Monday, July 7, 2008

Wall-E



Usually it's easier to write when I have things to complain about, but there really wasn't much wrong with one of Pixar's best films yet. It's really astounding how much better they are at animated features than every other American studio. The first couple Shrek movies were passable, but everything else looks either uninspired or just plain awful, and I'm never interested enough to see if my first impressions (and most critics) were wrong. To be honest, I don't even keep up well enough with Pixar's work, with this and The Incredibles being the only movies I've seen that they've made since 2001. Although this did a good job of encouraging me to check the others out. Wall-E has everything that you could want in a family-friendly animated film. It's very clever, with plenty of jokes that people of any age could probably laugh at. It's filled with cute moments, to the point that I was actually slightly annoyed by th "aww"s coming from the other people in the audience. The story, despite very little dialogue, especially in the first act, has a good message without getting too preachy and rings very true emotionally. And although I'm saddened by how America has pretty much abandoned traditional cel animation, a process Pixar started with the success of Toy Story, it's hard to complain when their work looks so amazing. The combination of intricate details and enjoyable stylization is perfect.

What's impressive is how good of a main character Wall-E is despite his speaking being limited to crude pronounciations of names. After being alone on Earth with just a cockroach for companionship for who knows how long, he encounters a much-more advanced robot with nearly as strong vocal limitations, and despite Eve's proclivity for large explosions at first, they quickly become friends, before she has to return to the humans' colony ship for her mission and Wall-E tags along. I won't say any more about the plot, other than it's (insert grandiose complimentary adjective here) how well the central relationship works when all the two characters really say is each other's names most of the time. The whole thing is really beautiful, and it ties in nicely with the B-Plot about humanity and how their lazy consumerism has literally turned them into fat cartoon characters. The old videos before they had to leave for space feature a live-action Fred Willard trying to be optimistic about abandoning the home planet, and the juxtaposition between people then and in the present just using film techniques is very interesting. It's more interesting if you take it a step farther, with the robots being more realistically rendered than the people. There are some silly plot contrivances in the climax and resolution, but it all still finishes in a very satisfying and touching way. I really want to see The Dark Knight but this may end up as the best film of the summer.

1 comment:

sluggwood said...

Just might be my favorite kids' movie yet, although Bambi and Sleeping Beauty are definite contenders.

I recommend seeing Ratatouille if you haven't yet.