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(2009), PG [PG*] (1hr 28min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
December 27, 2009
December 31, 2009

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG [PG*] ... not a slight or meaningless issue

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Distribution (US): Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Director(s): Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Producer(s): John Lasseter, Denise Ream, Jonas Rivera, Andrew Stanton
Story by: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Thomas McCarthy
Screenplay by: Bob Peterson, Pete Docter
Music: Michael Giacchino
Film Editing: Kevin Nolting
Casting: Natalie Lyon, Kevin Reher
Production Design: Ricky Nierva
Art Direction: Ralph Eggleston, Bryn Imagire, Harley Jessup, Daniel Lopez Munoz, Don Shank
Viewed on Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment DVD

This analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

With a CAP Final Score of 78 UP truly earned a PG-equivalent final score. That score is one point up from dead-center of the range of scores (68 to 86 out of 100) earned by PG-rated films in the comparative baseline database. But because of the gunfire to kill, the death by fall, the attempted murder repeatedly and many other matters of violence the film earned a R-equivalent score of zero out of 100 in the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. That is the bad news and the reason the film earned a red CAPCon Alert light. The good news is that UP earned a dead-center PG-equivalent score of 77 in Impudence/Hate (I) and strong or perfect G-equivalent scores (87 to 100 out of 100) in Sexual Immorality (S), Drugs./Alcohol (D), Offense to God (O) and Murder/Suicide (M). The CAP thermometers for this film provide this data at-a-glance.

Adventurer Charles F. Muntz (voice of Christopher Plummer) claimed to have found the remains of the Monster of Paradise Falls, a large flightless bird, but the National Explorers Society accused Muntz of fabricating the skeleton of his find and stripped Muntz of his membership. Muntz vowed to return to Paradise Falls and capture a live Monster of Paradise Falls and will not return without it.

Young Carl Frederisksen (voice of Jeremy Leary) sees Muntz as his personal hero and role model. Carl pretends everyday to be Muntz on expeditions. One day Carl meets up with same-aged Ellie (voice of Ellie Docter) who is the "tom" in tomboy. She lures Carl into an abandoned house where she reveals she has the same hopes and aspirations for adventure that Carl has. But she is much more aggressive about her dreams. She is loud. She is pushy. But she is genuine.

Now skip forward to the pair as adults getting married. Together they plan to go on an adventure to Paradise Falls just as they dreamed as children. Just as Muntz did. Carl and Ellie rebuild the abandoned house as their home. Ellie and Carl want children but sadly find they cannot have children.

Carl and Ellie then skimp and save to finance a trip to Paradise falls. Large glass jars become the bank for the trip. As time goes by the pair age and expenses come up that keep draining their Paradise falls funds.

Now, having grown old, ballooneer Carl (now the voice of Ed Asner) regrets never having taken Ellie to Paradise falls and tries to create substitutes. But Ellie's health begins to fail and she dies. Carl becomes bitter and semi-withdrawn from life into mundane routine.

By now the nearby metropolitan city has grown and keeps encroaching on his property. The "fence" around Carl's property is the construction project property line.

Suddenly adolescent wilderness explorer scout Russell (voice of Jordan Nagai) shows up knocking on Carl's door needing someone to be the victim ... er ... subject of his much-needed "help the elderly" merit badge. Russell is tenacious, so much so Carl sends him out on a snipe hunt as the "help the elderly" good deed. Carl claimed the snipe has been gobbling up his Azaleas.

As the attempts of the construction project personnel to procure Carl's property increase -- Carl's property is the only residential property still standing in the way of the project -- a big earth mover knocks Carl's mailbox off its post. As a construction crew member tries to help Carl fix the mailbox Carl looses control and hits the worker with his walker, causing a bloody injury on the head of the worker. Carl is indicted and convicted, ultimately committed to an old folk's home.

Carl is not going to go to any old folk's home. Ellie is in his house and Carl is not about to part with her [memory and knickknacks]. Carl, being a ballooneer, engineers contraptions with thousands of balloons to lift his house off its foundation to float off ... to Paradise Falls.

From there the adventure begins. Carl -- and Russell who was under Carl's house at the time of liftoff -- float off to Paradise Falls where they meet up with Muntz who is not as pleasant as Carl's impression of him. Muntz had lived for years in the Paradise Falls area to find the elusive Monster of Paradise Falls alive and had lost a lot of connection with reality and most of his social skills.

