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Hero's Journey: Up

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Axel Ross Damasco

on 9 May 2013

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Transcript of Hero's Journey: Up

By: Axel Ross Damasco Pixar's Up The Transformation When Carl chooses his home over the welfare of Kevin, Russell flies off to rescue his friend. After losing all of his companions, Carl realizes he is alone again. He then decides to leave his belongings behind and attempt to rescue Kevin and Russell. Here the hero faces an emotional abyss by abandoning his things. Carl’s abyss is fueled by the fear of leaving the memory of Ellie behind. This can be further exemplified through Carl’s reaction towards his sinking house after saving Kevin and Russell. As his house is lost beneath the clouds, his facial expressions reveal a sense of sadness, remorse, and loss. In order to leave the abyss, Carl has to learn to let go. As he watches his home leave his sight Carl is symbolically letting go of his past, and more importantly accepting his loss of not only memories, but the company of Ellie as well. Stage 1: The Ordinary World The ordinary world is set up by the beginning storyline of Carl and Ellie. After Ellie dies, Carl is left to live alone in their house. Soon after the death of his beloved, the neighborhood around Carl becomes demolished to build a number of condos. Here, contractors and developers constantly bombard him with offers to buy his land, but he refuses and becomes a recluse. Though there is construction and demolition surrounding him, he is determined to keep living in his normal mundane routine. Stage 2: Call to Adventure After a contractor accidentally bumps into his mail box, Carl reacts on instinct and subconsciously bludgeons him with his cane. Soon realizing the severity of his actions Carl finds himself in court being sued by the contracting company. The court sentences Carl to live out the rest of his life in a retirement home. As he packs his belongings he notices Ellie's adventure book and realizes that he has not fulfilled his promise of traveling to Paradise Falls. The call is further illustrated as Carl flips to a page that has "Stuff I'm Going to Do..." written in his beloved's handwriting. At this point he gains the idea to fly his house to Paradise Falls. Stage 3: Refusal of the Call Stage 4: Meeting with the Mentor Stage 5: Crossing the Threshold Stage 6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies Stage 7: Approach to the Innermost Cave Stage 8: The Ordeal Stage 9: The Reward Stage 10: The Road Back Stage 11: Resurrection Stage 12: Return with the Elixir Before flying off with his house, Carl Fredricksen is confronted by a young Wilderness Explorer named Russel. The child attempts to ask the elderly protagonist if he needs assistance. At this point he dismisses the child and tells him to look for an imaginary pest. Later in the story Russel reappears on Carl's porch. As the film progresses, Russel is shown to teach kindness, compassion, and knowledge all of which Carl's personality lacks. After setting his horizons toward South America, Carl hears a knocking at his door. As he reluctantly goes to answer Carl Finds Russel on his front porch. Befuddled by Russel's presence Carl then attempts to cut off balloons which keep his house afloat in order to return the child to his home. From here, Carl Fredricksen refuses his initial call to adventure due to the welfare of his new and young companion. As Carl starts to cut down balloons, Russel Notices a Cumulonimbus cloud that gravitate the Fredricksen house toward a storm. The duo soon find themselves being thrashed around the house seeking protection and safety. When Russel steers the house away from the storm Carl cuts down more balloons in the hopes of sending Russel home. However, as the house sinks, they soon realize that they are further than expected and become aware that they are in Paradise Falls. From here Carl starts to recognize that he has reached the point of no return. Moreover, the duo has crossed the threshold of their journey. Carl is determined to get his house to the other side of Paradise Falls thus causing him and Russel to trek through the jungle. In their journey they meet a variety of different characters. Two of which eventually become allies to Carl. The first is Kevin, a giant and colorful bird that flees from vicious dogs who attempt to capture Paradise Fall Birds and return them to their owner. The second is Doug, a slow-witted and talkative dog. Both Doug and Kevin help to aid Carl as he is being hunted down by the Alpha dog and Charles Muntz. In addition, these two characters teach Carl patience through their unwanted presence