Still riding high from seeing his idol, Muntz, on the big screen, Carl walks home, making airplane noises and tugging a blue helium balloon with “Spirit of Adventure” scrawled on it behind him.
He imagines the newsreel announcer rattling off Muntz’s adventures as his own. When Muntz scales Pike’s Peak, Carl scales a small rock his path. When Muntz crosses the Grand Canyon, Carl hops over a crack in the sidewalk.
Just as Carl imagines the newsreel announcer repeating Muntz’s catchphrase, “Adventure is out there,” Carl hears a girl shouting the same phrase from somewhere inside a boarded up house.
The front door of said house has “Spirit of Adventure” written on it, just like Carl’s trusty balloon. So, like any wannabe explorer worth his weight in doubloons, Carl investigates.
Inside the house, Carl meets Ellie. She’s decked out in Muntz gear just like Carl, and has rigged the house up like its Muntz’s dirigible. Newspaper articles documenting Muntz’s adventures hang on the wall.
Carl secretly watches while Ellie pilots her homemade airship, narrating her own pretend adventures in the spirit of science.
When Ellie spots Carl the interloper, she interrogates him—and his leather helmet and rad goggles—and then decides they’re BFFs, pinning one of her grape soda bottle caps on him. Ellie talks a mile a minute; Carl is speechless. And, in the kerfuffle, he loses his balloon.
Ellie takes Carl upstairs to find his MIA balloon. He has to cross a plank to get it. When he hesitates for a second, Ellie shoves him forward. Carl pulls his goggles into adventurer position, and then promptly falls off the plank.
Cut to an ambulance racing down the street.
That night, reading in bed by flashlight, a cast on his freshly broken arm, Carl’s balloon sails through the open bedroom window with a stick tied to it.
Then Ellie herself pops in through the window. Carl screams like a girl.
Ellie’s got something to show him: her Adventure Book. It’s filled with her hopes and dreams of exploration, and they all have a very Muntz-centric bent.
Ellie tells Carl that, when she gets big, she’s going to go South America just like Muntz, to live in Paradise Falls. This little girl’s got big plans.
There’s just one catch: Ellie doesn’t know how she’s actually going to get to Paradise Falls.
Carl looks at a model blimp hanging from his ceiling. Ellie decides that Carl’s going to take her to Paradise Falls via blimp, and makes him swear on it. She has him cross his heart and everything.
Carl looks terrified, but it also looks like they have a deal.
Just as quickly as she arrived, Ellie leaves, but not before once more proclaiming “Adventure is out there!” Also? Carl doesn’t talk that much. She digs it.
Carl looks after Ellie. “Wow,” he coos. This boy’s got it bad.