There is much more to the story and plot but this is more detail than I usually involve. It seemed fitting to spend some extra energy on this Summary/Commentary. Now let us get to that which for which so many visit our pages -- nearly 12,000,000 visits since January 2001.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 32 out of 100
The content of the film applicable to this investigation area was the culprit for the lowest investigation area score -- an area score of zero out of 100. The low score was due to several issues of quite harsh and risky violence: children trespassing in an abandoned house; child injury because of the trespassing; pursuit to kill; attempted murder; gunfire to kill; animal attacks and threats of them; a child swinging by rope between skyscrapers and cliffs; hard impact from fall by lead characters; death by a great fall. UP is a key example of the application of many "lesser" issues of violence to get the same feel of fewer but more extreme examples. The matter is not that there were any particularly graphic instances of violence but that there were so many of the "lesser" kind. This concept of loading or weighting the content of a film with many "lesser" assaults on morality and decency to get the feel of a film with more severe content is discussed in our CAP Rule of 1000 publication. Demonstration of violence is "contagious." God warns us of that in more ways than one. Proverbs 16:29 and First Corinthians 15:33 are just two examples. The film content revealed by this investigation area is the reason for the red CAPCon Alert light.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 77 out of 100
The content applicable to this investigation area is responsible for the second lowest score of the six investigation area scores. However innocuous the content might seem, issues such as children taking dares, crude language and tying up a child with rope are also contagious and idea-planting as well as emboldening of wrong-doing. Even in fantasy. For a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly. [Col. 2:8] In one case Carl uttered a rather crude remark involving an impolite term for male anatomy at Russell's activity. [Eph. 5:4]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 92 out of 100
The only sexually immoral content noted was more on the part of the writers than the performers. Young Ellie was heard telling young Carl that she was "going to let [Carl] see something I have never shown..." while they were unsupervised in an abandoned house and her with "naughty" on her voice and on her face. I commend the artists for being able to accurately portray such anticipation on the cartoon face of a young girl. That could not have been easy. Too bad such talents were spent on such a matter. Though this was an implication of intended exhibitionism, suggestion is at times and under the right conditions more powerful than out-n-out display. In addition, Disney has set precedence for suggestive background objects on cover art for their animated features such as a phallus-looking spire on the cover of The Little Mermaid. The same could be said (and I am going to say it) for suggestive artistry in UP. Some stone pillars are meshed together in such a way as to suggest sexual anatomy. I'll not go into any more detail about it.

I know these two issues seem like I am really stretching to find things wrong with the film but after more than 1200 film analyses I need to bite the bullet and point out such matters. It is very difficult for the average moviegoer to see all the little ankle biters that ooze up out of the cinematic sludge. Just because one's "vision" does not always notice such content does not mean the content is not there. One must try to develop the hawk-like perception and lightspeed attention to detail of most kids. Nothing on that larger-than-life screen escapes our youth though it may seem so. And everything to which they are exposed to some degree shapes their outlook and morals.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 96 out of 100
When Carl and Russell met with Muntz in Muntz's (grounded) dirigible airship, Muntz had one of the dogs break out what appeared to be a bottle of wine or champagne which was then poured into two wine glasses. While there was no scene noted of the adults actually drinking the beverage, that an alcoholic beverage was brought into the picture is enough to make an impression on the viewer.

This is not a slight or meaningless issue, folks. While I have been preaching for years the dangers of presenting alcoholic beverages in and as entertainment, the American College of Physicians (ACP) finally issued such a warning in 2002.

The study by the ACP behind their warning revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions.

    The researchers selected R-rated movies for analysis because they assumed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of R-13 proven by this ministry in 2000 with which Harvard University researchers agreed four years later. The bottom line? The focus is that the emboldening influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment is undeniable regardless of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) classification. [Eph. 5:18]

    Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

    Offense to God (O) - 100 out of 100
    God's mane was not abused even once. None that I noted anyway.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    Nor were there any murders or suicides in the entire 88 minutes of the film. There were many attempted murders by animal threat and gunfire but only completed murders and suicides are incorporated into this investigation area. Muntz's death at the end of the show was the result of defensive action, not murder.


    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character(s) of any age, male, female or non-human in the act of demonstrating violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [NIV: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    UP (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • children trespassing an abandoned house
  • child injured by risk taking in abandoned house
  • assault with hand walker with blood
  • storm peril while afloat
  • cliff peril
  • child swinging from rope while afloat
  • intimidation by threat of harm, repeatedly
  • pursuit to kill, long sequences, repeatedly
  • arson to coerce
  • additional risk taking by child
  • attempted murder by sword, long sequence
  • gunfire to intimidate
  • gunfire to kill
  • death by fall from great height

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 77 out of 100
  • child daring another to take risks, repeatedly
  • adolescent girl out after dark alone climbing in adolescent boy's bedroom window
  • imagined torture to an irritating child
  • euphemistic use of term for male anatomical appendage
  • imprisoning child with rope

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 92 out of 100
  • little girl saying to little boy "I am going to let you see something I have never shown ... (implication of intended exhibitionism by writers)
  • suggestion of human sexual anatomy

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 96 out of 100
  • booze, likely champagne, poured and placed on a table in wine glasses

    Offense to God (O) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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