WALL-E (2008) – Pixar’s greatest movie to date and NOT A BORING MOVIE, YOU JERKS.
WALL-E is probably best known for its environmentalism message. At the time, there was a whole swath of critics who felt a strong disdain for the film because they thought it was pushing an agenda on them. This makes me believe that those critics were either blissfully unaware that every movie pretty much has that in mind, or ridiculously naive. They’re called the Motion Picture Arts. And one of the things art has always done, is press ideas. But I suppose if you don’t necessarily agree with the ideas, you’re forced to call it an agenda. As if the word has inherent negative connotations.
What I remember most about yet another installment of perfection by animation studio Pixar, is just how ballsy the movie is. For the first half, the entire thing rests on the storytelling abilities of nearly mute robots. There is our trash compacting hero who spends his days finding collectables amongst the garbage civilization has left behind, and then there is the mysterious and sleek one, mostly tasked to seeing if our planet has healed enough to support life. That’s it!
And, of course, it’s wonderful. They find so much expression in their cute little characters. Scenes where WALL-E is first terrified, then infatuated, then kind of obsessed, each are marked with such universalism that the narrative requires no words.
Things get a little shaky when we’re moved onto the space cruise ship. It’s where all of humanity apparently has migrated to, encircling the galaxy, and being preserved as long as possible in hopes that maybe we’ll find a suitable planet to inhabit once more. The only problem is we’re a bunch of lazy blubber butts (kind of like THE FAT GUY) that don’t even have to think for ourselves anymore. A corrupt corporation, which I’m sure is only a thinly veiled metaphor for government, takes care of everything. From the fake rising sun, to notifications when our clothing is out of style and needs to be updated.
A lot of those who are critical of the movie, hate this part too. And I’m minority perturbed, but not for the same reasons as their dislike of additional “agenda.” No, my problem is I was just so enraptured with WALL-E and Eve, that I hardly needed anything else. It’s in this section, we get a more traditional movie with chase sequences and a battle of right verses wrong. But, I almost ignore all of that while waiting for the robots to begin their dance across the sky.
This is a great film. A treasure to watch for the first time, and something you’ll not mind seeing over and over. Even if you’re queer, not married, and without kids to excuse putting it in the DVD player repeatedly.
Queer gives WALL-E and Eeeevaaaaaa an:
I have a serious problem with this film. I have alienated my mother-in-law and many friends because of this movie. It’s not like it was with Garden State – I’d instantly have no respect for someone who loooooved that film and it chaaaaaange their liiiiiiiife. Understandable, I think. This movie I loved. To put things into perspective, I have a pretty strong “never watch twice” policy for movies – there’s just too many of them to see to waste time and there are few that I enjoy so much, I’ll watch twice. I have watched WALL-E probably 12-15 times. I own the DVD (one of about 10 I own, including the entire Futurama set). I have a copy of the Blu-ray at work hidden from my wife who told me not to buy it. I have a Blu-ray player at work, so I can “test” HD systems…. and watch WALL-E. LOVE. THIS. MOVIE.
Here’s where the problem begins. I loan out one of my other copies of the movie to someone who has not seen the film. On a rare occasion someone comes back with the movie and says the loved it. We are now best friends and they are allowed to use my car and eat my food. Many people come back and say “Aw, that was a cute movie!” I ask them if they think it should have gotten at least a a Best Picture nod, and while I really loved Slumdog Millionaire, didn’t they think that an animation could easily stand up to those films, especially The Reader – ha! Who cares about stupid Kate Stupid Winslet and her nazi reading bullcrap. So they stare at me. There are a very few that come back and say, without fail, these words: “It was boring.”
BORING? Like a sunrise over a tropical island boring? Are you colorblind? Were you born at the age of 60, demanding fiber and hating everything good in this world?
Andrew Stanton has created some of the most memorable films in the past 15 years: Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, and the list goes on. Why would a man capable of such amazing stories that entertain young and old create something “boring.” Maybe he believes the art of animation isn’t just for kiddie cartoons, and that it can express beauty, humanity, and world-themes through unconventional means. Maybe he thinks that creative sound design can tell a story that no human voice could have expressed. Who knows, but I do know that WALL-E was an incredible moment for me when I saw what a team of dedicated, creative people could do with a bunch of computers, software, and passion for their art.
I don’t really think I need to review the content of WALL-E. We know it’s about a little robot who is plucky and courageous, risks his life for true love, and in the end gets the girl. We know it has some incredible scenery that are hard to believe are computer generated. We know that the wacky side-kick is expressed through a cockroach in a way that makes us uncomfortable, but impressed that it could be done. We know that the sounds that came from Ben Burtt‘s imagination were so realistic and deeply human, that it made us forget we were watching a couple of robots in a trash-filled wasteland.
I know some people will find The Triplets of Belleville a bit grotesque and strange. I know not everybody appreciates Charlie Chaplin as Hitler in a comedy. But to watch this movie and then dismissively call it “boring” without at least recognizing the significance of the film and the technological achievement that it represents, even while missing the story altogether… well, I pity you. And hate you.
The Fat Man gives this movie: