Wall-E (review)

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Soul of the Machine

Remember that Spike Jonze Ikea commercial from a few years ago, the one that made you feel sorry for the discarded desk lamp? Wall-E is like that, except where the Ikea ad was a parlor trick — a magnificent, ingenious parlor trick, but still a parlor trick — Wall-E is art. Hell, it’s philosophy — it’s practically religion.

I mean that. Pixar’s latest miracle is, on the surface, about a little robot, but it’s really about us, we humans, and how brilliant we can be, and how foolish we often are. It’s spiritual in the secular sense, in inadvertently (or maybe intentionally — I don’t know) asking us to contemplate the great things we are capable of, and how we so frequently fail to even try to live up to that potential. Not as individuals, but as a culture and as a species. It’s a kind of spirituality that we’re gonna need if we’re gonna survive ourselves — the warning-bell news today about how the rapidly warming Arctic will likely be ice-free this summer suddenly makes Wall-E seem urgently relevant — and I can’t think of another movie that even comes close to this one in trying to gets its head around that idea.

Because Wall-E (the voice of Ben Burtt), this little robot, is our creation, and that’s not even a name — it’s just a description of what the robot is: Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-Class. It’s 700 years in the future, and Earth is literally trashed, a stripped-down garbage dump, an ecological disaster so vast and unfixable that the humans long ago up and left to who knows where. But the beginning of what’s so amazing about Wall-E is that it is still operating long after all its little fellow trash-cleaner-uppers have ceased functioning. It wanders the ruins of planet Earth, dutifully doing its now-lonely, pointless job of scooping up the junk, compacting it into cubes, and piling those cubes into what have become mountains of trash.

Writer-director Andrew Stanton creates a horrific vision of an empty, wrecked future Earth, and his animators have painted a world that is beautiful only in its ugliness: dusty and dirty, covered with the disposable detritus of humanity — everything from fast-food wrappers to broken-down cars to abandoned mega shopping malls; a sickly sun just barely breaks through an endless overcast; you can practically taste a metallic tang in the air. It’s a classic SF dystopia, rendered so photorealistically that it’s almost impossible to believe all of this came out of a computer… and yet the heartbreak of it — it made me cry, it’s such a poignant representation of human senselessness — is constantly warring with Wall-E’s joy, for he doesn’t realize that he’s in a dystopia. He’s alone, but he’s not unhappy.

I switched to “he,” because the technological miracle of Wall-E is that what was once merely a machine has become sentient, prompted, perhaps, by the other mysterious bits of human civilization he encounters (the ones other than him, because of course he’s really just another bit of forgotten junk). He has made a collection of inexplicable doodads that, maybe because of an odd unexpected spark across his CPU, suddenly began to enthrall him and fill him with curiosity: Rubik’s cubes, strings of Christmas lights, videos of Hello, Dolly, and a million other strange and marvelous weirdnesses.

Wall-E — and Wall-E — is almost the saddest thing ever, a cross between E.T. and those Mars rovers that just won’t give out: he’s a wonder of human ingenuity and yet also a product necessitated by human folly. He is a deeply touching symbol of us as both our own gods and our own demons. And Wall-E is Toy Story — both Toy movies were also written by Stanton — taken back a meta step, not about one little boy and the artifacts of his childhood but about the whole human race and the artifacts of the ignorance innocence we’ve yet to grow past.

This film isn’t a comedy: it’s a tragedy, a complicated, breathtaking tragedy that gets more tragic the more it veers into comedy, as happens when Wall-E meets a new friend in Eve (the voice of Elissa Knight), a sleek robot who arrives on a spaceship on, seemingly, an exploratory mission (her name is an acronym, too, but to reveal what it stands for would spoil a key plot point), and further, as Wall-E follows Eve when she later leaves Earth again. And it’s tragic in part because we get confirmation that our suspicions — first raised in the ruins of Earth, which are dominated by the debris of a megacorp called Buy ’n’ Large — that humanity devolved into an idiocracy are in fact true. And it turns out that Wall-E and Eve are more human than what humans have become.

