a skeleton of an exotic creature, only to be called a fraud, be stripped of his title, and when he goes to clear his name, he gets stuck there for decades, loses a lot of his dogs, goes completely nuts, and when he finally has a chance to bring back proof he ends up getting killed. And even if he did succeed, everyone he was trying to prove himself to would be long dead, and the modern day community would condemn him for killing or capturing an endangered species, and for his antiquated Great White Hunter tendencies.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • Shown Their Work: The art direction team traveled to the plateaus of Venezuela to get the look and feel of Paradise Falls down. Yes, those landscapes really are as surreal in real life. In fact, the real-life ones are more surreal than the ones in the film. Pete Docter said in the "making of" documentary that if they had fully depicted in the movie what the tepuis actually look like, nobody would believe them.
    • The interior structure of Muntz's zeppelin is entirely accurate, right down to the perforated square girders.
    • Most of the skeletons in Muntz's zeppelin seem to be based on RL megafauna, as some are identical to extinct giant sloth skeletons and another resembles an arsinoithere.
    • Kevin may be one of the most realistic animated birds ever depicted. Her quirks, mannerisms, and body language are a composite of several real birds. Parrots are the primary inspiration, but there's some cassowary and hawk in Kevin as well. Her bright colors are based on the (male) Himalayan Pheasant. The loud call she gives to her babies is almost identical to a peacock.
    • Muntz and his body of work resembles that of early 20th century explorer William Beebe.
    • Look closely at Carl's face when he gets to Paradise Falls, and you'll see he's got stubble, apparently having not shaved since he left.
  • Show Within a Show: The Charles Muntz newsreels, which included their own tropes:
    • Clear My Name: Muntz's reason for returning to Paradise Falls.
    • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: This happens to Muntz near the beginning.
    • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Muntz was kind of an amalgam of Lindbergh and Howard Hughes. The Art of Up book also mentions Walt Disney as partial inspiration for Muntz's appearance.
  • Silence Is Golden: A remarkable dialogue-free montage tells the whole story of Carl and Ellie's life without a single word.
  • The Silent Bob: During the opening scene, Carl hardly speaks while Ellie hardly stops. In scenes where the two are together, Ellie does all the talking; she even comments people who don't talk much are her type. In a case of irony, Ellie is never heard speaking as an adult or senior.
  • Sky Pirates: Parodied liberally.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: This film dings on both sides of the scale but still remains very idealistic by the end of the film. It's a sad fact that life isn't fair and each character has experienced cruel disappointments in life... but in the end, as long as you don't let those disappointments rule your life, you can still be happy.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: By the time the film takes place, Muntz has largely been relegated to history if not outright forgotten, thanks in part to his previous humiliation over Paradise Falls. Even if he did bring Kevin back, few would approve of his methods at all, let alone care, or even know about his previous humiliation.
  • Smart Jerk and Nice Moron: Among Charles Muntz's battalion of servant dogs, Alpha the Doberman is a Drill Sergeant Nasty that leads them. Alpha tends to heap abuse on dimwitted but determined Dug. This mistreatment is a huge catalyst in Dug's Heel–Face Turn in siding with Carl, Russell and Kevin.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The film has a 4:2 (4:1 living) male-to-female ratio.
  • Snipe Hunt: Literally. The "snipe" turns out to be real, too.
  • Soft Water: A bunch of the Dogs fall into a gorge, but apparently all survive because they all managed to fall in the river.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Carl has a job as a balloon salesman for a long period during the intro montage, and it soon comes in handy when he heads for South America.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Carl's plan to get the house to Paradise Falls succeeds eventually, but in saving the house from being burned by Muntz, he gave up Kevin, angrily sent Dug away and turned Russell against him. When they finally get there, Russell angrily dumps his sash at Carl's feet, saying he doesn't want it any more, and sits down on a rock a good way from the house. Carl enters the house, and just sits in his chair in silence, not really knowing what to do next. Until he sees Ellie's adventure book...
  • Spanner in the Works: Dug's obliviousness ends up endangering the heroes in at least two separate occasions:
    • When Carl, Russell and Kevin are taking the house to Paradise Falls, Dug receives a call from Alpha and sheepishly says he has taken the bird as a prisoner. This leads the pack to track them down, kidnap the two humans and lead them to Muntz' blimp, presumably to be executed.
    • When Russell and Carl are transporting an injured Kevin to her babies, Dug gives away their location because he forgets (or doesn't know) that Muntz can track their position by monitoring his collar. This results in Kevin being captured by the mad old man, with Carl's house almost being destroyed in the process.
  • Spelling for Emphasis: When Russell overhears Carl Fredricksen talking to Ellie (who, by that stage, is already dead), he thinks she's an imaginary friend and tries asking her to keep Kevin. He then says, "She said for you to let me", to which Carl says to "Ellie", "But I told him no!", then to Russell, "I told you no— N-O!".
  • Staggered Zoom: This is how we find out that Carl's house has been surrounded by a massive construction project.
  • Staring Kid: There's one at the window when Carl's house takes off. Russell also occasionally serves this purpose.
