This week’s movie was suggested by ekpreston, a fellow writer and blogger in Nevada. Check out her blog At the Foot of the Sierras!

Additionally, I have decided to reformat my point-by-point approach which I’ve traditionally followed in past articles. While all the ideas behind these points will be recognized, the article will be written in a slightly less-structured style.

Any Pixar movie is a good movie to love. Many of them have a unique style geared to warm the viewer’s heart and to teach a lesson on life. Up is no exception here; while it has its whimsical and hilarious moments, there is a touching story to be appreciated by all ages…and will manage to make everyone cry within the first twelve minutes. So grab a balloon and let’s start in on this cupcake!

Beginning with the “frosting” of the movie, as per the usual…Up keeps to Pixar’s standard for high-quality CGI, and is further improved by an amazing soundtrack. Not to mention how easily this plot relates to all ages–it’s family-friendly humor and touching construction warms the hearts of all ages. Also, how many good movies star an old man (aside from A Christmas Carol)? How many of those movies are just as adventurous as Up is? You’d be hard-pressed for answers (unless you try to pass off Captain America as being old). Up‘s story perfectly incorporates the old soul of Carl Fredricksen into the action-packed journey he has taken on.

One might think from the beginning of this film that the main theme has been quite plainly stated: “Adventure is out there!” However, this is only the premise to something even more impactful. We see Carl set off on an adventure with incredible happenings and unforgettable companionship, filled with happiness and sadness–and then he floats away in his house. Carl thought that the journey of his life was to live at Paradise Falls with Ellie, and so he sets off to complete the adventure. But he finds that his whole life has been an adventure with Ellie. “Thanks for the adventure–now go have a new one!” is the final message he finds from Ellie. Adventure isn’t always composed of epic quests, bizarre lands, and riveting conflict–the best adventures are the day-to-day happenings with loved ones. Adventure can even seem a bit mundane on the outside. Russell observes that it’s sometimes the boring stuff that is remembered the most–the times where the adventure becomes so subtle in daily life, it’s hard to tell that it’s even happening. But Carl thinks that Paradise Falls is the goal of his adventure, so much so that he undertakes drastic measures to complete it. He becomes so obsessed with his task, he doesn’t see the new adventure arising around him–a life without Ellie, but fulfilled with new friends and more “boring stuff.” He had to learn that, while his old adventure was invaluable, he would have to set it aside and pursue a new life.

In Up, the balloon is the symbol of adventure. A balloon is light and free and fills one with happiness, just as an adventure should. Young Carl carries a balloon with him, and young Ellie pretends the house is her balloon; both children are seeking to emulate Charles Muntz’s dirigible The Spirit of Adventure. Carl becomes a balloon salesman in his adult years, both maintaining his current adventure and preparing him for his journey to Paradise Falls. And he has to give up his old adventure–his balloons and his house, the same house Ellie used as a balloon–in order to start a new adventure in Muntz’s dirigible.

Russell, too, comes with some special note in this section. It’s his goal to fill his sash full of Wilderness Explorer badges in order to become someone who is proficient with both exploration and adventure. But these badges don’t help him in any adventure. He can barely climb a dangling hose; he can’t build a tent; he has very little stamina; he can’t do anything right. It turns out that he doesn’t need someone to give him a badge; he needs someone to give him a badge. Life isn’t about badges (or houses or seeking adventure), it’s about having someone there for you (and Carl gives Russell the greatest badge ever).

Up is a film for everyone. It’s got a story that touches hearts, clean humor for the whole family, relatable characters, quality art, and themes that are worth remembering throughout life. This is definitely one cupcake that has a great balance of frosting and cake worth enjoying over and over again.

The movie suggestion is not the only contribution ekpreston made this week–she also handmade these cupcakes! I’m very thankful to her for her effort and creativity put into these cupcakes. Check out more of her amazing cupcakes here!


Do you have a movie, book, or play you’d like me to review? Give a hoot in the comments or Tweet me @JamesZemke and let me know!


About James Zemke

James Zemke, originally from Wisconsin, spent most of his childhood in Japan. He attended Northland International University, graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in English, and is now attending Bob Jones University, pursuing his Master of Arts in English. He enjoys a good story (especially Lord of the Rings), making good friends, and writing.
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3 Responses to Up

  1. Pingback: Catching Up: Blogs that NEED to be Read | At the Foot of the Sierras

  2. ekpreston says:

    Thank you very much for the opportunity to make those cupcakes. They were quite fun to create . . . and to eat. 🙂 I think that your analysis of Up is spot on, and I enjoyed your writing. One of my favorite scenes (if not my favorite) in the movie was when Carl gave Russell the “Ellie Badge.” Man, that hits you right in the feels. Thank you again for the baking opportunity, and great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Zemke says:

      Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! And I love the Ellie Badge scene too. (Couldn’t find room in the article to say this, but it perfectly reflects how Ellie gives Carl his pin at the start of the movie!)

      Liked by 1 person

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