Not only is this not a comedy, it’s not a kids’ movie. They won’t be bored by it, but they’ll miss what’s so special about it. It’s so exquisite — from the near-silent-movie-ness of it during its first half to the brutal but candy-colored satire of its second half — that people will still be watching this movie hundreds of years from now. And if we’re not lucky, and not smart, and not wise, those people will watch Wall-E and they’ll know that we knew that the ruination of the Earth was possible, and that we did nothing to stop it.


Oscars Best Animated Feature 2008

previous Best Animated Feature:
2007: Ratatouille
next Best Animated Feature:
2009: Up

go> the complete list of Oscar-winning Best Animated Features

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j4yx0r
j4yx0r
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 3:34am

I had no idea this movie would be as subversive or scary as it turned out to be. It completely floored me.

The last film I saw in theaters was The Happening. The juxtaposition hurts my head. This is how you bring the message that (I think) Night was trying to convey. I mean the cautionary message — not the thinly shrouded Creationist stuff, of course.

I was horrified by the rampant consumerism and human apathy that Wall-E’s world conveyed. On the surface, the hyperbole is funny but that shell is so thin. The moment I started to process what I was actually seeing, I realized I was watching one of the scariest films I’ve seen in a long while.

~j

John
John
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 4:19am

Beautiful review. I have to see this movie! Thank you!

Vikrambir I. Bagga
Vikrambir I. Bagga
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 6:11am

Wall E’s utopia surfaces deep within, in the razed and desolated city lands of a now abandoned earth. The beautiful interplay between the battered ‘Hello, Dolly!’ VHS tapes and slides scrolling in the background creates a haunting and visceral thematic resonance to the wonderfully made 20’s cinematic pieces; moving you from within, letting you wonder what has just happened, and what is the lonely abandoned soul to do, but think of a thing as beautiful as LOVE, something so surreal & mysterious as a thing a Robot’s isolated soul could dream of; to feel, to be touched.

My heart pounded with their first kiss, a vignette so wonderfully crafted and surreal. As close to bliss animation could get. Truly miraculous in all feats of the arena.

PIXAR stamps a truly impressionable case of sophistication, sentiment, and a lovable story of a heart-smitten cute little bot who just can’t get enough of his counterpart, creating a magical world of the unreal and unseen, through the medium it knows best and the wisest of tools at it’s dispose; ANIMATION & is so evocative in it’s narrative that it would make any’s heart melt. Not to be dismissed by adults as a kids’ movie, for this is not in totality. It’s a miraculous film, suitable and to be absorbed by all ages and kind.

Maurice Webb
Maurice Webb
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 2:48pm

I was blown away by “Wall-E”. I stepped into the auditorium briefly, telling myself, “I’ll only watch for a moment, then catch the rest on my next day off”, and soon found myself seated, glued to my seat, and that my eyes were not so seldom wet with tears.

parris
parris
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 2:55pm

Damn.

That’s all I can say when I see something this good, when I get a taste in my mouth that I don’t want to wash away for at least a month.

Damn!

It’s the best thing I’ve had the pleasure of feasting on in a while.

I have to use the ‘G’ word here…

Wall-E is GENIUS. Pure and simple.

Geoff
Geoff
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 6:36pm

When EVE thought she had lost Wall-E in the space sequence, the way she reacted was the most poignant and heartbreaking expression I have ever experienced in a film, followed by pure and utter joy. By far the best Theater experience I have ever had.

PaulW
Sat, Jun 28, 2008 10:46pm

It’s been said elsewhere, and I think Ms. Flick herself mentioned it, but Pixar has yet to make a BAD movie. Ever. Spielberg or Hitchcock or Ford or Bergman or Fellini can’t claim that. Pixar movies you think are weak are still five to ten times better than any other animated film made since Lion King (and even Disney’s best classics like Lion King or Beauty and the Beast would have a tough time beating out Pixar’s top three films). Even their shorts are classics.

The tricky part about watching Pixar films? Figuring how to rank which one better than the others!

