Cue the entrance of Russell the “Wilderness Explorer”, a boy scout type character seeking to do a good deed for Carl to complete his “Assisting the Elderly” badge which will take him to “Senior Wilderness Explorer”. Each of the three times he suggests doing a task for Carl he is greeted with an emphatic, “No”. I found this reminiscent of encountering an entity I am unsure of in a shamanic journey. When this happened I’d question the entity three times asking if it had come tp be of benefit to me. If the answer was yes I’d seek more information from it. The feeling about the story was that Russell was a representation of Carl’s inner child.
Russell remains on the porch of Carl’s house. He has interrupted Carl’s plan to use some old stock left over from his time as a Balloon salesman. Carl begins filling the balloons with helium and the house wrenches itself from its piles and starts floating away with Russell still on the porch. Again he knocks at the door. This time there is no turning back and Russell is along for the adventure. Carl is flying his house to Paradise Falls.
Significant in my life are the storms that have arrived shaking me up and whipping me onwards. They are also beset by a storm which does the same and carries them close to their destination – they land on top of a ravine overlooking Paradise Falls. With their combined weight as ballast they begin to trek round the ravine pulling the house along with them. It seemed as though Carl was doing most of the work even though Russell was also attached to the rope that was connected to the house.
Reminding me of hero’s journey on the trek there are areas of wasteland, they encounter allies, in the form of a dog called Dug that has a collar enabling speech and also a colourful bird that Russell names Kevin. There are also challenges on the path. The bird turns out to be the one also being sought by Charles Muntz who has become obsessed over it to the point of paranoia. He has a pack of vicious dogs that are searching for Dug who was sent out to track Kevin. I can see in the image of Muntz the seeming obsessive requirements of consumerism and materialism, always wanting the next best thing, not knowing how to let go of the need.
I see the character of Dug as a representation of innocence, a key step on a journey towards a soul consciousness. Kevin, this colourful mythical bird, I believe symbolizes the soul itself and Muntz’s obsession with discovering it actually denies him the experience. It is Carl’s humble embracing of adventure to honour Ellie’s memory and his acceptance, albeit grudging, of Russell a motif for his inner child that has allowed him this one-on-one encounter with his Soul.
Things deteriorate as Muntz becomes psychotic when he discovers Kevin is with Carl and Russell. Muntz flies his airship to the Falls where he makes off with Kevin and sets Carl’s house on fire. The flames dowsed Carl heads off in pursuit of Russell who followed Muntz to get Kevin back.
This seemed to be a key moment in the movie for me as Carl has to ditch all of his household effects to allow the balloons to lift the house off and after Muntz and indeed this maybe required by the soul wanting us to be conscious of it – the releasing of attachment to material things.
Carl catches up to Muntz and following a duel, Russell, Kevin and Dug are saved while Muntz falls to his death. Kevin is returned to her chicks. Carl, no longer grudgingly, but lovingly accepting of Russell takes him back to the city where he stands in as a father figure when Russell receives his badge and becomes a Senior Wilderness Explorer. Carl has a new lease on life becomes a volunteer in the community providing mentorship to not only Russell but also other young people.
I took this prior to producing this post and the sense is that soul consciousness is like sailing out past the heads to the ocean beyond. There maybe an initial sense of emptiness. But within that there is also a sense of potential and possibility with new waters to navigate and new lands to discover when we leave the safety of the harbour and engage in our new found awareness of life.