Charles F. Muntz is a famous explorer admired by Carl Fredricksen and his wife Ellie as children, and the main antagonist of Disney/Pixar's 2009 film Up. 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.
He was voiced by Christopher Plummer.
Charles F. Muntz has white hair. He wears a white dirty short-sleeved shirt with a brown winter jacket. He wears tan pants and brown shoes, and carries a cane. His eyes are aqua. He also has a mustache.
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 Russell and Carl. 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.
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.
Almost seventy years later, he is all but forgotten on the mainland, but his sole focus is to finally capture the rare bird. He apparently discovers where it hides, a monstrous rocky labyrinth, but can't go in himself and claims to have lost 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 has made him extremely paranoid and dangerous. It is hinted that he has 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 gets away with Kevin. Russell, thinking Carl only cares about his home, goes off to rescue 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.
Charles F. Muntz confronts Carl and they fight while Russell goes to rescue Kevin. 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 kill them, but Carl lures Kevin out of the house with a piece of chocolate while Dug and Russell are on her back. Muntz tries to grab hold, but his foot gets tangled in balloon strings which snap and he falls in thousands of feet below to his death.
Dug's Special Mission
Muntz is mentioned by Alpha in the short as "Master".
- Considering that Muntz is 23 and Carl 9 at the beginning of the movie, and that Carl is 78 by the time he takes off with his house, Muntz would be 92 years old when they meet.
- Muntz's full middle name is unknown.
- His name comes from Charles Mintz, who tried to sue Walt Disney for their Oswald the Lucky Rabbit character (from where the Mickey Mouse character later spawned).
- 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 a side of Carl.
- Muntz's objectives, actions and fate are arguably very similar or nearly identical to those of McLeach, the antagonist in The Rescuers Down Under.
- At the start of the film, Muntz was thought to have been a minor character, but is revealed to actually be the antagonist.
- 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 nephew, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as Theodore Roosevelt passed away in 1919, when Charles was only 3 years old.
- 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 a 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 get caught in the balloons and fall with them. 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 his most prized possession (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.
- Although he dies at the end of the film, he is shown to be still alive in the Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure video game, along with that his dogs are still evil in the game. It could be that he might have survived the fall, and that he used some different dogs.
- 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.
- Christopher Plummer, Muntz's voice actor, played Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music and voiced the Grand Duke of Owls from Rock-a-Doodle and voiced the narrator in the Madeline franchise.
- 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.