I took Lula to see ‘Up‘ yesterday. It’s the new Pixar / Disney movie. It’s about an old man who spends his whole life dreaming of going to a place called Paradise Falls with his wife. Oooh, as I write that I realise it sounds like I took Lula to watch some porn. This was Disney – defintely no porn. Paradise Falls was a place not a feeling. Anyway, they dreamt about it but never did it because life got in the way (see where I’m going with this?). The wife died (lula spent the next two hours announcing at regular intervals ‘But mummy WHY did his mother die?’ – ‘It wasn’t his mother, it was his wife and she died because she got old shhhhh’ – ‘But WHY did his mother die?’). The old guy decided that he would fulfil their lifelong dream and go. Only, when he got there, after attaching some balloons to his house, meeting a talking dog and rescuing an emu like bird called Kevin from the clutches of a bad man who looked like John Lithgow, he found the scrap book his wife had made when they were kids and had dreamt of visiting Paradise Falls. She’d filled it with other pictures of their life together. You see, she’d been happy with the life they’d had.
I felt like sicking up my popcorn. Was Disney telling me that sometimes we spend our lives dreaming of another place and actually we forget to have the adventure that is sitting on our doorstep? But then that can’t be right, because this is the same people who market the Magic Kingdom at us. If that was the message, we’d all stay home and make do with cbeebies and not go see Mickey in Florida. I didn’t expect to be so philosophically challenged by a U rated film. John is impressed with my analysis I can tell, but after Lula’s garbled interpretation of the film, ‘there was a balloon and a man and his mother died.’ I don’t think he wishes he came with us.
At the end of the film, the old guy lets go of his house, which he’s clung onto, quite literally, the whole way through. He realises that it’s all about people at the end of the day. He nicks the airship belonging to John Lithgow (called the spirit of adventure) and that becomes his travelling home and he starts hanging out with a boyscout (hmmmm). So there’s a contradiction. Possibly, the sufi-like wisdom of the people at Pixar is translatable as ‘you’re never too old to have an adventure and that ultimately, home is where the heart is’. Which is to say, where the people you love are (in his case his dog and the boy scout). We don’t have a dog. Just a cat (which reminds me anyone want a cat?). We do have people we love though. We don’t mind so much about leaving the house behind. It’s just things as John reminds me when I start gazing longingly at bits of furniture and my shoes. But people, leaving them behind, that’s going to be hard.