  • Steampunk/ Diesel Punk: Muntz used what appears to be decades-old technology to make collars that can translate the thoughts of a pack of dogs into words.
  • Stealth Pun: Dogs flying World War I style biplanes. Dog fighters.
  • Stock Scream: We hear the Wilhelm Scream as one of the dogs goes plummeting off a cliff.
  • Stumbling Upon the Lost Wizard: The two leads stumble upon the fantastical explorer Charles F. Muntz, who is served by a huge pack of talking dogs living in his airship. In the No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine scene, the cook is one of his dogs and his dining room is covered with trophies from past adventures.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In the opening montage, Ellie encourages a nervous young Carl to walk over a single wooden plank spanning a huge hole in the floor. The framing and Carl's expressions lead us to expect that he's going to learn something about courage and self confidence, but when he reaches the middle the old plank breaks. Carl falls through the floor and breaks his arm. Cut to the hospital.
    • Dug attempts to stop the other dogs from chasing after Carl by heroically jumping in their way as the music swells. They knock him around and run right past him as the music abruptly ends.
    • In the climax, Muntz tries to jump from the house to the dirigible, but gets his leg caught midway on some of the balloons. Instead of the balloons slowing his fall or lifting him up, he still plummets like a rock and takes the balloons with him.
  • Talking Animal: Dug the dog, and the rest of Muntz's dogs. Most of the dogs have very human speech patterns, but Dug really does sound like a dog of average intelligence that has suddenly gained the ability to speak English:
    Dug: My master made me this collar. He is a good and smart master and he made me this collar so that I may speak— SQUIRREL!! (beat) My master is good and smart.
  • Talking to the Dead: "Would you look at that, Ellie?" Played for laughs when Russell hears him doing it and starts talking to Ellie himself.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Kevin loves chocolate.
  • Terrible Trio: The main henchman (or hench-dog) group, comprised of Alpha the Doberman, Beta the Rottweiler, and Gamma the bulldog.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Young Ellie, who is otherwise very tomboyish, wears a pink bow on top of her head.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Newly-wedded Carl and Ellie do this twice during the opening montage. When they're thinking about having a baby, all clouds start to look like babies to them.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Dug, on account of his collar, which translates his thoughts à la stream of consciousness.
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: The film's soundtrack is comprised of various leitmotifs for different characters. Ellie's theme in particular, first introduced in Married Life, is used to indicate moods melancholic and adventurous, such as when Carl reminisces over Ellie or musters the willpower to go on a new adventure.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Muntz's tragic backstory is that everyone did this to him after bringing back specimens of the bird he worked very hard to catch.
  • Time-Passes Montage: In the first ten minutes, as we see Carl and Ellie's lives together, marked by Ellie lovingly putting on Carl's neckties.
  • Tomboy: Ellie as a kid. One could also say she still was one as an adult.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Seriously, how does Russell make it through the film? The kid has the survival instincts of a lemming! Seeing as how it's Pixar, though...
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Carl, immediately after his Adrenaline Makeover.
    • Russell too. Not as big and impressive as Carl's one, but definitely counts.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The bottlecap "badge", Ellie's Adventure Book, her photo, the house itself... and the airport passes Carl was going to surprise her with just before her final hours. Really, a huge part of the plot is based around this trope and Carl's need to let go of them. The house lands in Paradise Falls, while the furniture is at a remote location. He pins the bottlecap badge to Russell's sash, commending him for his bravery during the adventure and implicitly promising to be in his life.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Muntz is the villain, and Russell defeats the dogs by pointing out an imaginary squirrel. Thanks, Disney marketing!
  • Trophy Room: Muntz has one of these onboard his blimp and is seen bragging to Carl about some of his exploits. It serves as the first site for Carl and Muntz' final battle. Since Muntz is totally nuts, he ends up destroying most of it during the fight.
  • Truth in Television:
    • Dug's behavior (aside from the speaking collar) is pretty realistically canine. And even Dug's speech is what you'd expect from a dog. Roger Ebert remarked that if his own dog was given the power of speech, he'd be saying almost exactly the same thing.
    Carl: Oh, you want the ball?
    Dug: Oh, yes! I do ever so want the ball!
    • Also, they really did their homework with Kevin. She's very parrot-like in her mannerisms and mimicking, and the threat display she gives Carl when he tries to take Russell away from her is all bird.
    • Stair lifts do move that slowly.
  • Unimpressive Progress Reveal: Carl holds down his floating house using a garden hose while Russell tries to climb the hose to get up to the house. The camera focuses on Carl's face as he gives Russell directions and the sounds of Russell's struggles get fainter. When Carl thinks Russell has made it to the top, he looks up — and the wide shot reveals that Russell has climbed about a foot.
  • Unlikely Heroes: Carl Fredricksen and Russell. They're really the last two people you would expect to see trekking through the jungles of Venezuela. With a talking dog and an exotic bird no less.
