Photo by Pixar
Let me first start off and say that if you have not watched the movie UP and you are planning on watching it soon, then you want to stop reading this post (this is a spoiler alert).
I don’t know about you but when I first saw the commercials for the movie, I was a bit skeptical. How can a movie about an old man who flies around in a house that is tied up with helium-filled balloons even be a movie worth watching? But after hearing a lot of good things about the movie, our family decided to go watch it – in 3D.
There were so many good lessons and biblical principles in the movie that it is hard to just narrow it down to just one or two. But there were two lessons in the movie that made me think a lot of my own life, as well as the human heart.
It was incredible how Pixar was able to sum up a person’s life just within the first 20 minutes of the movie. Carl Fredericksen, the main character in the movie, finally arrives at Paradise Falls and fulfills the lifelong dream of his wife, Ellie. As Carl sits in the chair and pulls out Ellie’s scrapbook called, “My Adventure Book,” he realizes for the first time that the greatest adventure for her was being together with him. Ellie had filled the scrapbook with photos of memorable moments together throughout their marriage.
It was at this moment that Carl realizes that he has been living for a “dream” but all the while his wife was living the dream with him. This realization allows him to find inspiration for living life with a greater purpose. So often, we always live for that “one day” which causes us to miss out on life and fail to enjoy and live passionately for today.
The second lesson that stuck out for me was discovered in the young boy name Russell (side note: it was good that they had an Asian character as one of the main characters). We notice the character development of Russell as we begin to find out about his absentee father. It is not clear if his parents are divorced or not but all we know is that he is not involved in Russell’s life.
We quickly discover that Russell’s eager desire to earn the last merit badge, as part of the Wildlife Explorer Club was to please his father and somehow earn his approval. It is amazing how many people in this world so desperately long to be approved by their fathers. This was poignantly highlighted when they were giving out the badges and all the other boys had their fathers present, while Russell was alone. It is also important to note that all the other boys did not have as many badges as Russell. Somehow Russell thought that by receiving all the badges that a Wildlife Explorer can achieve that his father would love him more and come to the ceremony.
But this did not happen.
Instead, when the badge was about to be given to Russell, Carl joins him on stage, as a surrogate father. Then instead of the “assisting the elderly” badge of honor, Carl gives Russell the pin that was given to him by his late wife, Ellie.
This was a glimpse of the Gospel message.