Jump to: Spoilers (23)
The villain Charles Muntz has a similar name to Charles Mintz, the Universal Pictures executive who in 1928 stole Walt Disney's production rights to his highly-successful "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" cartoon series. This led Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, who soon eclipsed Oswald in popularity.
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When Carl and Ellie go picnicking, their destination is a spot under the same tree from A Bug's Life (1998).
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All characters are based upon circles and rectangles, except for the villains who are triangles. Not only are Carl and Ellie based on squares and circles, but objects around them are based on their shapes, like their chairs and picture frames. When they both appear in a photograph, the frame is both circle and square.
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Co-director/co-writer Bob Peterson stated that Doug's line "I have just met you, and I love you," was inspired by a quote from a small child that he met when he was a camp counselor in the 1980s.
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Pixar is known (at least by devoted Pixar fans) for referring to a character in their next movie to come out in their most recent one. A stuffed Lotso bear (from Toy Story 3 (2010)) appears (along with the ball from Luxo Jr. (1986) and the plane from Toy Story (1995)) in the room of a little girl Carl passes when his house first takes off.
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The very first animated film, as well as the first 3-D film, ever to open the Cannes Film Festival. When the film was over, the Festival audience remained completely silent. During a panel at the 2011 D23 Expo, executive producer John Lasseter said that it was actress Tilda Swinton who broke the silence by applauding and leading the audience in a standing ovation.
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About halfway through the film, Carl and Russell are trying to put up a tent. Carl is surprised that Russell, with all his badges, never put up a tent before. When he asks Russell why he didn't ask his dad for help, Russell reveals (albeit indirectly) that his parents are divorced (during the conversation where Russell says "Phyllis isn't my mom"). This is the first time in a Disney full-length animated feature where divorce is even hinted at as being a reason for a character having a single parent (most of Disney's single parents are assumed to be widowed or divorced).
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The house is based on the real life Edith Macefield house in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, Washington. Edith fought building developers and her little house still stands in the center of a large development known as the Ballard Blocks.
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The voice for young Ellie is the director's daughter Elie Docter.
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Dug's 'point' pose, where his entire tail, back, and head is in a perfectly straight line, is an homage to the identical pose that Mickey's dog Pluto often makes. Dug also has a color scheme similar to Pluto's.
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The tepui (flat mountains) and waterfalls similar to Paradise Falls are actually found in Venezuela. The country's Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world.
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Up's musical score has become the ninth musical score (and the third from an animated film) to win the Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award for "Best Original Score". The other previous winners are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), Jaws (1975), Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The English Patient (1996), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
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Film debut of Jordan Nagai, who voices Russell. Originally, his older brother Hunter was auditioning for the part, and Nagai simply came along with him. About 400 children had showed up for the auditions, but Nagai stood out because he would not stop talking, and they realized he had the same personality and mannerisms as they envisioned for Russell. Director Pete Docter later said that "as soon as Jordan's voice came on we started smiling because he is appealing and innocent and cute and different from what I was initially thinking."
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When a younger Charles Muntz speaks to a large audience that he will return with the beast alive, everyone is wearing a hat. What the viewer can't see, however, is that he is speaking to a literal "Sea of Hats".
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Even in storyboard form, the married life sequence that opens the film brought members of the production team to tears.
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Carl wears the same grape soda pin that was featured in the Buzz Lightyear commercial in Toy Story (1995).
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Pete Docter, the director, provided most of Kevin's vocalizations.
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When Carl and Ellie are children, only Ellie speaks at length. (Young Carl screams, gasps, and says "Wow" once.) When Carl and Ellie are adults, only Carl speaks.
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In the German dubbed version, Dug is distracted by a cat, not squirrel, due to cat (Katze) being a shorter word than squirrel (Eichhörnchen).
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A code title used during production was "Helium".
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The term 'A113' is the number of the courtroom, and can be found on the gold sign Carl sits next to while waiting to be called (Courtroom A113). A113 is a frequent Pixar in-joke based on one of the room numbers for the animation program at Cal Arts.
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When Carl's house first takes off and when the camera zooms out from the parking lot at the end, Pixar's trademark Pizza Planet truck introduced in Toy Story (1995) can be seen.
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If Carl's house was approximately 1600 square feet, and the average house weighs between 60-100 pounds per square foot, it weighs 120,000 pounds. If the average helium balloon can carry .009 pounds (or 4.63 grams), it would take 12,658,392 balloons to lift his house off the ground. (20,622 balloons appear on the house when it first lifts off, only enough to lift 185.6 pounds.)
