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Up is a movie that among many things discusses promises, adventure and loneliness. In this film, the story of Carl Fredricksen begins with the time when he as a young boy meets a girl with his shared passion for Charles Muntz, a rather famous adventurer. They get married, but many years later Carl becomes an old widower after Ellie dies from illness. In addition to this, the ongoing changes in the neighborhood make life more difficult for Carl, as he is forced to leave his beloved home. However, he decides to keep his promise to Ellie, and visits Paradise Falls, taking the house with him together with a clandestine passenger named Russell. Eventually they develop a strong friendship that completely removes them from their previous states of solitude. This essay examines the concept of loneliness and isolation as portrayed in Carl and Russell. To do this effectively, the essay analyses the development of relationship between the characters.
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Loneliness and Isolation of the Characters
Carl Fredricksen’s only interaction in life was with his wife, Ellie. As a child, Fredricksen played alone all the time, planning his adventures and following the work of Charles Muntz. That continued until he met Ellie. After her death, he returns to the state of being lonely and isolated, spending all his time in the house. This implies that he had grown to depend on and care only for himself, especially taking to consideration his plans to transport his house to Paradise Falls using the balloons.
From the movie, it appears as if Russell is a lonely child too, which is evident when he travels around seeking for adventure without any companion or a supervision from parents. As his father is divorced and is very busy with work, Russell has no other option than to defend himself and enjoy the little time he spends with his father at the ice cream parlor. Gradually, Russell adapts to this scenario, yet he occasionally craves attention and companionship, which leads to his quick attachment to Kevin and Dug.
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After departure in the flying house, Russell is able to steer it to South America using a GPS that he accidentally drops later. At this point, Carl decides that the house must be landed and that Russell should go home. The two men eventually encounter a number of surprising experiences, as the house hits the ground faster than they had anticipated. They are thrown out of the house, and now are preoccupied with saving it from floating away, in such a way working together towards the common goal. Carl is able to dangle on a hose and hold on to the house, while Russell holds on to Carl’s leg for extra weight. Here, Carl and Russell are able to work together in order to weigh the house down and keep it from floating away. It is necessary to point out the transformation the character undergone. Although Russell has always gone on adventures alone, he is actually able to lend a hand and help Carl with the house (Lewis 23). At the same time, Carl is also transformed here seeing as he asks Russell to climb into the house and hoist him up. He is not ashamed to rely on Russell for help, despite the fact that the only other person he had ever allowed to help him was Ellie.
The two explorers manage to reach the Paradise Falls, where they meet Kevin, a giant bird who loves chocolates and is being hunted by the talking dog named Dug. They all become friends and decide to camp together one night. This is where Russell confesses to Carl the facts about his loneliness as a child, with a divorced father who never took him camping, which allows Russell to reflect on his own orientation towards adventure. Carl had always considered himself adventurous, but he had never experienced one even with Ellie. All the above mentioned contributed to their friendship becoming closer, and led Carl to embrace the giant bird as a part of their adventure into Paradise Falls, creating an even stronger relations with Russell. For a man who has never had children, this scene depicts Carl in a very fatherly light and puts Russell in the position of a son.
Afterwards, Russell and Carl begin to perceive each other as a part of a team. Their continuous team work in order to save Kevin from being captured by Charles Muntz and his talking dogs, Carl’s promise to Russell to take care of the bird even though their relations are not very warm.They also get into some dangerous situations like being chased out of Muntz’s cave, escaping with the help of Dug, and being rescued by Kevin. When Kevin is hurt, Carl and Russell work together to help her. This is despite Carl’s reservations about stopping. This demonstrates a significant shift in the characters of both protagonists, as Carl is concerned about keeping his promise to Russell about taking care of the bird and bringing her with them in their adventure (LoBrutto 64).
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Later Russell has another conversation with Carl about his father, over the course of which he tells him about the trips to Fenton’s ice cream where they would just watch cars instead of actually exploring anything. At this point, Russell comes to realization that he is actually appreciating Carl for bringing him to Paradise Falls, albeit as a clandestine passenger in his flying house. When Kevin is taken away and Russell gets upset about it, Carl returns all the way back to the Falls on his own, where he has the opportunity to reevaluate his new life and the life he had before.
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