Seven Valuable Lessons from the Pixar Movie – Up

“Seven Valuable Lessons from the Pixar Movie – Up” written by Guest Contributor.

A cardio theater at a gym is a big dark room with treadmills and ellipticals lined up in front of a movie screen so you can watch a movie while the minutes tick by.

It’s a great distraction for me while I run on the treadmill and really one of the only times I watch movies.

I was happy to see the adorable 3D animated movie “Up” by Pixar playing yesterday.

The Pixar Movie UP

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, the plot (Spoiler alert) is about an elderly man named Carl who lost his wife of many years, Ellie.

Backstory for “Up”

“Carl and Ellie had both, from a young age, idolized the explorer Charles Muntz and always had this dream of moving to Paradise Falls in South America, but they never seem to be able to make it happen.

Ellie ends up dying of old age.

Carl still lives in the house they shared together, but when he accidentally injures a construction worker over damage to his mailbox, a court orders him to move to a retirement home.

Carl then comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie to move to Paradise Falls.

Moving to Paradise Falls

He turns his house into a makeshift airship using thousands of helium balloons. (Pixar has calculated it would take 26.5 million balloons to really actually lift a house)

Russell, a young boy scout (Wilderness Explorer), becomes an accidental passenger in his effort to earn his final merit badge for assisting the elderly.

After some adventures, the flying house finally lands near a ravine close to Paradise Falls.

Carl and Russell harness themselves to the still-buoyant house and begin to walk it around the ravine, hoping to reach the falls before all of the balloons deflate.

Making Friends Along the Way

They find a tall, colorful bird (whom Russell names “Kevin”) trying to reach her chicks, followed by a dog named Dug, who wears a special collar that allows him to speak.

Carl and Russell encounter a pack of dogs led by Alpha and are taken to Dug’s master, who turns out to be an elderly Charles Muntz.

Muntz invites Carl and Russell aboard his dirigible, the Spirit of Adventure, where he explains that he has spent years since his disgrace searching Paradise Falls for the giant bird.

When Russell notes the bird’s similarity to Kevin, Muntz then becomes hostile, mistakenly believing them to have been attempting to steal the bird, prompting the pair to flee with Kevin and Dug.

Muntz catches up with them and starts a fire beneath Carl’s house, forcing the old man to choose between saving it or Kevin. Carl rushes to put out the fire, allowing Muntz to take the bird. He and Russell eventually reach the falls.

The Rescue

Settling into his home, Carl looks through Ellie’s childhood scrapbook and finds photos of their happy marriage added into it, along with a note from Ellie thanking him for the “adventure” and encouraging him to go have a new one.

Reinvigorated, he goes to find Russell, only to see him sailing off on some balloons to save Kevin. Carl empties the house of furniture and possessions, lightening it, and pursues him.

Russell is captured by Muntz, but Carl manages to board the dirigible in flight and free both Russell and Kevin.

Muntz pursues them around the airship, finally cornering Dug, Kevin, and Russell inside Carl’s tethered house. Carl lures Kevin out through a window and back onto the airship with Dug and Russell clinging to her back, just as Muntz is about to close in. Muntz leaps after them, only to snag his foot on some balloon lines and fall to his death. The house then descends out of sight through the clouds.

The Happy Ending

Carl and Russell reunite Kevin with her chicks, then fly the dirigible back to the city.

Carl presents Russell with his final badge: a grape soda cap that Ellie gave to Carl when they first met and made their promise.

The two then enjoy some ice cream together. Meanwhile, Carl’s house is shown to have landed on the cliff beside Paradise Falls, as promised.”

It’s a cute story; both funny and touching.

The Lessons from the Pixar Movie Up

I’ve seen the movie several times and didn’t realize, like so many children’s stories, there is so much we can learn.

Here are just a few:

#1 Don’t ever give up on your dreams.

It’s never ever too late.

Chef Julia Childs didn’t start her long-running TV show until she was 51.

One of the most important acts in Gandhi’s quest for Indian independence occurred in 1930, when he was 61

Anna Mary Robertson Moses was better known to the world as Grandma Moses, didn’t begin to paint until the age of 76,

So if you find yourself thinking I’m too old now or I’m not good enough or smart enough to go after my dreams just think of all of the thousands of people that didn’t let age stop them from accomplishing their dreams.

Don’t deny the world another Julia Childs or Gandhi. You have a unique talent and gift that the world is waiting for. All it takes is a belief and the willingness to take action. You will be guided and assisted.

“Adventure is out there!” — Charles Mutz

#2 Your guides and assistants might not look like much in the beginning. They might even look pretty weird like “Kevin” the colorful bird. Don’t be fooled by appearances when it comes to receiving help and guidance. In the movie, the elderly Carl didn’t see the little boy scout Russell as a way to help him achieve his dream, but he ended up being a very necessary piece of the puzzle.

Don’t judge any situation or person in your life. It just might be exactly what you need to accomplish your goals. In this video Million dollar earner talks about putting your ego aside and modeling successful people.

#3 Reaching your goal might be even better than you expected. Russell’s goal was to get a merit badge and he ended up getting something even more precious when Carl presented him with his prized possession, the bottle cap from Ellie.

Carl’s goal was to live at Paradise Falls, but he ended up with something even better, adventure, lifelong lesson and friendships.

#4 Your heroes might disappoint you. We all have our Charles Muntz, That person we worship as being and having what we want. But the truth is they are human and like all humans, they are going to make mistakes. You can still admire and emulate that person for the specific trait that they had while recognizing that they aren’t perfect.

Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken. It’s ok to have people to look up to, but we cannot make our focus about being them! Model don’t copy.

#5 You might have to make tough choices. For ideas on how to overcome tough choices, check out my blog post: 30 Tips on How to Make Tough Decisions.

#6 Sometimes we need to lighten our load. Get rid of the things and thoughts and maybe even people who no longer serve you. You will feel a lot lighter.

#7 Everything is better with ice cream, period. 

Many of our favorite animated stories not only provide the best entertainment, but have answers to the most perplexing life issues. If only we had known…

What is your most inspirational children’s story?


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