By CBSNews.com producer David Morgan
Pixar's Resume"Up" is the 10th feature film from Pixar, the company that produced the first feature-length computer animated film, 1995's "Toy Story" (for which director John Lasseter received a Special Achievement Academy Award). Since the Best Animated Feature category was introduced eight years ago, Pixar won for "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "WALL-E."
Ready for Adventure"Up" opens with the meeting of young Carl Fredicksen and the tomboyish Ellie, who share a love for adventure, idolize the great explorer Charles Muntz, and dream of traveling to exotic locales themselves.
A Lifetime in 4 MinutesThe wordless montage sequence of Carl and Ellie's courtship, marriage and life together captures the joys and sorrows of a couple's union: buying a home and planning for the future, as well as infertility, aging, dipping into savings for life's unexpected challenges and, finally, illness, death and grieving. It packs more emotional power into a few minutes than many films do in their entirety.
Darkest Before DawnAlone, and with his house in the sights of a ravenous real estate developer, Carl fights to protect his home, but finds himself on the losing side. That doesn't mean he'll take eviction lying down.
A Whole Lotta HeliumOn the morning he is due to be moved into a retirement home, thousands of colorful helium balloons emerge to carry his house aloft.
Sail AwayA ship's wheel, curtains, rope and pulleys allow Carl to steer his house South, to fulfill the dream he shared with Ellie of visiting Paradise Falls.
Not Found in Wilderness Explorer HandbookTagging along on the ride, however, is young Wilderness Explorer Russell, whose desire to help is, alas, undone by his own enthusiasm.
Wicked WeatherCarl reluctantly takes his passenger through storms to South America, his house gradually sinking due to the balloons' leaking helium. The pair then set off to find Paradise Falls.
Muntz and FriendsMuntz, we discover, is alive and well and residing on a zeppelin, along with a pack of assistant dogs, whose thoughts are translated into English via special collars. They conspire to steal the bird, prompting Carl to make a fateful choice.
DogfightIn a climactic showdown, dog-piloted airplanes try to bring down the house.
Paradise Falls at LastIn addition to its humor and adventure, "Up" is also a touching tale of achieving nearly insurmountable goals.
It Is WrittenIt is also a moving story of memory, regret, and of passing on the lessons learned to others.
Vet VoicesEd Asner ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Lou Grant") provides the voice of Carl, while Muntz is performed by Christopher Plummer, who this year is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn as Leo Tolstoy in "The Last Station".
DreamA gouache painting of Paradise Falls by design artist Lou Romano. As part of their research Pixar artists traveled to South America, to the flat-top mesas (or Tepui) that inspired the film's landscape. The bizarre rock formations they found were initially thought too unbelievable.
See "Art of 'Up'" (Lou Romano's blog)
Carl StudiesAs the story developed, the character of Carl also changed, from the initial image of a grumpy old man selling cheerful balloons, to someone whose unchanging ways were signified by his blocky, square shape (as opposed to other characters' rounded, curvy shapes). Once he'd freed himself of feelings of guilt over his failings towards his dead wife which she in a touching note allows him to do he emerges as a stronger, heroic, even taller figure.
GraphicsThe incredible attention to detail in "Up" is evident in the graphics used for even the most minute or fleeting of objects, from peeling billboards, store fronts, household goods, and ID tags to the "Ellie badge." Among Russell's Wilderness Explorer badges is one, top left, for 2-D cel animation.
See "Up" Graphics (Paul Conrad's "Super Robot Monster" blog)
Keeping ScoreComposer Michael Giacchino was nominated for Best Original Score for "Up," which features a melodic waltz for Carl and Ellie that is transformed into an airy accompaniment once Carl sets off on his adventure. Giacchino also scored this year's reboot of "Star Trek," and was previously nominated for the music of the 2008 Pixar film "Ratatouille."
Except From Cue "Married Life"