Pixar movies are known for their heart, but it is Up that includes the studio's most shocking moment. Ever since Pixar revolutionized the animated movie business in 1995 with Toy Story, they've been viewed as the best in that space. Imaginative premises, thoughtful stories, and lovable characters helped make some of Pixar's earliest films instant classics. These same goals have also seen the studio continue to be successful in recent years.
One of the best examples of this is Up, an original movie that came right before the studio started to rely more on sequels than it had before. Directed by Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy, Up is an adventure film that follows an older man Carl Fredericksen and a young boy scout Russell as they travel to South America using Carl's floating house as transportation. The sweet movie is filled with comedy and heart, but it is Up's now-famous opening sequence that has proven to be Pixar's most shocking moment yet.
At the beginning of Up, viewers are introduced to Carl as a kid and see him find a friend in Ellie. The two bonded over their shared love of explorer Charles F. Muntz and used an abandoned house as their hang out spot. Up montages through the lives of Carl and Ellie as they fell in love, got married, and began to restore the house as their own. But, that is when the movie takes a sharp turn and shocks audiences with a few heartbreaking moments. We'll highlight why it is so shocking below, but check out the latest Screen Rant video for more shocking moments from Pixar movies.
After the good times between Carl and Ellie, Up showed the couple had a miscarriage and couldn't have children. They tried to rebound by saving up money to visit their dream location, Paradise Falls in South America. However, they repeatedly had to use that money to pay for other things. This lasts through their elderly years, and just before they are about to go, Ellie becomes ill. Up's opening sequence delivers one final blow to audiences by revealing that she passed away.
It isn't uncommon for Pixar movies to have some sad or surprising moments, but the level to which Up goes to right from the get-go is something that caught audiences off guard at the time. Even for people who have seen the opening before, the warmness of the beginning can still make the tragedy just as effective on repeat viewings. The story points here are even more surprising when we remember Pixar's brand is built around movies for the whole family to enjoy. Starting one of their films in this style certainly isn't the feel-good quality they often bring. But, even though Up's opening is shocking and sad, it had to be included and makes the movie better for doing so.
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