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When we first meet Carl as a child, the left side of his collar is sticking out of his vest while the right side of his collar is tucked into his vest. When we first meet Russell, the left side of his collar is tucked under his neckerchief and the right side is sticking out.
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Russell is Pixar's first Japanese/Asian-American character voiced by an Asian-American actor, Jordan Nagai.
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The iconic, slightly out-of-perspective drawing of the house sitting by the falls is a homage to the style of Mary Blair, the artist credited with bringing the modern art look to Disney animation.
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Russell's Wilderness Explorer sash has several in-jokes and tributes. The most obvious is a Luxo Jr. (1986) ball, which can also be seen on the floor of the room of a girl watching Carl's house float by. One badge has a hamburger with a candle in it. This is a nod to Merritt Bakery in Oakland - which creates cakes in that shape - a favorite hangout of director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera. Another badge is a tribute to 2-D animation, showing a perforated paper that is used by 2D animators to line up their drawings correctly. He also has badges for First Aid and Second Aid, which may be a reference to a short on the Up website where Russell struggles to apply bandages to Carl. Yet another badge depicts a multicolored pinwheel - the "hang" icon of Apple's Mac OS X operating system. Several of the badges are shown in the credits. An additional tribute to Apple and Steve Jobs (former CEO of Pixar) shows Russell trying to teach Carl how to use a computer. The font used for the numbers on Carl's alarm clock is the "Chicago" font, one of the first fonts designed for the Macintosh.
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When Carl is interrupted by Russell knocking at the door, he is watching a home shopping channel. This particular program has become a well-known blooper video of a pitchman describing a picture of a horse, except the picture is of a moth.
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Carl never speaks directly to Ellie throughout the movie. In the early scenes where they first meet, Ellie does all the talking.
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The first Pixar film in 3D.
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One of the construction machines reads L 415-72, which is art director Lou Romano's birthday.
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In the famous married-life montage, Ellie is seen painting's the baby's room. What she's painting is a scene from Partly Cloudy (2009), a Pixar short that was shown before this film in several theaters.
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The second animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. The first was Beauty and the Beast (1991). However, it is the first Disney/Pixar film to do so.
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The rifle that Charles Muntz uses is an 1874 Sharps, a very popular model with buffalo hunters of the American Wild West, and the procedure he uses to load, aim, and fire the weapon is accurate. (His use of shot-shells in a long-range rifle, however, is questionable at best.)
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Preceded by the short Partly Cloudy (2009) in some theaters.
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At the end of the film Carl and Russell are sitting on the curb counting red and blue cars. Dug calls one as "gray" which is correct since dogs cannot see color.
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During pre-production of the film, director Pete Docter looked up to Disney veteran animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and Joe Grant for inspiration. Docter stated that the film reflects the friendship he shared with these three talented animators before their deaths, as well as his desire to learn what they went through during their years working for Walt Disney.
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Nurse AJ is the first ever Pixar character with a mullet.
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It takes approximately 9 seconds for a skilled worker to fill and tie off a helium balloon. It would take just over 12.5 million balloons to lift a standard 1600 sq. ft house off the ground. Therefore, to inflate the necessary number of balloons for Carl to complete his task would take roughly 3.5 years, assuming he worked constantly and did not stop to eat or rest.
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One of Carl's brochures for Paradise Falls has an image based on the Sunny Miami figurine from Knick Knack (1989).
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The second Pixar film whose main character is a senior citizen. The first film was Geri's Game (1997), which won Best Animated Short in 1997.
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The only Best Picture nominee to have just two letters in the title. The record for shortest Best Picture nominee title belongs to the film Z (1969), a 1969 nominee.
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Carl's summons notice has the number 94070 - the Zip code of San Carlos, where producer Bradford Lewis was once the mayor.
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On the DVD cover and in commercials, the dogs appear to be flying Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk fighter planes. The U.S. Navy airships Akron (ZRS-4) and Macon (ZRS-5), built and flown in the early 1930s, were actually designed to carry and launch these fighters, using an elaborate "trapeze" to launch and retrieve the planes in mid-flight. Although the system worked well, both airships were lost at sea in severe storms; the Akron in 1933 off the New Jersey coast, and the Macon two years later off Big Sur, California. The Navy then abandoned the technology, so it was never used in actual combat operations.
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The round red lamps on the dogs' leads, through which they talk, may be a reference to HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
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In the credits, Carl can be seen taking Russell to see Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) . Disney would eventually buy the Star wars franchise.
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Co-Director Bob Peterson based Dug's voice on how he'd tend to speak to his own dogs.
