Thursday, July 10, 2008

WALL-E





By far the best movie I've seen for a long time. It's amazing how much a character can be developed when he, for the most part, doesn't speak. Our friendly Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class says "WALL-E", "Eva", (a cute mispronunciation of "Eve" that may or may not be a reference to the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion) "Wow", "directive", and I swear I heard a "no" in there somewhere. Eve is a bit more talkative (a whole word more) and much easier to understand.

Pixar has always been on top of the computer animation field, which is one of the reasons I dislike Disney's animated movies so much. Disney jumped on the bandwagon. In fact, just about everyone except perhaps Dreamworks jumped on the bandwagon, and no one can even remotely compare. WALL-E has some of the greatest computer animation I've ever seen. The detail in the garbage-covered Earth, including a stumbling WALL-E in the background, and a "camera" that changes focus between the two was (at least to me) a groundbreaking animation technique. This type of shot was repeated a number of times in the film, also when WALL-E was chasing after the spaceship. There may have been more, but unless you're looking for it, you really don't notice. The Earth sequences especially, but the whole movie was put together as though it was shot live-action, and indeed, this is the first Pixar movie to have any live-action at all. It blends so well into the movie, though, you don't really notice. I had to physically read the trivia on IMDB to think. "...huh. The 'Hello Dolly' parts were live-action".
Most reviews of WALL-E have been very positive, but a few concerns have been raised. Does lack of dialog make the movie boring? Honestly, American films could do without quite a bit of dialog. I wasn't bored in the slightest at any point during the film, but I also make a habit of watching everything ever produced by Studio Ghibli, who can be very sparse with dialog. Is it boring to an American audience? I think the animation alone ought to keep you entertained, not to mention WALL-Es garbage-searching antics, and his cute cockroach-like friend. (who lives in a Twinkie that is still intact in its wrapper after 700 years)
There are some very obvious environmental themes in the movie. Does this make it unsuitable for kids/do these themes dominate the movie? Hardly. The main plot is WALL-E and Eve's romance, followed by the fate of the Axiom. I don't believe Stanton necessarily meant anything by having the world covered in trash; it was simply the setting for his movie. Miyazaki's heavy influence on Pixar is certainly a factor, and yes, Stanton may share those views, but it seems that people's interactions with each other and their actions in their lives was a much larger theme--people relying on technology meant they never had to do anything for themselves, which led to what you see on the Axiom. The environment being completely destroyed was just the means to that end. Now, if the people had returned to Earth only to find it permanently uninhabitable, or found no other plant life, that would change things. But as it was, yes there are environmental themes, but no, they do not dominate the movie (unless you dwell on them, in which case, you're probably looking for them)
WALL-E and Eve's romance is now one of my favorite cinema romances, and I was watching Casablanca last night. I find it pretty ironic that the first Pixar movie where romance is the MAIN plot features robots. A Bug's Life I'm not incuding in that, because I'm pretty sure Flick's actions were driven by his want to set things right for the colony, while WALL-E's decisions mostly revolved around Eve. Chase after the spaceship and leave Earth? Trying to follow Eve. Rescue the plant? Most likely as a present for Eve, though it can be hard to tell with no dialog. ^_^;; Continue to give Eve the plant, even after the run-in with Otto? Trying to help Eve finish her "directive". Anyway, one of the cutest romances I've ever seen in a film.

I would recommend this film to anyone. It's rated G, so for once, it's entirely kid-friendly. There were no "adult" jokes, no innuendos, no pretty much anything bad at all. It was the best movie I've seen all year.

2 comments:

Patrick Roberts said...

Wall-E totally looks like the robot from "Short Circuit," minus the cheesy 80's style of course... but i'm sure Pixar made a totally original story otherwise

Alexis said...

Director Andrew Stanton acknowledged the similarities between WALL-E and Short Circuit. He said it was coincidental, and if he was influenced, it was subliminally because he only saw the film once.