SF elements: flying houses; uplifted dogs; Lost World
This is a film of three parts. First, a young Carl, fan of the explorer Charles Muntz, meets a young Ellie, mad-keen on exploring Paradise Falls. They grow up together, always with the plan of going to the lost world of Paradise Falls, but never achieving their ambition. Eventually they are an old couple, and Ellie dies. Second, 78-year-old Carl is a grumpy old man, living alone in his house, fighting off property developers, eventually literally, which gets him banished to an old people's home. Third, in order to avoid the old people's home, Carl attaches a gazillion helium balloons to his house, which floats away with him, accidentally carrying along Russell, a young explorer. They end up at Paradise Falls, find Muntz (who must be in his 90s by now, surely?), and Carl regains is enthusiasm for life.
Part one is a great vignette of a happily married couple. Part two drags a bit. Part three is a rip-roaring adventure of floating houses, lush tropical worlds, strange rare tropical birds, uplifted talking dogs, and an evil mastermind bent on ... capturing a rare bird.
Apart from the slightly slow central portion, this is great. The dogs are probably the best part, able to talk thanks to Muntz's invention, but still very doggy in their attitudes (point! squirrel! ball!). The only problem for me is that the overall message left a slightly bad taste in my mouth: going to Paradise Falls was really Ellie's ambition, but Carl didn't actually do it until she had died. Russell got his adventure, but Ellie didn't get hers (despite what she said in the postscript in her scrapbook).
reviewed 1 January 2013