I mean, here’s my list, and people will definitely fault me for putting one over the other…

1) Incredibles. Not just a great film, but also one of the top 3 superhero films ever. Additional kudos to Brad Bird for the voice performance of Edna, and for answering the debate on superhero fashion (NO CAPES!)
2 and 3) Toy Story I & II. You’ll notice nearly every Pixar movie has a Moral, but how that Moral gets presented is so subtle and moving you never mind, such as with these movies about love and abandonment: what happens when a child outgrows the toys that love him/her…?
4) Monster, Inc. Great buddy interplay between Goodman (the Oscars should nominate voice actors!) and Crystal, and it ends on the best closing scene ever… a monster smiling…
5) Finding Nemo. What I said about Goodman deserving an Oscar nod goes triple for Ellen DeGeneres, whose voice performance as Dory anchors (pun intended) the whole movie. If you’re not crying when Dory begs Marlin not to leave her… tsk. With the undersea images, possibly the most beautiful film ever.
6) Ratatouille. The plot, let’s admit, meanders a bit, but the striking visuals, and the underlying Moral – not Anyone Can Cook, but Do What You Love – propels the movie to its enjoyable ending.
7) Bug’s Life. One of the funnier movies on the list. The plot’s derivative – Three Amigos, cough – but it’s pulled off well. With one of the best cartoon villains ever, and one of the most frightening villain deaths ever!

Cars I haven’t seen. I have nephews handy so maybe they can loan me their copy. :-) Planning to see Wall-E tomorrow…

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 2:03am

Pixar has yet to make a BAD movie.

Yes, they have: *Cars* sucks. And the best that can be said about *Finding Nemo* is that it’s inoffensive but forgettable.

Jan Willem
Jan Willem
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 7:31am

Hello MaryAnne, thanks for your canny review, which only aggravates the month-long wait for Wall*E over here in the Netherlands.
I wholeheartedly agree Cars wasn’t much good, but frankly I’m surprised you consider Finding Nemo forgettable. There’s no accounting for tastes, I guess. (Oh yes there is, it’s called reviewing.) As a European with a pronounced aversion to the maudlin sentimentality often featured in American films I thought Andrew Stanton’s previous effort was both affecting and truthful in its depiction of a father-and-son dynamic. Admittedly, the ending was a bit of wish fulfilment, but that happens in all kiddie pictures. (In real life above and below sea level parents are less inclined to acknowledge their mistakes.) The lack of mind-blowing insights into submarine life didn’t bother me as much as it obviously did you. And as to the lack of fishy characters: the sharks were decidedly dubious.

darryl
darryl
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 9:29am

this movie broke my heart. a deep well of wisdom and love to rival the greatest works of art man has ever created. do i lie? i think not.

parris
parris
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 1:40pm

Gotta agree with MAJ about Cars.

But I’d gladly endure an occasional ‘Cars’ if it means I get a Wall-E every so often. It’s worth it.

PaulW
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 1:49pm

Just came back from seeing it.

Wow.

Definitely better than Nemo. (psst. My nephews would disagree with you about Nemo being forgettable (they still wanna join the fish tank’s club OO HA HA). And I still remember the ache in Dory’s voice when she’s begging Marlin not to abandon her)

Now, you may be right about Cars. I still haven’t seen it… part of me is afraid, I don’t want my heart broken… ;)

P.S. Did your theater include Presto as the opening short? I LOVED IT!

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 2:41pm

Yes, I saw “Presto,” and it’s wonderful.

PaulW
Sun, Jun 29, 2008 11:39pm

Started watching some Wall-E AMVs on YouTube… I suddenly wondered if anyone good with video editing would make a Battlestar/Wall-E crossover vid… :evil grin:

YeagerTheCat
YeagerTheCat
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 12:45am

Just got back from seeing it with our five year old. Best thing from Pixar since the Incredibles. Sure it may have flaws, but overall at remarkable piece of film making. Exceptionally pleased with it.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 10:32am

What flaws do you see? The film looks perfect to me.

Dan Duquette
Dan Duquette
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 10:40am

Oh my goodness! Regardless of the fact that Wall-E was incredible in every way, I’d actually pay a couple bucks just to see “Presto” again! ♥♥♥!!!

darryl
darryl
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 10:59am

saw the movie for a second time, just to make sure i wasnt being overly indulgent on the first viewing.
there is no denying, in my heart, this is the greatest achievement in movie making ever. best viewed alone, i think, to allow ones emotions to flow without the worry of the quantum disturbances associated with being around those we know.
its e.t as a 12year old all over again for me..i will see wall-e many more times.

allan
allan
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 11:29am

@PaulW

Bug’s Life is more of a retelling of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Maybe Amigos is too, I haven’t seen it.

darryl
darryl
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 11:52am

anyone who truly loves movies inadvertently becomes a critic. perhaps anyone who loves anything deeply, does..even love itself?
so using another pixar movie as a metaphor, i experienced the same thing the critic “ego” from ratatouille– i saw star wars when i was a child, and that was it, movies were it for me. then came raiders of the lost ark and e.t. what a time to fall in love with the magic of movie making. but to be honest, since then, ive had a love affair, but its more like a like affair, where i defend movies, but never really see the redeaming qualities past the point of its fun to watch a movie– as ego sat down and ate the ratatouille his eyes dialated with delight and he was transported back to his childhood to when he really fell in love with eating. back to the innocence.
i felt that exact same thing.

Pen Dragon
Pen Dragon
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 3:19pm

Not sure what, if anything, I’m missing, but I was supremely unimpressed with Wall-E. It had at least two transcendent ideas, that of the robot gaining self-awareness and learning to live as a sentient being (what a silent movie that would have been!); and that of humanity consuming itself to death and literally drowning in its own waste products, and then (d)evolving into what we see aboard the Axiom, and possibly returning to Earth and life. (A third bonus idea, that of humans learning to live as sentient beings after centuries of sterile, disconnected sociability, is introduced, but is touched on so lightly that I’m not sure it counts.)
None of these ideas is treated thoroughly, and by skimming over them the way they did, the Pixar people indicate that they couldn’t have adequately addressed them, and so discarded them in favor of kid-movie slapstick.
I realize I’m probably the only person on Earth that didn’t like this movie, so I’d better be clear that this is in no way a joke, or a trick to draw out even more praise for the film; I honestly, sincerely, really really didn’t like Wall-E.
Does anyone out there agree? I’d settle for someone understanding without condoning, but I’m probably just going to get flamed. Good hunting.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 3:40pm

I decree that no one shall flame Pen Dragon.

Hypocee
Hypocee
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 4:05pm

No, you’re not alone. There are a couple of critics out there who think A) that it’s just a big old pile of Message or (in one case) B) that it’s got interesting ideas, inconsistently followed, but is slow, boring and analytical to the point of being unsuitable for kids.

As for the “flaws” mentioned upthread, I think enough time has elapsed that I won’t be read as speaking for YeagertheCat. Most of the criticism in other…criticism…centers around the third act; that the humans have screen time out of proportion with their character development, making the film drag while we watch uninteresting ciphers instead of the characters we’ve been bonding with from the start.

I’m seeing it tomorrow night, so I can only report others’ words for now.

Mark
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 4:41pm

I can understand where your coming from Pen Dragon. I liked the movie, but I also was turned off by certain parts of it. Any moment with a human in it simply didn’t work for me. The movie was %100 about Wall-E and Eve in my eyes, and anything taking away from that was a distraction.
The environmental message does seem awfully heavy handed as well.

*spoilers ahead*
.
.
.
.
.
The ending was a bit lame. Was there ever any doubt that Wall-E would be ok? That might work for kids who haven’t seen such a scene ten million times before, but I was not amused. I still like that he finally got to hold her “hand”, though. I’m not THAT cold.
.
.
.
*end spoilers*

Despite the “flaws”, the good definitely outweighed them.
Wall-E and EVE were robots with LIFE in them. They were so well done.

*more spoilers*
.
.
.
The space scene when Wall-E is ejected and blown up, only to end up flying around with Eve. Beautiful.
The whole first chunk of the movie before they get to the ship was great.
some of the robots on the ship were amusing, such as the cleaning one, and the other “rejects”

Overall, I would say it was a good movie, but certainly not perfection like so many people are saying.

AlanM
AlanM
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 10:35pm

I liked Wall-E, but I didn’t go nuts over it (The Incredibles? I went nuts. Ratatouille? Nuts. FWIW, I agree with MAJ about Cars. Meh. That just proves that they are human and makes me appreciate the good stuff even more).

SPOILER

If the movie had stayed on Earth it might have been better. I didn’t think the tone of the two parts worked well together (I also wanted them to continue the no-dialogue high-wire act). I didn’t really believe some of the things that happened in the second half (people who have been sedentary their entire lives are not just going to get up and walk around and I had no problem believing that a rat could cook so don’t give me this suspension of disbelief crap and why in the heck would they want to go back to Earth???? It’s a hell-hole!) and I thought the message was a little heavy handed. I also didn’t like EVE’s girlish simper (that seemed like too much of a stereotype and also too human. Wall-E’s emotions were very real and yet he remained 100% a robot). And how wierd was it to see actual non-animated people in a Pixar film? What was up with that?

END SPOILER

That said, someone find me a Wall-E robot with matching cockroach for my desk post haste or there is going to be trouble. I mean it.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Jun 30, 2008 10:51pm

There are a couple of critics out there who think A) that it’s just a big old pile of Message or

I find that “criticism” fascinating because it seems to me that the “message” is all in the subtext.

Was there ever any doubt that Wall-E would be ok?

Actually, I wondered, because the rest of the movie was so stark that I could easily have seen Wall-E being sacrified to the higher cause.

James T
James T
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 1:00am

I thought WALL-E was good. I don’t think it’s going to be one of my most favorite Pixar movies but I enjoyed it. My kids also enjoyed it although it had much more drama than they are accustomed to. I think that speaks well of any movie that can hold the attention of a 9 year old girl and 7, 5 and 3 year old boys. As a point of reference, one of our favorites is Cars so the tone was quite different for my kids to grasp. (Cars is one of very few movies that I see differently from Mary Ann probably because we live in the Southwest and drive V-8’s etc.)

My kids said they enjoyed the humor and since they dig sci-fi (we’re all Star Wars nuts) that also kept them and me entertained. I’d also like to applaud the advances in CGI Pixar has made with WALL-E. The earth scenes where stunningly rendered and quite a leap over anything else they have done before.

The only part of the movie that took me out of the moment was ***SPOILER ALERT*** when all the fat, sloby, never walked before in their life humans come running off the AXIOM as though they would have no problems going from microgravity to earth gravity. Otherwise, the love story between two robots was very well done.

amanohyo
amanohyo
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 11:57am

Pen Dragon, Mark, AlanM, and James T express a lot of my reservations about the movie; I definitely feel that there was a bit more cheating in the characterization of Eve as opposed to Wall E, whose personality seems to grow naturally out of his original function. Fundamentally, Pixar is facing the artistic dilemma that all American animation studios will eventually have to solve.

On the one hand, their ability to produce subtle, nuanced performances from their “actors” and generate complex emotions in their viewers has improved dramatically.

On the other hand, they have to shake themselves out of the Disney mindset that animation is primarily for children and is only capable of painting emotions with broad, happy strokes.

Wall E is almost perfect up until the moment it boards the ship and leaves Earth. From that moment on, it is clearly a children’s movie. Sure, it superficially tackles some serious problems, but it has no depth. No one with half a brain doesn’t already know that we are polluting the Earth, or that Americans have an issue with a sedentary lifestyle based on consumption (this movie neatly sidesteps what happens to the poor people on the planet… eaten? left behind to starve? servicing robots?), and the riffs on 2001 have already been done far better in many, many other sci-fi movies.

If they really want to push the medium as far as it deserves to go (as Japan regularly does), Pixar needs to split off an adult-animation division. I’m not talking blood and boobs “adult,” I’m talking leave the two robots on Earth, cut back on the “haha Wall E shore is clumsy” slapstick, let Wall E lose “his” memory completely forever and explore how Eve deals with the loss and tries to rebuid a small part of the Earth (and her memories of Wall E) on “her” own… perhaps even trying to reteach Wall E after Wall E and never quite succeeding in recapturing what she lost.

That’s just one scenario out of many “adult” possibilities, but the simplistic slapstick, overweight cartoon captains, goofy sidekicks, and forced happy endings gotta go. All this stuff was merely a distraction in some other Pixar movies (Monsters Inc., Ratatouille), others were purely children’s movies to begin with (Cars and Nemo), but in this film these features are an obvious liability, a commercial cancer. There was an amazing movie inside Wall E that was aborted, and it shouldn’t happen again just because Pixar doesn’t want parents and kids to get fidgety or depressed.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 12:52pm

No one with half a brain doesn’t already know that we are polluting the Earth, or that Americans have an issue with a sedentary lifestyle based on consumption

Are you sure about that?

amanohyo
amanohyo
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 1:26pm

I hope so… if not, there are a ton of people with serious denial issues out there (or so poor, they’re just worried about putting food on the table). I doubt a lot of kids realize these things yet though. I heard the environmental light bulb switch on for a couple youngsters sitting in front of me, which was pretty cool.

As a pro-environment robot love story for kids in wealthy western countries, the movie works wonderfully. But it led me on by promising to be so much more in the beginning. Or rather, so much less, but explored much more deeply. I still liked the movie a lot, and the credit roll at the end was awesome.

Molly
Molly
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 3:15pm

ooh… I loved it but it does feel like two movies… the first… stunning. The second… a classic pixar flick.
I think they should have done two versions, one for kids with the pretty colorful fat humans and then another, adult version, for the people that were in awe over the first part, set partly in earth, partly in space (if the humans had all died on the axium!) just for the most amazing scene EVER… and you guys know exactly which one I’m talking about…

Define: Dancing. That was the best scene in the entire movie, maybe next to the…

SPOILER!

Scene where eve finds out what happened in her coma.

SPOILER OVER!

I want an eve for my desk!!! She would match my mac perfectly!!!
Oh, and computer geeks: who else had a fit of laughter when wall e booted up with the mac sound? Seeing as Steve Jobs approved the idea, i suppose it was a favor… and there was an ipod in walle’s collection of stuff. I loved that.
Yes. I am in love with apple, and by extension, eve.

The score is also amazing!!! go look it up!!!

j4yx0r
j4yx0r
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 3:27pm

Disney, in an astoundingly hypocritical move, decides to sell cheap Wall-E crap (contains Wall-E spoilers so don’t click if you care). They’ve even gone the extra mile by creating a ‘Buy n Large’ website where you can purchase more cheap crap. Sad. Sad. Sad.

~j

bitchen frizzy
bitchen frizzy
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 3:50pm

Heh.

And coming in time for Christmas is the Wall-E robot toy…

Pen Dragon
Pen Dragon
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 9:26pm

I’d like to thank you all for your understanding, especially the flame ban, MAJ.

Spoiler alert:

The part that I found most interesting (and so most disappointing, given its treatment) was what might have happened to the humans once they reached Earth. They’re all morbidly obese, overrun with who knows what kind of futuristic obesity diseases (diabetes, of course, possibly a host of others that don’t manifest themselves until the fifth generation of absolutely sedentary life; after 700 years of nothing but Slurpees, who knows if they can even digest real food anymore?); it seems that most of them have never walked or performed any physical labor more strenuous than pushing buttons; they have lost (presumably) their natural immunities (due to the ultra-sterile environment and lack of physical interaction with any living creatures) and they think pizza grows on trees. On top of their lack of survival skills, Earth is still polluted and covered in trash, not at all suited for large-scale farming.
My first thought, seeing the humans beginning to resettle the planet, was something like “98% of those people will be dead within a week.” This probably would not cross the minds of most kids, but the main selling point of Pixar’s previous masterpieces was that they were accessible to kids without being childish.

AlanM
AlanM
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 9:32pm

Can I get my Wall-E toy first and *then* jump on the anti-consumerist bandwagon?

And amanohyo, I love your suggested ending to Wall-E. It would have been total box office poison, but Pixar could have made an essentially dialogue free, tragic love story between robots that would have broken your heart. I can understand why they didn’t make it, but I wish they had anyway.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 9:53pm

who else had a fit of laughter when wall e booted up with the mac sound?