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The first Pixar film since Finding Nemo (2003) to be presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
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The infomercial Carl watches on TV is a real infomercial. The ad was promoting a camera, but the advertiser accidentally mistook a picture of a butterfly as a picture of a horse.
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Note how Carl's face and indeed body are very square in design. This is to emphasize how boxed in he was in life and in his home.
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On the official movie website, there is a video clip titled "Ditch 'Em". The same scene in the film has music playing, while the clip on the site has only voices and sound effects.
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Some people believe Carl traveling with the balloons is actually his journey to the afterlife.
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The first animated film to win Best Original Score since Pocahontas (1995).
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The exotic bird Russel names 'Kevin' is named after Kevin Spacey who voiced Hopper in A Bug's Life (1998).
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Gamma is voiced by Jerome Ranft, who is the brother of the late Joe Ranft, who happened to voice a number of Pixar characters prior to his death in 2005 during the production of Cars (2006). Additionally Joe was also rumored to voice Gamma.
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The word "up" is spoken only eleven times throughout the film.
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Christopher Plummer's third animated film, after An American Tail (1986) and Rock-A-Doodle (1991). In addition to being his first animated film that's computer animated, not made by Universal Pictures, and to be rated PG.
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The first Pixar film with the Luxo Jr. ball since The Incredibles (2004). Although, in The Incredibles (2004), it only appears in the short film, Jack Jack Attack, and it appears in an Alternate Opening of The Incredibles (2004). Up is on the other hand the first movie with the Pixar ball since Finding Nemo (2003).
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The first Pixar film to not win the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films. Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), and WALL·E (2008) all won, but this lost to the animated sci-fi film Monsters vs. Aliens (2009). This is also the first film to lose the award to a film that wasn't nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
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As of August 2014, this is Pixar's shortest movie title.
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This is Pete Docter's only Pixar film to use the original Disney and Pixar production logos. Monsters, Inc. (2001) and Inside Out (2015) have both inserted their own music for the production logo. It is also the only one to not have any characters voiced by Frank Oz.
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The second Pixar film to be rated PG by the MPAA, after The Incredibles (2004).
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Edward Asner and Christopher Plummer (Charles) are less than a month apart in age. Asner was born November 15, 1929 and Plummer was born December 13, 1929.
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In the version for France and French Canada, the voice of Carl Fredricksen is played by Charles Aznavour.
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Russell's appearance was based on Korean-American Pixar employee Peter Sohn, who was a storyboard artist on the film. The employees at Pixar draw each other during meetings for fun, and a cartoon of Sohn was used as the model for Russell. Sohn also voiced Russell in the video short George and A.J. (2009).
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Pixar Animation Studios' 10th film.
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Pixar's 10th feature film.
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The music from the montage that opens the film was featured in a 2016 commercial for Save the Food.com.
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The last original full-length feature film Pixar film of the 2000s.
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This is the First Pixar Movie since Finding Nemo (2003) to release in May, as well as the first since The Incredibles (2004) to not be released in June.
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As of 2018 this is the only film that Pete Docter worked on or directed where he's not simply credited in the Additional Voices for the voice work that he'd done.
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This is the third Pixar film to be composed by Michael Giacchino, after The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007) as well as the first one not to be directed by Brad Bird.
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There are several interesting parallels between the villain Charles Muntz, and Charles A. Lindbergh. Both are named Charles, both were lauded adventurers who became persona non grata, disappearing from public sight after being publicly ridiculed, and both were aviators who captained airships named "The Spirit of _________."
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Disney's third computer-animated film to release in May after Dinosaur (2000) and Finding Nemo (2003).
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Disney's fifth computer-animated film to release during the spring season after Dinosaur (2000), Finding Nemo (2003), The Wild (2006), and Meet the Robinsons (2007).
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One of two PG-rated Pixar films, alongside Inside Out (2015), to feature John Cygan. He was rumored to appear in Incredibles 2 (2018) but he died of cancer in 2017.
The last Pixar film worked on by Lou Romano before he'd move on to work for Laika from 2009 to 2016 and later Sony Animation.
The third animated film where characters voiced by studio members are listed during the casting call of main cast members outside the credits, which applies to co-director Bob Peterson as Dug and Alpha (a tritagonist and a secondary antagonist), director Pete Docter as Kevin (a tetartagonist), and Jerome Ranft as Gamma (a tertiary antagonist alongside Beta). The previous two like this had been Open Season (2006) with Cody Cameron as Mr Weenie (a tritagonist) and Ratatouille (2007) with Lou Romano as Alfredo Linguini (a deuteragonist), the former of which had also a dog character voiced by such and had experienced voice actor Danny Mann credited outside the additional voices. It's also the last one like this released in the 2000s and the last like this to not be a follow-up film until Wonder Park (2019) released 10 years later.
Pete Docter's only directorial effort to focus on a human character. Monsters, Inc. (2001) focused on monsters while Inside Out (2015) focused on emotions.
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Pixar's fourth film where the director or a co-director has a major role, not being simply listed in the additional voices, with Pete Docter as Kevin and Bob Peterson as Dug and Alpha. The other three had been Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), and Cars (2006).
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Pixar's second film where studio members are mentioned during the casting call of the main cast members outside the credits, which applies to Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, and Jerome Ranft, the voices of Dug, Alpha, Kevin, and Gamma respectively. The first one like this had been Ratatouille (2007) with Lou Romano.
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The second animated film film where a studio member is mentioned during the casting call of main cast members outside the credits to be the winner of the academy award for best animated feature after Ratatouille (2007), which is also from Pixar.
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The ninth animated film to be the winner of the academy award for best animated feature after Shrek (2001), Spirited Away (2001) (with the english dub release being 2002), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), Happy Feet (2006), Ratatouille (2007), and Wall-E (2008).
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When Russell goes to rescue Kevin, he catches up with the airship, the Spirit of Adventure. The shot of Russell, from the inside cabin, shows some of the dogs playing cards (using Milk Bones as their chips). This is a nod to the iconic, famous painting: Dogs Playing Poker.
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Before the film's worldwide release date, Pixar granted a wish from 10-year-old Colby Curtin to see the film before she died. Colby had been diagnosed with cancer and was too sick to go to a theater. A Pixar employee flew to the Curtins' house with a DVD of the finished film and screened it for her and her family. Curtin died seven hours later at 9:20 pm, shortly after seeing the film.
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When the dogs start attacking Russell with airplanes at the end, this aerial fight literally becomes a 'dogfight'. Also, the dogs refer to each other with "Grey leader", "Grey One", "Grey Two", etc. This is a nod to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) (where pilots referred to each other with Red Leader, Red One, etc.), and it also jokingly refers to the myth that dogs cannot see colors, only black, white and shades of gray. Also when Russell distracts the dogs and their planes start to scramble, their formation breaks just like Darth Vader's squadron when they were attacked by Han Solo in the Death Star. Lastly, when the dogs start shooting, their guns sound like the blasts from an X-Wing fighter.
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Muntz is the sixth animated Disney villain to fall to his death (following the Wicked Queen [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)], Ratigan [The Great Mouse Detective (1986)], McLeach [The Rescuers Down Under (1990)], Gaston [Beauty and the Beast (1991)], and Frollo [The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)]). He is the first Pixar villain to do so. It's also noteworthy that Lucifer the cat [Cinderella (1950)] fell to his apparent death but was brought back in the direct-to-video sequel, Malificent [Sleeping Beauty (1959)] falls after being mortally wounded with a sword, and Clayton [Tarzan (1999)] falls after fighting Tarzan, but actually dies by being hanged by vines.
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WILHELM SCREAM: As the dogs fall off the cliff into the river below while chasing Carl, Russell, Kevin, and Dug.
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All of the dogs except for Dug are named after letters of the Greek alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc) although this could relate to rankings in a dog pack, where the lead male is known as the Alpha, then Beta and so on. This is supported by the fact that when Dug puts Alpha in the Cone of Shame, all the other dogs begin referring to Dug as Alpha. The voices of both Dug and Alpha are performed by the same actor, Bob Peterson. The three main dog characters, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, as well as being named for the Ancient Greek alphabet, also reference three classes of workers in Aldous Huxley's novel 'Brave New World'. It is also worth noting that Muntz' "chef" is a dog named Epsilon, another class of worker from 'Brave New World', and that the third dog piloting the small planes alongside Beta and Gamma is named Omega (whose name is actually never used anywhere in the film itself, being only used in the Credits, voiced by Josh Cooley).
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Inside the newly-updated photo album, one of the pictures of the couple is of them in a car, looking over their shoulders (Carl in the driver's seat). The pose they are in, as well as the car is a recreation of a famous ghost photo. In the picture, the man was posing for his brand new car, and in the passenger seat was the ghostly image of his mother.
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Carl and Russell's hometown at the end is Oakland, California. Oakland landmarks shown include the Fox Oakland Theatre (showing Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)) and the iconic Fenton's Creamery. Fenton's is close to Pixar's headquarters in Emeryville, CA and frequented by its employees. Fenton's did not have to pay to have it in there; Disney and Pixar put it in the film for free.
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Many possible endings were proposed for Charles Muntz. At first, the animators considered redeeming him by having him iron out his differences with Carl after their fight on the zeppelin. However, this ending was deemed too dull, as it would amount to both men simply standing and talking for a length of time. In another scenario, Muntz's obsession with catching Kevin took him inside the dreaded labyrinth against his own recommendation, where he would eventually get lost and die (much like Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining (1980)). As the animators wanted to keep the climax situated in the air, they considered having Muntz lured into Carl's house by Kevin and then dying as the house fell off the zeppelin with him still inside. However, they did not want to associate the house, which symbolized Ellie, with a violent death. Another potential ending had Muntz getting tangled into some balloons and getting lifted away rather than falling. But animators felt this was too ambiguous and did not give proper closure to the character. In the end, the directors decided that this was Carl's story, and therefore Muntz's ending was to be kept simple.
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When Russell flies past the airship using his balloons and the leaf-blower, we briefly see several of Charles Muntz's dogs playing poker at a card table. This is a tribute to the famous "Dogs Playing Poker" series of paintings by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.
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In the closing credits, many of the photos have the same theme as the title of the corresponding crew member, i.e. Music By shows Carl playing water glasses and Russell playing a trumpet, Story Supervisor shows Carl telling a story around the campfire, Film Editor shows Carl and Russell in front of a movie theater showing Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Production Designer shows Dug and Carl designing pictures on the sidewalk, Technical Director shows Carl dangling a computer mouse, Production Manager shows many puppies had been produced, Supervising Animator shows Dug in three stop frames of animation, Photography, Camera, and Lighting show photo booth photos of Carl and Russell, Shading Art Director shows them doing shadow puppets, and so on.
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According to Pete Docter, Carl Fredricksen and Charles Muntz were designed to be mirrors of each other, right down to their names (Carl is a Germanic form of Charles). Both men have suffered a great personal loss (for Carl his wife Ellie and for Muntz his good name and reputation) and both are obsessed with an object from their past (the house for Carl and Kevin for Muntz). The difference between the two men is that over the years, Muntz's obsession has made him bitter, paranoid to an extreme, and willing to resort to violence to get what he wants. In other words, Muntz represents what Carl was likely to become had he not met Russell and Dug and learned to let go of his past.
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A subplot involving Carl keeping one of Kevin's eggs (which could reverse the aging process) from Charles Muntz was conceived in the early stages of production, but never scripted, due to it being (in director Pete Docter's words) "too bizarre".
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The ancient sword Muntz holds against Carl is a Claymore, just like the one William Wallace famously owned.
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The third Pixar film to show blood, shown briefly when Carl wacks one of the Construction Workers supposedly damaging his Mailbox with his Cane on the head. The first two are: Finding Nemo (2003) and The Incredibles (2004), not counting A Bug's Life (1998) where it's only a Small Sample/Not shown from someone getting hurt.
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The victory music that plays in UP when Doug outwits Alpha and puts the cone of shame on him sounds like the victory music in Finding Nemo (2003) when Nigel outwits the seagulls and makes them get their beaks stuck in the sail of a yacht.
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The "Shady Oaks Retirement Village" seen in the leaflet, is likely to be an in-joke reference to the Touchstone Television series "The Golden Girls", another Walt Disney Company title dealing with older people. Dorothy and her mother Sophia always talked about the dubious retirement home called "Shady Pines".
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Carl becomes a grumpy man after his wife dies, only to return to his cheerful self again near the end of the film. Christopher Plummer, who voices Muntz, played a similar character, Captain Georg Von Trapp, in The Sound of Music (1965) . Captain Von Trapp is cold and grouchy after the death of his first wife, but begins to warm after hearing his children sing together.
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Has some story similarity to the film *batteries not included (1987), including a property due for demolition, elderly people and the property eventually being sandwiched between skyscrapers. "*batteries not included" was co written by Brad Bird one of Pixar's most successful writer/directors.
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The seemingly abandoned house where Carl and Ellie first meet as children is the very same home where they settle into for their married life, and that Carl later takes to Paradise Falls.
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This a rare instance of a Disney/Pixar film showing graphic violence when Carl whacks a construction worker with his cane and Muntz falls to his death.
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This is the second Pixar film where a protagonist loses a love interest, The first being Finding Nemo (2003) where Marlin loses Coral.
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