|“||Adventure is out there!||„|
|~ Charles Muntz's catchphrase prior to going insane.|
Charles F. Muntz, also simply known as Charles Muntz or sometimes known by his surname Muntz, is the main antagonist of Pixar's 10th full-length animated feature film Up. He is an adventurous explorer who is looking for a legendary bird known as a snipe named "Kevin" and he has many loyal dogs at his command. The dogs that he owns wear collars that allow them to speak. He is also the former master of Dug and the archenemy and former idol of Carl Fredricksen (the film's main protagonist).
He was voiced by Christopher Plummer, who also played The Grand Duke of Owls in Don Bluth's Rock-A-Doodle by MGM, Fayvoon in Disney's Treasure Planet, General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Ralph Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Crookedman in MGM's Babes in Toyland and King Herod in The Star.
Muntz is best described as a determined, paranoid, manipulative, intelligent and dangerous person.
Before becoming demented, Muntz was a kind, brave, honest, thoughtful, sympathetic and persuasive explorer with a genuine passion for discovering new things. When Carl Fredricksen and Russell meet him for the first time, he seems like a benign and charming gentleman as he welcomes them into his company and cares for a group of dogs imbued with speech technology, and he appears to be courteous. However, when the matter of Kevin the bird comes up they soon discover that his mission with capturing the bird of Paradise Falls has turned into an obsession, unhinged his mind and driven him insane causing him to lash out against other adventurers. An extremely proud man, Muntz is consumed with bitterness, rage and violent paranoia over being expelled from the National Explorer's Society when he was viewed as a phoney and will stop at nothing to restore his reputation, even if it means murder. Nevertheless, he is completely polite and affable as long as people do not interfere with his plans. Muntz's pride and obsession give him a striking similarity to Captain Ahab from the late Herman Melville's 1851 classic novel Moby Dick. He also evidences a genius level of intellect, able to program dogs to talk and build his own airship.
However, others have seen a more rational side to the character, as he was outcast from the National Explorer's Society when scientists believed the skeleton was forged due to unlikelihood of such a creature existing. Spike.com ranks him #4 in their list "The Top 10 Hollywood "Villains Who Got Totally Screwed". Under the section titled "What People Forget", it says "He never actually did anything altogether evil until the main characters boarded his zeppelin by force and attempted to steal his bird, at which point he tried to throw them overboard.".
Muntz is an explorer who is obsessed with finding the beast of Paradise Falls ever since he was accused of fabricating its skeleton by the National Explorer's Society and stripped of his membership. He then vows to find the bird and catch it to prove its existence. He travels in a dirigible called the Spirit of Adventure, and has many canine minions who wear collars that allow them to speak.
When the heroes of the story Carl and Russell meet him years after he departed to capture the beast of Paradise Falls, they find he has gone insane over the years and is now quite paranoid, killing innocent people he thought were going to steal the bird. Soon, with Kevin, a light appears and Muntz tells his dogs to get him and Kevin got captured by him. In the final battle, Carl was fighting him with his cane and Muntz uses a sword, nearly killing Carl.
The blimp is eventually turned sideways, saving Carl. Carl and Russell trick Muntz into following them into the house floating next to the blimp. Before Carl and Russell can escape in the house with the bird, Muntz retrieves his lever-action rifle and begins firing at the two. Muntz gets the upper hand until Carl tricks him into going into the house, which Carl promptly sends floating away after having Russell, Dug and Kevin escape back onto the Spirit of Adventure.
When Muntz realizes that he has been duped, he leaps out of the window in an attempt to get back to his airship, but his foot gets tangled up in some balloon strings. Several of the strings snap, sending a screaming Muntz plummeting thousands of feet below to his death.
- Carl Fredricksen - Former Guest and Attempted Victim
- Russell - Former Guest and Attempted Victim
- Dug - Former Subordinate
If Carl was 78 years old by the time of him meeting him, and Muntz was at least 20 years old when Carl was 8 years old, then Muntz could be over 90 years old. When talking to Carl, Muntz talks about being on Safari with Roosevelt. It is hard to tell if he means Theodore Roosevelt or one of Roosevelt's sons or his nephew, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as Theodore Roosevelt passed away in January 6, 1919 at the age of 60, when Charles was only 3 years old, meaning that Muntz was probably born in 1915 or 1916.
An explanation for Muntz's advanced age is in a deleted subplot from Up. It explains that Kevin's eggs act like a sort of fountain of youth that prevent Muntz from aging.
- Charles F. Muntz is currently the first and so far the only main Pixar movie antagonist to use a firearm, the weapon being an 1865 Spencer carbine. He uses the gun when storming Carl's house when the latter makes his getaway with Kevin.
- The sword that Muntz uses during his fight with Carl is a medieval Claymore.
- The ultimate fate of Muntz was a work in progress for Pixar as they tried several versions to get him out of the way so the film could get back to Carl and his connection to Ellie:
- First, they tried giving Muntz a chance to redeem himself to the point where it resorted to just him talking with Carl.
- Then they tried an ending that was reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's version of "The Shining" where Muntz goes after Kevin in the labyrinth, where he is left to wander forever, but it felt more like Muntz's ending than Carl's ending.
- At another point, Pixar decided to place the climax on the Spirit of Adventure and one version had Muntz trapped in the house as it floats away, but it felt wrong due to the house being seen as Ellie.
- Another version had Muntz caught in a bunch a balloons and floating upwards, but it left an uncertainty as to whether he was deceased. It was at this point that Pixar decided the best comeuppance for Muntz was for him to get caught in the balloons and fall with them. This is discussed on the DVD extra "The Many Endings of Muntz".
- His name "Charles Muntz" is based on "Charles Mintz", whom Walt Disney worked for while making the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons, and who took the cartoon from Walt Disney since Universal Studios owned the copyrights.
- Muntz is based on aviator Howard Hughes who was known for his intelligence, eccentricity, ego and obsession. He also has traits of real-life adventurers, Charles Lindbergh and Percy Fawcett.
- Muntz acts as a foil to Carl. They are both elderly men who both suffered terrible tragedies in their lives and became bitter. Carl became bitter after losing his wife and Muntz became bitter after being outcasted. When Carl came across Russel, Kevin, and Doug, he first viewed them as a nuisance. Later, Carl viewed them as the family he never had and later redeemed himself, as well as learning to accept loss. On the other hand, Muntz refused to accept loss and lived obsessed with his past and was trying to relive it in any way possible. Muntz serves as an example of what Carl would become if he never learned to accept loss and move on with his life.
- He is the third main villain in a Pixar film to die, after Hopper in A Bug's Life and Syndrome in The Incredibles, followed by Mor'du in Brave, and Ernesto de la Cruz in Coco.
- Despite being the main antagonist, he has only around 20 minutes of screen-time.