Thursday, July 3, 2008

Go see this: WALL-E

It’s been so long since I’ve seen Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles that I can’t say for sure if WALL-E is the best Pixar movie ever, but its definitely one of the better movies I’ve seen in the theatres this year. Maybe longer.

By now you probably know the basic premise: WALL-E is a little robot that collects trash. This takes place around the year 2700, and throughout the film it slowly eeks out that in about the year 2100, the earth was so full of garbage that humanity left on space ships. They scattered a bunch of these little trash compactor ‘bots behind to clean up the mess. A few centuries go by, people have yet to return, and WALL-E is the only one of his kind left, diligently going about his business. Occasionally he collects things he finds, like a video of Hello, Dolly! that he watches wistfully, wishing he had someone to hold hands and dance with.

Eventually a friend does come: a “girl” robot named EVE who’s scanning the earth for signs of life. WALL-E ends up following her into space and aboard one of the massive ships humans are living on. A madcap adventure, and even an adorable robot romance ensue. (Humans, by the way, have been sitting in hover chairs and served by robots for hundreds of years, and as a result are pretty much nothing but useless sacks of fat. Kind of the like the audience).

This plot all sounds like it could get terribly preachy about our abuse of the earth and lethargic ways, but one of the beautiful things about WALL-E is that it never dissolves into lecture. The story too absorbing for that. The other beautiful thing is the animation itself. Holy spumoni, how does Pixar do it? There were more than a few times when I forgot I was watching animation. The robots, especially WALL-E himself, are so realistic, as are the dystopian landscapes of garbage-choked future earth.

I’m not usually a big fan of summer movies. They’re fun for the hour and a half you’re in the theatre, but fill them with all the drunk superheroes, resurrected franchises and Robert Downey, Jr.s you want - they still tend to lack the best special effect of all: heart. WALL-E may look like a rusty bucket of bolts cavorting in a kids’ movie, but he’s 100% heart, and you’ll be thinking about him long after the popcorn’s gone.


Red said...

I will go ahead and say, this is the best Pixar movie ever...and the sweetest, most romantic movie I've seen in a really long time.

And, Liz, you have no idea how hard it was for me to not sing along every time they played a Hello Dolly song. You're welcome.

Liz said...

Oh yeah, I should have mentioned that me and Red saw this together, haha. Sorry!

Falwless said...

I cannot wait to see this. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this movie.

pistols at dawn said...

Um...really? I just saw it, and I thought that asking me to identify with a character that can't speak is an unlikely proposition. This is the first time I really felt that Pixar had failed - not animation-wise, because it looked great - but after years of roommates who love anime, the "robot wants to know if it can love" story line is effed out to me.

Plus, "I wanna hold your hand" as a feeling was outdated when the Beatles sing it, let alone now.

Liz said...

It is a kids' movie, Pistols. You expected the robots to get it on?

pistols at dawn said...

Liz, in my mind, I am always expecting robots to get it on. It's why I'm so consistently disappointed, really.

Garney said...

I can't say that it beats Toy Story (which made every Pixar movie possible) but I'd agree that Wall-E is the best of the rest.

My ranking of Pixar movies:
1. Toy Story/Toy Story 2
2. Wall-E
3. Finding Nemo
4. Monsters, Inc.
5. Ratatouille
6. A Bug's Life
7. The Incredibles
8. Cars

They're all so good it's like trying to rank the films of the Coen Brothers (a list that changes with mood).