This buoyant comedy adventure is another triumph for animation studio Pixar and deservedly won the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Film.
The movie’s unlikely hero is retired balloon salesman Carl (voiced by Ed Asner), who ties thousands of balloons to his house and floats away to visit the awesome Paradise Falls, his late wife Ellie’s lifelong dream. The grumpy widower then discovers that he has a stowaway on board, eight-year-old, eager-to-help boy scout Russell.
The pair fetch up in a lost world deep in the jungles of South America, where they encounter a pack of talking dogs, a giant flightless bird named Kevin and the famous, long-missing explorer (Christopher Plummer) who was Carl’s childhood hero.
The tale’s thrills and spills are handled with Pixar’s customary wit and verve, but the film’s best sequence may just be its quietest – a wordless montage that movingly tells the story of Carl and Ellie’s long childless marriage.
First Up gently tugs at your heartstrings, then it sends you soaring aloft. The result, one of the best animated movies ever made.