Even among Disney and Pixar films, there are few that bring the feels like Up. It has adventure to draw in the kids and love, loss, and rebirth to pull on the heartstrings of even the most cynical among us.
The film broke new ground for Disney and Pixar, both in terms of animation technology — it was the first film produced by Pixar to be shown in 3D — and commercial success. The movie went on to be nominated for Oscars in the “best animated feature” and “best picture” categories, an Academy Awards first.
Up celebrates its 5th anniversary today, so in the spirit of adventure, here’s some trivia behind Russell and Carl’s South American escapade.
1. Charles Muntz was named after an actual enemy of Walt Disney. Up’s villain Charles Muntz was named after Walt Disney’s real-life archenemy, Universal Pictures executive Charles Mintz. Mintz stole Disney’s production rights to “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” in 1928. This lead Disney to create Mickey Mouse and quickly surpass Universal in animation popularity.
2. Carl’s grape soda button is a subtle nod to Buzz Lightyear. The grape soda button that Carl wears is a nod to the grape soda from the commercial for Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.
It also happens to bear a striking resemblance to the retro soda, Nu Grape.
3. Dug was based on Disney’s original guide dog. Dug is loosely based on Mickey’s pet dog, Pluto. Specifically his color scheme, black nose and stiffened body when he’s locked on a tracking scent.
4. A replica of the house was built in Herriman, Utah. The location of Carl’s house is never revealed in the movie — though Oakland, California is a likely guess because of Fenton’s Ice Cream — but its real-life version happens to be in Utah. The house was built by Up-obsessed home builder Blair Bangerter with hopes that a lovable curmudgeon would buy the home for $400k.
5. The waterfall and rock formations of Paradise Falls are based on Venezuela’s Angel Falls. Up’s Paradise Falls are near identical to Angel Falls in Venezuela and the strange rock formations were based on the rocks of the Tepui mountains. It took the Pixar team three days of planes, jeep rides and hiking to reach the falls, and the remote jungle setting was just what director Pete Docter was looking for:
“The thing that really sparked in us was this lost world in Venezuela. And it felt a lot like our main character — completely removed from the rest of the world. This place felt like the perfect setting for this story.”
6. 10,297 balloons were used to lift Carl’s house. Pixar FX technical directors Jon Reisch and Eric Froemling had the painstaking task of creating a full canopy of balloons to lift Carl’s house into the sky. “The entire canopy is filled with balloons. We didn’t just simulate the outer shell,” Reisch told Tech Radar.
To actually get a house that weighs around 100,000 pounds off the ground, it’s estimated you would need between 100,000 and 23.5 million balloons. This all depending on diameter of balloons, type of rope used and other science-y stuff according to various blogs.
*Bonus* Carl is watching one of the Home Shopping Network’s greatest bloopers. If the infomercial that Carl is zoning out to sounds familiar it’s because it’s the classic clip of a pitchman describing a horse photo that is actually a moth. That “4x optical zoom” is damn impressive though.
Here’s the Up clip.
And here’s the actual video.