within the journey. This is shown by Carl's unsuccessful attempts to rid himself of Doug and Kevin. Russel also takes on the role of an ally. Tests are also set up to evaluate the allegiance of Kevin and Doug. For example, as Carl and Russel flee Charles Muntz Doug attacks enemy dogs with boulders and Kevin serves as means of transportation and lightens the load carried by Carl and Russel to take them to safety. Although hesitant, Carl benefits from Russel's presence through his newly found compassion for the fatherless child. However, the alligence formed between the four is broken after Kevin was captured due to a break in trust. On the contrast, the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma dogs are seen as enemies. As the dogs attempt to capture Kevin, they end up taking Carl and Russel as prisoner. In addition, Charles Muntz also appears as an antagonist through his ruthless and inhumane methods of attempting to capture birds like Kevin. After finally getting his house to the location he desired, Russel attempts to rescue Kevin alone. Fearing his welfare, Carl goes after him. However, before this can be done Carl has to empty his house of his belongings which appears to be one of the hardest challenges. This is caused by the fear of loosing his late wife whom he has been emotionally attached to even after her death. This illustrates the value instilled in his relationship with his mentor Russel. As he sets out to rescue Russel, Carl embarks on his greatest challenge to save Kevin. Although he fears for his life, the power of friendship becomes greater than safety. Carl eventually rescues Russel from falling out of the Spirit of Adventure and goes back into the blimp to save Kevin. Carl is then forced into combat against Charles Muntz in an attempt to save the giant bird. After a sword-cane fight, an arieal attack, and shotgun blasts Carl succeeds in his mission to save his companions. After finally gaining freedom from Charles Muntz, Carl receives his reward. He is able to protect Kevin from prosecution and allow her to live freely to tend to her children. In addition, Carl also gains friendship from Doug and Russel allowing him to become more open-minded and kind. After setting Kevin free in the wilderness Carl, Russel and Doug are allowed to go back to civilization. Here the friendship made between his allies are more evident and cause Carl to stop his reclusive actions made before the journey. However, Carl is faced with the fact of loosing his house. The house was an expression of the relationship between Carl and Ellie. After loosing his home, Carl experiences a sense of rebirth. In this stage of Resurrection, Carl no longer holds his house as his most prized possession. He now vales the idea of memories compared to that of belongings that symbolized past events such as his and Ellie's chairs which exhibit his and Ellie's relationship. Because of this, Carl is able to let go of the past and create new adventures. Carl also gains a different perspective in life causing him to value the time he has left, allowing him to spent time with friends. When Carl returns home he is a kinder and more compassionate man. This is exemplified through his blossoming relationship with Russel. Carl is now a father figure for Russel. This is shown by his actions of awarding Russel the Ellie Badge as well as taking Russel out for ice cream and counting blue and red cars. These actions would normally be done by Russel's father, but now can be accomplished by the new and improved Carl Fredricksen. The Call The film Up is centered on an elderly man named Carl Fredricksen. Towards the beginning of Up the story of how Carl came to be was initiated through the allegory of him and his wife Ellie. After the death of his beloved wife, Carl finds himself an old and cranky recluse living out his mundane life alone. The “home” of Carl is gravitated towards his rustic yet colorful house which was built by him and his wife. Although Ellie has passed, Carl still talks to her as if she were present. This illustrates the underlying idea that Carl fears the loss of Ellie and pretends to keep things as it was when she was alive. This is further depicted through his reaction to the outside world. As Carl’s mailbox is accidentally displaced by a contractor’s truck, he reacts viciously and attacks the individual with his cane. This emphasizes the fact that Carl Fredricksen refuses to let go of Ellie’s memory. After bludgeoning the contractor, Carl is sued by the contracting company and is forced to live the rest of his life in Shady Oaks Retirement Home. As he packs his belongings, Carl comes across Ellie’s adventure book. From here his inclination to travel to Paradise Falls in South America has been sparked. The “call” is represented through Ellie’s Adventure Book. Due to the scrapbook Carl realizes that he has not fulfilled a lifelong promise to Ellie. In turn, feels guilty thus becoming inspired to travel to the destination of his and Ellie’s dreams. After hearing a knocking on his door, Carl opens it to see Russell on his front porch. He then reluctantly lets the young wilderness explorer into his home, Carl attempts to land and return him to his home. While doing this Russell notices a cumulonimbus cloud dragging the home into a storm. Eventually the storm passes and Carl and Russell find themselves in Paradise Falls. At this point, Carl crosses the threshold by entering the wilderness of South America. Realizing that he has made it to Paradise Falls Carl notices he cannot easily return to society and reaches a point of no return. However, Carl is then determined to land his home on a specific side of the falls. This is majorly due to his dedication to fulfill his promise to Ellie. The Initiation Soon after crossing the threshold, Carl and Russell start to travel through the jungle and face a number of trials and challenges. While taking a break, Russell finds a giant bird who soon becomes an ally to the duo. Lacking compassion and the need for interaction, Carl initially dismisses the creature and attempts to forcibly remove him from their journey. Nonetheless, the giant bird Russell effectively names Kevin remains with the duo. Here the hero faces the challenge of patience. Although Carl may isolate the bird he still tolerates his presence, in a way. Later in the journey the hero also comes across Doug, a large, talkative dog with a short attention span. He, like Kevin, also helps to teach Carl about patience and compassion. This is exemplified through his persistence within the journey and Carl’s ability to condone their companionship. Although it may not seem as apparent, Carl’s mentor is actually Russell. After bonding with the young wilderness explorer Carl starts to gain a number of characteristics. Before meeting Russell, Carl secluded himself from the world for means of staying true to Ellie. However, when Carl gains insight into Russell’s character he gains compassion and kindness for others. This is further illustrated by the scene where Russell explains that his father is rarely in his life. At this point Carl realizes he needs to be kinder to the fatherless child. Doug and Kevin are also to help aid both Carl and Russell from their enemy of Charles Muntz. After fleeing the Spirit of Adventure, due to fear of persecution by the former idol of Charles Muntz Doug the friendship of Doug and Kevin are tested. As they are being chased by Muntz’s dogs, Doug aids in their escape by dropping boulders on the hounds. Likewise, Kevin also helps in their getaway. Kevin serves as a method of transport alleviating the stress on Carl and Russell brought on by carrying the floating home. These actions then shed light onto the relationship between Carl, Kevin, Doug, and Russell. However, while his allies pass the challenges that evaluate their allegiance Carl fails. After they flee from Muntz, Charles soon returns and captures Kevin. Here Carl was given the choice of either saving a friend from imprisonment or saving his precious house of memories. Unfortunately Carl chooses his home instead of his friends thus breaking the allegiance between the hero and his allies. The Return After combating his childhood idol of Charles Muntz through an intense sword-cane fight, Carl finally achieves his mission of rescuing Russell and Kevin. Carl soon returns Kevin to her children and set her free to live her life in the wilderness. From this point, the hero returns to civilization my means of his newly acquired blimp, the Spirit of Adventure. Carl’s return home is more literal than symbolic. He comes back to the urban setting that was his home before the journey. When he returns home, Carl is new and reinvented. This shown by the multiple characteristics he has gained through his journey. As Carl returns home he is no longer the cranky old man whom avoided human interaction, but a caring and cheerful father figure. For instance, when Carl and Russell return, they attend a wilderness explorer awards ceremony where Carl awards Russell with the all-important Ellie badge. In addition, Carl takes Russell out for ice cream where they count red and blue cars. Carl remembers Russell’s lack of a father figure thus causing him to fulfill such role. Before the journey, Carl was seen to be a misanthropic elderly many who refused to let go of his past, however, after his journey Carl is now a caring, adventurous, and kind fatherly character.
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