*raises hand*

Molly
Molly
Tue, Jul 01, 2008 10:30pm

I think that gravity was there, but to a lesser extent. You can increase and reduce the gravity of things. I’m sure so far in the future, we could do it somehow.
And also, wouldnt plastic surgery have become mainstream? They could get skinnier by lipo and tummy tucks.
I think that in this world, technology came to a screeching halt when people went on the axiom. So, everything sort of makes sense. The robots took the jobs.
And, what’s funny is that the Axium was a “Utopian society” with everyone equal, except the captain, of course. Dosent being exactly the same as everyone add spice to life? NO. The people, it looks like, were pretty unhappy.
So… its sort of sending conflicting political veiws a bit… but I have a feeling wall e wasnt meant to be annalized to THIS level. Maybe I’m missing something obvious here…

Allen Darrah
Allen Darrah
Wed, Jul 02, 2008 4:38pm

I wasn’t so deeply impacted by a movie since… well, I can’t remember. I think your review had the appropriate weight for what was, I think, one of the most brutal, fundamental, beautiful, and poignant movies I’ve ever seen.

I can’t help but love where animation and storytelling is today. Quality of this magnitude isn’t usually seen in American animation so I’m really just so very happy with WALL*E for so many reasons.

Typically I only judge Pixar against Pixar, as competition in the medium is really just lacking. I can consider Pixar films on par with other cinema in a lot of ways, but basically I always end up comparing Pixar movies to other Pixar movies, which is probably unfair (and might not be the case anymore with WALL*E). Initially I still thought The Incredibles to be a better movie, and it still might be, for me, from a pure “entertainment” standpoint. But WALL*E was, actually, perfect. I wasn’t as entertained as I was during The Incredibles while watching WALL*E, but I’m definitely more impacted after the fact.

PaulW
Wed, Jul 02, 2008 9:11pm

Side note: this might be the first year the Oscars give out an award for Best Robot: your nominees are Wall-E, the Fire Extinguisher Bot from Iron Man, and David Duchovny.

>:)

darryl
darryl
Thu, Jul 03, 2008 2:19pm

the world is deeper than anyone has ever imagined. who woulda thought it would take a superficial device like computer animation to show this.

critique this movie at the expense of your humanity.

amanohyo
amanohyo
Thu, Jul 03, 2008 5:20pm

Whoah… you’re freakin’ me out a little darryl. Are you saying I gotta tear up my human card because I think the last part of the movie is sorta shallow? That kind of inflexible idolatry is almost… robotic.

Oh hoho, do you see how I have turned the tables? Now it is you good sir, whose humanity is in question for disagreeing with me. Seriously though, nothing is above criticism because nothing is a flawless masterpiece to everyone… as far as I know.

What deep insights did the movie impart to you? Did it open your eyes about what we are doing to the planet? Did the ending leave you optimistic about our ability to overcome the social and environmental problems we face? Did it motivate you to go to the gym more often and buy less useless crap? Did it move you with a tale of a love that no laser could destroy?

I guess I’m just asking how exactly did the movie give you an impression of the deepness of the world? The technology on display was beautiful, the characterization of Wall E was brilliant, but didn’t the last half seem a tad trite?

darryl
darryl
Thu, Jul 03, 2008 6:49pm

when an innocent little plant rises up amongst a world of towering garbage, one must have the wisdom to protect this and see how special it is regardless of what they want to think. it is our obligation as critics and human beings to understand and see this.
to help the seed grow..to help others experience it in a positive way.

amanohyo
amanohyo
Thu, Jul 03, 2008 7:37pm

It clearly touched you pretty deeply. Well, I suppose it can’t be too bad of a movie if it makes people feel like there are special things in the world. I just wish I could feel some of that positive energy too. Seems like it’s getting harder and harder to experience anything that happens in a purely positive way. Maybe a happy little robot love story about the rebirth of the planet is a perfect antidote for the blues. But will it be a catalyst for any real change? I don’t know.

celticdragon
celticdragon
Thu, Jul 03, 2008 7:48pm

I agree with clavj that much of the tone and styling was strongly reminiscent of Silent Running. I wonder that other people have not noticed that as well. The 2001 HAL comparison was pretty obvious.

As for liking it? I ask myself if the movie affected me on some level, before I ask if was entirely consistent, historically accurate or some such.