  • Used to Be a Tomboy: Ellie was shown to have been a tomboy in flashbacks to her childhood. In her adulthood she was more feminine looking.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Not explicitly stated, but Carl's flight to South America has similarities to the true stories of Lawn Chair Larry and of the Balloon Priest. Also, the closing credits include a dedication to "the real-life Carl and Ellie Fredricksens who have inspired this story".
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Carl and Russell are playing a car spotting game (red one, blue one). Dug looks off camera and says "Grey one" and a red one goes past. The "genius" part is that dogs are red/green colorblind, but the "fail" part is that they're not completely colorblind; Dug wouldn't be able to tell a red car from a green car, but he should be able to distinguish either from a grey car.
    • Carl and Ellie's last name, "Fredricksen," may be a stealthy reference to the tiny German city of Friedrickshafen, where, over 100 years ago, the first Zeppelin flew. The Zeppelin company is still there, and still producing Zeppelins, despite the unfortunate accident that marred their perfect safety record some years back.
  • Villain Has a Point: While he does it entirely for selfish motives, the construction supervisor does have just cause to file charges against Carl even if declaring him a public menace and having him evicted is unjust punishment.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Alpha because of his broken voice collar. Later repaired, and at the end it breaks again.
  • The Voiceless: Zigzagged at the beginning. As kids, Carl hardly speaks and Ellie hardly stops. Both characters are seen to speak during the following montage, but we don't hear it. Then the montage ends, and we hear Carl, but Ellie has died, and we don't even hear her as a ghost voice or through Carl's memories.
    • Also the construction boss, who never says a word or makes a sound in either scene he appears in.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: In the opening scene, Ellie does all the talking for Carl as a Shrinking Violet.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: After the house goes plummeting off the blimp with Muntz having done the same just moments ago:
    Russell: That was COOL!
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Ellie's death is shown quite early in the film.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Russell's motivation to earn his last badge.
  • Wham Line: During Carl's 10-Minute Retirement as he looks through Ellie's adventure book, he happens to get this line on the last page which motivates him:
    Thanks for the adventure — now go have a new one!
  • Wham Shot: Once the skeleton of the beast is revealed, Russell is shocked to see that the skeleton has the same exact proportions as Kevin, placing Muntz's motives in a whole new direction.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Dug is designed to be noticeably cuter than the other henchdogs. The other dogs are mainly Dobermans, Bulldogs, and Pitbulls, with realistic eyes and narrow, angular features. Dug, the only dog who is completely good, is a golden retriever mix with wider, more expressive eyes and rounder, friendlier features.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: "You gave Kevin away. You just... gave her away."
  • When Elders Attack: Carl attacks a worker manhandling his mailbox with his cane at the start of the movie. His overreaction serves as a harbinger for the plot to begin.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Played straight with the city Carl lives in. Averted with Paradise Falls - eagle-eyed viewers might spot that the plane tickets Carl buys before Ellie's death are listed for Venezuela.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Russell, to the point that he spills Kevin's existence in Muntz's airship.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: The entire movie runs on this. Especially (but not limited to) the way the house moves around. Though a house could potentially fly, at least according to this article of Wired Magazine, the team acknowledged they'd used far less balloons that would be necessary, for the sake of a visual effect, and the fact that they got from the USA (Muntz asks how "things are back in the 'States"), to South America in such short order and steered by Russell. Just how long was Carl asleep?
  • Wimp Fight: Muntz vs. Carl in a swordfight. Muntz in particular wasn't a wimp before, but he's significantly older than Carl, and age has reduced both men to the level of "wimp" (at least some of the time - see the Rule of Funny entry).
  • With or Without You: Not the phrase, but the spirit is there in two such lines.
    Carl: Now whether you assist me or not, I am going to Paradise Falls, if it kills me!
    Russell: I'm going to save Kevin, even if you won't!
  • With This Ring: Carl's wedding ring is animated properly on his hand the entire movie.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Charles Muntz. Good heavens.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It
    • After Muntz falls to his death, Carl is now the proud owner of the Spirit of Adventure.
    • A variation occurs when Dug defeats Alpha and puts him in the cone of shame, earning all the other dogs' allegiance.
  • You Leave Him Alone!: Invoked by Russell to save Mr. Frederickson from the biplane-flying dogs.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Parodied when Dug tries to get the other dogs to stop, but they just run past him, except Alpha, who grabs Dug by the neck and tries to throw him off the cliff.
    Dug: Stop, you dogs.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: Kevin the "snipe" is really a mama (or at least assumed to be by the characters). But her name remains Kevin even after the discovery.

Thanks for the adventure — now go have a new one! Love, Ellie


Video Example(s):


Up (2009)

In an attempt to get rid of Russell, Carl asks him to find and catch a non-existent bird called a "snipe". Russell believes this and willingly goes out to find the snipe in order to get his last Wilderness Explorer badge.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / SnipeHunt

Media sources: