- Not to be confused with Charles Mintz, an American film producer and distributor.
Charles F. Muntz is the main antagonist of Disney/Pixar's 2009 animated feature film Up. He is a famous explorer admired by Carl Fredricksen and his late wife, Ellie as children. In the movie, he found the bones of a tropical bird in South America but the scientific community claimed they were fake. Insulted, Muntz searches the South American wilderness for a live member of the same bird species, traveling in a zeppelin with his many pet dogs, whom he equips with special collars he invented that enable them to speak. They are lead by Alpha and his assistants Beta and Gamma.
At the peak of his career, Muntz was a charismatic, smart, and daring young man whose spirit inspired countless fans to look for adventure. However, Muntz's quest for the bird that caused his disgrace destroyed him, as his search turned to obsession. Now a ghost of his former self, he became a heartless man, consumed by bitterness, paranoid to the extreme, and convinced that anyone who comes across him is after the bird. It is implied he killed two explorers already, and was intending to do the same with Carl and Russell. It is shown that Muntz's obsession is such that he doesn't care anymore for the rest of his collection, showing no hesitation to destroy some of his unique specimens when trying to take down Carl.
Muntz largely serves as parallel to Carl. He was a man broken because he lived obsessed with his former existence and desperately trying to relive it at any cost, showing what Carl could have become, had he not learned to accept loss and move on with his life.
Muntz is an elderly man with white hair and a small mustache, aqua green eyes, and a hooked nose. He wears a dirty white short-sleeved shirt with a brown winter jacket, tan pants, and brown shoes and carries a cane. However, he keeps his hair groomed back.
In his youth, Muntz had a cleaner look, an athletic build, and darker hair.
Charles F. Muntz was a renowned explorer and entrepreneur while Carl and Ellie were children. He often traveled in his zeppelin, "The Spirit of Adventure", with his many canine companions. Thanks to Muntz's own ingenuity, he crafted many devices in his dirigible to make his life and his dogs as comfortable as possible. He also created the communicators in their collars later so they could be able to talk to each other.
During one eventful return from Paradise Falls in South America, Muntz reveals an astonishing discovery—the skeleton of "The Monster of Paradise Falls". Scientists, however, believed the skeleton was a fabrication, and Muntz was publicly disgraced. He vowed to capture the creature alive and not return to the United States until he did. Overtime it appears that Muntz, his adventures and disgrace became forgotten on the mainland.
For the next 70 years, Muntz's sole focus was to capture the rare bird by any means and bred generations of dogs to aid him in his mission and to take over hunting the bird when he became unable to go after it himself due to his advanced age. He at one point discovered where the bird lives and nests, a monstrous rocky labyrinth, but he himself was never able to enter it due to the labyrinth being a deadly maze able to cause anyone to get lost quickly and he claims to have lost so many of his dogs when he sent them in to capture the bird. The time he has spent alone and concentrating only on his mission made him extremely paranoid and dangerous. It is hinted that he murdered other visitors to Paradise Falls whom he thinks were after the bird.
Later in the film he meets up with Carl and Russell and invites them over to his zeppelin for dinner, telling them of his search for the rare valuable bird, whom Kevin is a perfect match for his description. After Russel blurts out that Kevin is his pet and the bird he's looking for, Muntz becomes convinced that they are out to take credit for the bird's existence, so he sends his dogs after them. Carl, Russell, and Dug manage to escape by getting Kevin to fly over a cliff, but her leg is injured by Alpha.
That night, their location is given away by Dug's collar and Muntz captures Kevin in a net just before she can make it back to her babies. He gives Carl the ultimatum of either rescuing Kevin or saving his house, which he has set on fire. Carl rushes to put out the blaze and Muntz easily incapacitates Russell as he gets away with Kevin. Russell, thinking Carl only cares about his home, goes off to rescue Kevin by himself, but is tied up by Muntz and Alpha. Knowing that Carl can't be far behind, he leaves Russell as bait as he returns to pilot the dirigible.
Muntz confronts Carl and Kevin and they fight while Russell is left at the house surrounded by three dog-piloted planes that Muntz sent to take them down. Dug saves Carl from Muntz, no longer trusting him as his master. Dug, Russel, and Kevin make their way to Carl's floating house with Charles in pursuit, trying to bring down the house with a hunting rifle. He makes his way into the house and tries to shoot them with his rifle, but Carl lures Kevin out of the house with a bar of chocolate, knocking away the rifle, while Dug and Russell are on her back. When Muntz leaps out of the window after them to grab hold, his foot gets entangled in some balloon strings, and when they snap, Muntz falls to his demise thousands of feet below.
Muntz does not appear, but is mentioned by Alpha in the short as "Master".
- Considering that Muntz is in his early 20's and Carl is 9 at the beginning of the film, and that Carl is 78 by the time he takes off with his house, Muntz could be over 90 years old when they meet.
- Originally, the reason why Muntz wanted to find the bird was because its eggs had a magical property that slowed aging. This storyline was eventually scrapped, but by then, it was too late in production to change the fact that he was still alive and well when Carl visited Paradise Falls.
- Director Pete Docter himself confirmed that Muntz is 23 years old at the start of the film while Carl is 9. In the present day, Muntz is therefore 92 years old while Carl is 78; an age gap of 14 years.
- When talking to Carl, Muntz talks about being on safari with Roosevelt. It is hard to tell if he means Theodore Roosevelt (a well-known explorer and adventurer) or one of Roosevelt's sons or his fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as Teddy died in 1919 when Charles was only 3 years old.
- It is often suspected that his name was inspired by Charles Mintz, Disney's boss during his time animating Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts for Universal Pictures. Mintz had a poor relationship with Disney and ended up hiring most of Disney's staff and firing him, leading him and his remaining staff to create Mickey Mouse. However, Pixar has never supported this claim.
- The name "Carl" is also a Germanic form of the name "Charles", suggesting that both characters are foils of each other and how Muntz represents the dark side of Carl.
- 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's left to wander forever, but it felt more like Muntz's ending than Carl's ending. At that 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 of balloons and floating upwards, but it left an uncertainty as to whether he was dead. It was at this point that Pixar decided the best comeuppance for Muntz was for him to fall to his death. This is discussed on the DVD extra "The Many Endings of Muntz".
- Director Pete Docter indirectly mentioned in the DVD bonus "The Many Endings of Muntz" that Charles F. Muntz represented Carl's side that gave up on sanity after losing what or who was most important to him (Ellie to Carl, the bird to Muntz). In order for Carl to overcome his grief, his dark side had to be defeated, in other words, Muntz had to die. This commentary indirectly implies that Muntz did not survive the fall.
- Muntz's fate in the video game adaptations of Up was similar to the one where he was stuck in the house: after Kevin and Russell jump out of the house, Carl and Dug (who were in an airplane) accidentally popped the rest of the balloons by flying into them, resulting in the house falling off the zeppelin and taking Muntz with it.
- In Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, Muntz did survive the fall and had several more dogs to assist his pursuit for Kevin, though this may be non-canonical.
- An Easter egg found in the Blu-ray version titled "The Egg" discusses an idea about Kevin's eggs restoring youth when consumed. The egg is what Muntz goes after in this version and it is not known if he still wants to clear his name. The idea was later abandoned because Carl wasn't concerned about being young again.
- Muntz has his own musical theme composed by Michael Giacchino that's the first piece of music heard in Up. It echoes through the film when Carl and Russell meet him 70 years after young Carl sees Muntz in the newsreel at the beginning. A twisted version plays when Carl realizes Muntz's intention of capturing Kevin and killing anyone who gets in his way. Finally, the theme plays against Ellie's theme during the climactic battle between Carl and Muntz.
- Muntz's cameo in Toy Story 4 showed him, Gamma, Beta, Alpha, and Dug in a painting similar to the Dogs Playing Poker series by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge.
- Muntz is alluded to in one of the newspaper clippings seen around Shanghai Disneyland's Camp Discovery, with a League of Adventurers expedition to Antarctica utilizing an aerial drop-off technique to bring a team of sled dogs to Wilkes Station being compared to strategies Muntz himself used.
- If Muntz was ever able to capture Kevin's species, it appears that no one would have even known who he is, as it is hinted that he was quickly and completely forgotten on the mainland. Even Russell does not know who he is upon meeting him, showing that Muntz's achievements and adventures are not common knowledge in the present day or even taught in schools or a notable historical subject. Thus Muntz's alleged fabrication of the bird's skeleton was likely forgotten too and therefore he wasted nearly 70 years of his life trying to clear his name for nothing. However, he might have risen to fame again as he had discovered a new species.
- The fact that he appears to have been forgotten suggests that he made no further contact with the mainland after setting off to capture the bird, which may possibly even have led to him eventually having been declared dead in absentia.
- Muntz serves as a dark reflection to Carl as both were elderly men who had suffered terrible tragedies and became bitter from them, with Carl losing his wife and Muntz being accused of fraud. When Carl came across Russell, Dug, and Kevin, he viewed them as nuisances, but later viewed them as his family he never had, as well as redeeming himself and accepting loss. Muntz, on the other hand, refused to accept the loss and was obsessed with his past, trying to relieve it any in way possible. If Carl had not learned to accept the loss and move on with his life, he could have ended up like Muntz.
- Another similarity is that should they succeed in their goals, it would be for nothing because Muntz appears to have been forgotten so it would be likely that he would have cleared his name for nothing if he successfully brings back Kevin's species. If Carl would succeed in bringing his house to the exact spot in Paradise Falls, he would be living all alone without basic necessities such as food, water, and electricity in a remote harsh wilderness far from civilization. His old age would also make it extremely difficult if not impossible for him to survive in the wilderness.
- Unkrich, Lee (June 23, 2009). "@wannabechef91 At the beginning of the movie, Carl is 9, Muntz is 23. Per Pete." (Tweet). Twitter.
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