image for Up

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 8 (scary scenes, themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Up
  • a review of Up completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 September 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to themes
Children 9 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Up
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Some scary scenes
Length: 96 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In his late seventies, and following the death of his wife Ellie, Carl Fredricksen (voice of Ed Asner) decides to fulfil the dream he and his wife had shared since childhood, of going to exotic Paradise Falls in South America. Their hero, the once-famous explorer Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer) had claimed this was the most beautiful place in the world. Carl ties thousands of helium balloons to his house and takes off. Some time into the journey he discovers that a visiting scout Russell (Justin Nagai) has accidentally stowed away. They are joined in their adventures by a rare bird called Kevin and a dog called Dug (Bob Peterson). When Carl finally meets Muntz, his hero is not the person he thought he would be.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death and separation, animal cruelty

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Carl hits a construction worker in the head with his pronged walker leaving a bloody injury requiring the ambulance to attend
  • In self-defence, Kevin runs at Dug to subdue him and tackles him to the ground.
  • Carl hits a croaking frog on the head mistaking it for an alarm clock
  • Dug is attacked and thrown by a bite to the neck from Alpha (head dog of the pack)
  • Alpha lunges at and bites Kevin’s leg drawing blood
  • Muntz captures Kevin in a net and drags her into his aircraft
  • Muntz torches Carl’s house before making his escape
  • Russell is tied to a chair by the dog pack and slid out of the ramp of the flying aircraft
  • Pack dogs attack Russell from their aeroplanes as he dangles from the flying house
  • Dug bites Muntz’ leg before being thrown out of the room by Muntz
  • Carl and Muntz engage in a fight with a sword and walking aid including hitting each other in the face.
  • Dug is again attacked by Alpha and thrown
  • A second fight occurs between Carl and Muntz on top of the aircraft and in the house. Muntz jumps out and falls, presumably to his death, through the clouds.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • as a child, Carl falls suddenly out of sight through the attic floor, breaking his arm
  • old Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and the house lifts off and soars through the city into the sky, connecting with some objects on the way
  • the house crashes to and over the ground on several occasions
  • menacing dogs chase the bird, Kevin through the jungle. Threatening shadows are sometimes used throughout the movie during chase scenes.
  • Kevin is rather large and can be frightening - for example towards Carl on their first meeting
  • the dogs leap up out of hiding in the bushes, growling and running at Carl
  • the dogs have scary red eyes for most of the movie. With special collars they can also “talk” which could be unnerving for young children.
  • there are a number of large dinosaur skeletons on display in the aircraft
  • a number of flying helmets and goggles are kept atop wooden manikin heads that, when thrown to the floor, could be mistaken by young children as real heads.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • themes of death and separation are interwoven into the movie with the miscarriage of Ellie’s baby, the death of Ellie, the separation of Russell from his family and its prior breakdown ending in divorce, and Kevin’s continual separation from her baby chicks.
  • in the opening scenes, Ellie (as a child) keeps a hamster in a bare cage with nothing but a rat wheel to entertain it.
  • Russell wedges his foot into Carl’s front door so that Carl accidentally slams the door against it causing Russell to exclaim “ow”.
  • in Carl’s imagination, Russell is seen dangling from a rope from the window of the flying house looking for a bus stop when he is accidentally dropped.
  • the house flies into a violent lightening storm. Both Carl and Russell, along with the furniture and belongings, crash around the house. Russell almost slides out the front door.
  • both Russell and Carl fall out of the house as it descends, grab onto an attached hose, and end up on the precipice of a cliff.
  • Russell gives up and, whilst still tied to the house, falls over and allows himself to be dragged face-down along in the dirt.
  • Kevin picks up Russell in her beak and wings and plays with him like a toy somewhat like a cat plays with its prey; which is the initial expectation.
  • the pack dogs take Carl and friends hostage and surround them. They seem in great danger for a while.
  • whilst escaping Muntz and the dogs, Carl and Russell are dragged through rocks and over cliffs by the still afloat house
  • dogs fall off a cliff into a river below
  • Russell flies away on his own with several balloons attached.  He is captured and tied to a chair.
  • Kevin is locked up in a cage after being captured in a net
  • Russell threatens to fall off the ramp of the aircraft before he is saved by Carl.  He does, however, fall out of the house and, grabbing onto the hose, is dragged by the house along the windows of the aircraft.
  • dogs regularly surround various characters in a threatening and menacing way
  • Russell is fired upon by three dogs in aeroplanes with machine gun darts.  The aeroplanes eventually crash and the dogs escape in parachutes.
  • Muntz uses a gun to pop the balloons on the house. The house disappears through the clouds.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

No further scenes of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

A passionate kiss is exchanged between Ellie and Carl on their wedding day

Use of substances

Muntz arranges for his dogs to pour himself and Carl an alcoholic beverage before dinner

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Up is an animated 3D fantasy comedy with some scary scenes that make it unsuitable for under 5s and some slightly older children. It is a funny, yet poignant, critique of the human character.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • family
  • loyalty
  • perseverance and courage
  • friendship
  • kindness and respect

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • putting their faith in the wrong role models and heroes
  • procrastination and regrets
  • bitterness
  • bullying and victimisation