A Big Thumbs Up for the Movie UP

Yesterday I took my girls to the new, Disney pixar movie UP.  Let me say up front (pun intended) that I loved it.  It ranks right up (oops, did it again) there with Finding Nemo as my favorite pixar movie to date.  I am amazed at the stories these people from Pixar write and put on the big screen.  It truly is an experience for the whole family to enjoy and get something out of.  In other words, it's the first must-see movie of the summer!

The basic storyline is about "a 78 year old balloon salesman named Carl Frederickson who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America.  But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8 year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell" (read more @ UP: The Official Website).

Instead of giving away the rest of the story, here are 4 reasons why you should go and see UP:

1)  UP reminds us that the real adventure of life is right in front of us

Instead of living a life of regret where we look back and feel paralyzed by our past, we need to look up and look out at the people God has placed in our path today.  So often I forget that the real adventure is not in some make-believe, grass is greener on the other side kind of place, but right here in the context of where God has me now.  As Eugene Peterson once said, "Christianity is always lived on location."  UP helped me to see that.

2)  UP uplifts marriage in a big way

Good ole' Carl loved his wife so much that even after she died he still longed to please her by pursuing after her dreams.  Yet at the end of the movie, as he flips through the pages of his life, Carl sees that the greatest adventure of all was not in reaching some far off dream, but rather in walking the journey of life together with his wife.  This was a sweet reminder for me.

3)  UP inspires us to rise above our little kingdoms and live for God's bigger kingdom

Like Carl, we can often get wrapped up with with our own little lives and start to feel sorry for ourselves.  Instead of looking up at the world around us we look inward and stay in the security of our self-made, self-protected lives.  But we were made for something much bigger than ourselves.  We were made for God and we were made for others.  Again, Carl provides a great example for us.  Even though his wife had passed away, he had reason to live because he had someone to love -- little 8 year old Russel and all his youthful energy!  But that's kingdom living--that's what it looks like to let go of yourself and love others, no matter who they are.

4)  UP lifts your spirits up and makes you laugh and cry

If you let yourself be a kid as you watch this movie, you will laugh out loud!  No kidding.  The dogs alone will have you rolling.  With their collars that translate their thoughts into words, you will see into the mind of dogs in a way you always imagined but never actually heard aloud.  It is hilarious!  On top of that, the main "dog" in the story is named Doug (my name).  My girls thought that was pretty funny.  And I can't forget Russel, the 8 year old Wilderness Explorer, who is pegged perfectly as your typical boy at this age.  In one scene he's complaining about his legs hurting because he has to walk so far and then the next minute he's running because he finds something he wants.  So true of my kids.  Finally, UP will make you tear up as well.  As the great Walt Disney once said, "For every laugh there should be a tear."  And UP is a good illustration of that.  After all, great movies draw you into the story and into the emotions of the characters in them.

**Only one disclaimer ... the movie is rated PG (not G) because of "some peril and action."  If you have kids 5 and under, just be prepared for the intensity of some of the scenes.  But go and see UP ... the whole family will give a big thumbs up, I'm sure.