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Friday, June 27, 2008

WALL-E (2008)

This latest effort from the amazing Pixar CGI animators is a quiet, intelligent piece focusing on lonliness, romance and, believe it or not, environmental concerns, and is well worth the entire family's time.

I basically liked it a lot - it ranks at number three on my list of Pixar flicks, with RATTATOUILLE at number one and THE INCREDIBLES at number two - so that's all you really need to know, but for those of you who need to know just what the hell it's about, here's the poop: it's 700 years since mankind abandoned a terminally polluted earth for the stars, leaving behind robots to enact "Operation Cleanup," a self-explanatory program of global waste management in anticipation of the planet someday sustaining life again. As the centuries pass only one robot remains, a mini trash compactor on treads named Wall-E (who looks like a blending of Johhny-5 and one of the SILENT RUNNING forest-keepers), and during his lonely duties he develops a personality that enjoys movie musicals and collects sentimental remnants of the long-departed human race.His only companion is a loyal cockroach, that is until a probe ship arrives and discharges E.V.E., an advanced robot whose directive is to find plant life, evidence that the planet is once more fertile. The two robots develop a budding romance, but their bliss is cut short when E.V.E. discovers a tiny, growing shoot and sends a signal to the probe for retrieval. When E.V.E.'s masters collect her, WALL-E stows away aboard a massive star-liner and the two soon discover something dire that could change the course of mankind's fate...

The only other thing to note is that the story is told almost entirely through the visuals and the music; when the robots converse, it's through a series of largely R2-D2esque sounds, but when the humans on the ship enter the story there are about five or ten minutes of dialogue, but the rest of the film is silent. Fascinatichildren in the audience were held in rapt attention during the silent bits, having to hang onto the images to tell them the story, but they wouldn't shut up once the humans began talking. I don't know what that means, but it surprised me.

Anyway, TRUST YER BUNCHE and check out WALL-E on the big screen. The visuals are spectacular, and will lose a lot when seen at home on DVD or cable.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I second ya. This film is FANTASTIC! (The Incredibles and Toy Story still top my Pixar list, although the WALL-E opener Presto is a close contender!)

Yeah, I noticed the same thing with the kids in our audience. I heard hushed little voices TOTALLY cuing into the visual storyline but otherwise remaining utterly rapt; the dialog-heavy 3rd Act, however, had the little ones amused but restless.

Thing is, the kids GOT IT. Here's a movie that utterly nails our cultural carelessness and slothful tendencies, and the kids UTTERLY UNDERSTOOD that not-so-subtle subtext. I wonder if the adults caught it as clearly - or left the theatre more willing to address it. (Gauging by the usual post-movie mess in the theatre, however, I suspect not. :( )

Anonymous said...

this has become my favorite pixar flick.
2 things to agree upon. the silent movie treatment for the first hour that left me entralled as a jaded semi-intelligent 31 adult is just too awesome for words, i loved it.
also huzzah to opening shorts, i think hollywood would do well to recognize the enjoyment and interest generated by an animated short intro like "presto", that was hysterical in the bugs and daffy classic vein (and not just cuz of the rabbit main character).
and i'll admit it, i welled up at the end of wall-e, tears weren't shed, but i welled up. as there were no witnesses, i'm sticking to my story, the one that keeps up of the rough and tumble, yet still sentimental ball of machismo image.
jiggly machismo, but machismo nonetheless.
did i spell machismo correctly?
-big mike