Today is my birthday. I'm 36.
For my birthday, I got this amazing lap top computer. (It's amazing to me, at least.) I got a boxed set of DVD's for the first 3 seasons of the TV series "Bones". So since I got both gifts early, I decided to treat myself today for something fun.
I opted for the movies, but I also have to say that it wasn't solely my idea. I had actually planned on going to the movies for G-man's birthday on the 10th. Mini-Me actually said, randomly, "I thought we were going to the movies for your birthday." My first thought was, "That wasn't what I said." My second thought was, "Why can't we??"
So after Speech Therapy, the 3 big kids and I headed to the movies with a really great friend while Mini-E stayed with my mom.
I was eager to see the movie. The trailers and clips told me that the main character was finally on the way to the adventure that he'd always wanted. Granted, that did happen. What I wasn't expecting was the layer upon layer of story that they were going to put into this one film.
We first meet Carl Frederickson when he is a little boy sitting in a movie house watching news reels of his explorer hero, Charles Muntz (who, oddly enough, looks a bit like Kirk Douglas). We see Carl pretending to be this adventurer on his way home.
I am a sucker for a good character and at this point I was sold right here - but I put my heart completely into the movie when he meets Ellie. He comes across her in an abaondoned house and she is a proverbial spit fire. She talks non-stop and he says very little - but we see they have an immediate connection.
She sneaks up to his window (after he breaks his arm) because she thought he might need some cheering up. It's a great scene. We see how opposite these two friends are and it's quite perfect. As she's leaving she says "You don't talk much. I like you, Kid." as if his silence was the clincher to her affection....and she's gone.
In tiny glimpses into their lives we watch them get married and grow old together. We get to peak into their lives in a quick fashion, as far as movie time goes, but we see sooo much! We see how perfect they were for each other, we see how they worked together, how they complimented each other in their opposite-ness.
Christa Banister said, over at an article at Crosswalk.com, that it was "easily one of the best on-screen love story that she had seen in a while" and I agree. I cried when Ellie passed away. But even watching Carl going back into the empty house, I thought to myself that was the kind of love story I wanted. They really had a complete and full life. Even if they didn't get to have the adventure and dream they had thought they wanted.
Russell is a tubby little Wilderness Scout that shows up on Carl's front porch. He wants to earn his "assisting the elderly badge" and become a "senior explorer". Carl takes a mildly kind attitude and agrees to help him. With a smirk, he sends Russell on a Snipe Hunt.
Carl gets in trouble right about now in the movie and is ordered to go to an "assisted living retirement home".
Carl has other plans. He's had them for a very long time (Since he first met Ellie). He decides that now is as good as any to take the adventure they had been planning for. He has tied thousands and thousands of balloons onto the grating in his fireplace and his house just lifts up from the foundation and soars through the sky.
Because of the snipe hunt, Russell comes along for the adventure. I'm trying not to tell you everything, here...
They make an unlikely duo.
They meet up with some unlikely characters. The Adventure part of the movie is what we see in the trailers and clips. We see Carl struggle to fulfill his promise to Ellie and we see a new bond form between Carl and Russell. Russell is a typical kid. He reminded me of J-man, to be honest, but he could be just any kid.
They meet a giant bird, a talking dog named Dug, and the hero that Carl idolized as a kid turns out to be a bitter, old bad guy (who REALLY looks like Kirk Douglas).
As I said at the beginning, the movie really is in layers - but it's also in 3 parts. We see the relationship between Carl and Ellie, then the adventure of Carl and Russell and finally the relationship with Carl and Russell.
Carl really thought his lifew as over after Ellie died. I think that's what made him so cranky. When he met Russell his goal in life was to find Paradise Falls like he had promised Ellie in what seemed like a life time ago. I really think he was going to Paradise Falls to wait until he died.
As he got to know Russell, a part of his heart opened up.
We see them together at the end of the movie. We watch Carl become something important in Russell's life, I couldn't help but remembering something I heard at a conference in January. It was something along the line of: No matter how old you are, your mission in life is not over until Jesus calls you home.
Carl found his next mission in life with Russell. The movie closes out with us watching his next grand adventure. I admit it - I cried. I am a hopeless romantic.
The movie is so deep in spots that it isn't going to be for all children. J-man, who's 5, did ask at one point if it was time to go home. It *Was* technically nap time for him. The two big kids said they liked it. Mini-Me prefaced that by saying some parts were sad.
I honestly don't know if The Professor will like the movie. I will end up purchasing it when it comes to DVD. I can see our own relationship in the on-screen lives of Carl and Ellie, but I bet many people will.
The guys and gals at Pixar did a bang up job.
The animation and acting are top notch.
The dogs had me in stitches.
Ed Asner as Carl is amazing.
If you see it, let me know what you think, and be sure to take along some tissues - just in case.