Yes, WALL*E grabbed me. It was moving, and I came close to tears at times. I didn’t bawl, like I did when Hector (Eric Banja) went to his doom before the walls of Troy at the hands of Achilles (Brad Pitt).

I didn’t stare in open mouthed shock and horror, as I did at the end of Michael Mann’s beautifully realized “Last of the Mohicans”. (hey, I didn’t read the nearly unreadable book in that case)

It grabbed me quietly, and held me enthralled. It was both deeply disturbing, and yet joyful. If you haven’t figured out how the makers of the movie managed that trick…well…neither have I.

darryl
darryl
Thu, Jul 03, 2008 9:22pm

i could get even more philosophical about this movie, but im sure id start sounding insane…if i dont already.
so i ll leave it at this.

as deeply philosophical wall-e is, it understands love and innocence trump idea and concept.
enjoy.

:-)

Dan Duquette
Dan Duquette
Fri, Jul 04, 2008 7:58am

“I definitely feel that there was a bit more cheating in the characterization of Eve as opposed to Wall E”

Ummmmm, she booted with a MAC sound. That’s enough characterization for me.

Like Apple with all their newer products, “BnL” spent much less time on rough edges, squares, and fine, cosmetic details. They spent more time on smoothness, sleekness, and efficiency. They left no room for personality.

Sooooooo: Eve was made much more sleeker, and programmed more efficiently. She did her job and would end never collect things care about material things etc. She didn’t have ANY personality until she met Wall-E.

amanohyo
amanohyo
Fri, Jul 04, 2008 8:52am

I was mainly talking about the relationship between Eve’s function: *Mini Spoiler* to search for evidence of plantlife, and “her” personality: easily frustrated, violent, powerful, proud of her job, maternal.

I’m not saying she doesn’t have a personality– she’s got tons of personality. It just sorta emerges without much connection to her function (except perhaps her respect for proper procedure). Again I understand, in the interest of time and fidgety kids, they had to move things along.

In comparison, watching the first part of the movie, it’s very easy to understand how Wall E could have slowly and naturally developed “his” obsession with the objects that he compacts and stacks. It’s not a huge deal, but it did feel a bit like they established Wall E as a curious, lonely child, and then forced some stereotypically feminine pesonality traits onto Eve that really don’t have much justification. Maybe the programmers at BnL are just odd that way.

Dan Duquette
Dan Duquette
Fri, Jul 04, 2008 10:58am

I was too tired earlier but now, I definitely see where you’re coming from, she did have quite a destructive personality before Wall-E’s severe cuteness softened her up a bit. We can all have our opinions but we can never really get into the heads of Pixar and see exactly what message they meant to convey about every little detail.

Another note: I am not into video gaming very much,(I blame it on not having enough time, with all the movies I watch) but I did enjoy a very intelligent puzzle-based game called Portal based in the Halflife universe, Eve did remind me of this game, many a time.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Jul 04, 2008 12:06pm

as deeply philosophical wall-e is, it understands love and innocence trump idea and concept.

I think part of our problem, as a culture, is that we value “innocence” too much and devalue “ideas” too much, so we’ve ended up in a place where knowledge is dangerous and people who are too smart are suspect. Perhaps we’ve always been like this: certainly the story of the Garden of Eden is a cautionary tale about the dangers of thinking for yourself. Perhaps our maturity as a species will come when we figure out how to be wise *and* joyful at the same time. I thnk this movie is both, and as such, is an extreme rarity.

darryl
darryl
Fri, Jul 04, 2008 5:25pm

wise and joyful..the gay science! f.n.

although im sure we are on the same page, i dont believe its intelligence that is feared, its wisdom. intelligence fears wisdom, because both come from different places. intelligence is clever and desires to exploit, wisdom comes from a deep rooted understanding of the force that binds all things together. innocence is where wisdom comes from, oddly enough, the same place true love comes from. intelligence is just a way to get the upper hand on everything and exploit it until there is nothing left to take– and comes only from chemical reactions in the brain.
actually, id go so far as to say intelligence is a form of retardation arising out of the weakest of the species..but since id get lumped in with the intelligent, and i dont believe im retarded, the jury is out.

again, i think we agree, i just wish to take it a step further.