Friday, June 27, 2008

Movie Review: WALL-E

**I would never put in spoilers, by the way**

We woke up this morning with a plan to go and see the new Pixar flick, WALL-E. My daughters have been looking forward to it ever since we saw the preview before Enchanted last Thanksgiving. They're big fans of the Disney/Pixar scene, as are we in general. Their favorite is probably Finding Nemo and they really didn't take to Cars all that well. But there has been constant mention of the upcoming "robot movie" since it's advertising machine started nearly a year ago.

The movie is good. The visual effects meet your expectations 0f what top-notch computer animation should be and the sound effects are very strong throughout; I'm just enough of a nerd to have noticed that the film's title character is voiced by the same guy who did R2-D2 in all six Star Wars movies. There were some new elements incorporated into the movie, too, such as a few live-action sequences, some of which staring the incomparable Fred Willard. It also has a lot of social criticism that I found interesting and exciting. It is a true sci-fi work, embodying our collective subconscious fear of technology in a post-capitalist serfdom.

My biggest criticism of kids movies is when they go on too long or have endings that have one or two too many twists and turns, milking the tension beyond what my kids can take and making their eyes wander the theater for other stimuli. It's not that I want them fully absorbed so much as it seems disrespectful to their target audience.

This movie didn't really have that problem, though. While it was long and my two year old could hardly have stayed sitting for so long without a snack and water, it didn't drag. And while there was plenty of tension and excitement throughout the movie, it was never tedious or just plain too frightening or sad for my kids, at least.

As far as movies for kids go, this one was really excellent. I'm in the minority, I'm sure, when I say that my favorite animated movie of the year is still Horton Hears a Who. But as an entertainment and artistic works go, this one was wonderful and very respectable. It is one with a light heart, but also much sensitivity.I recommend it with full confidence.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

We saw it today as well. My only complaint is that the movie was darn preachy about a problem that it itself is going to heavily contribute to. I'm sure there is already a fast food tie-in, not to mention scores of cheap crap-o plastic toys being mass-produced that will eventually be fodder for landfills. Too much hypocrisy for me.

Sol Smith said...

I don't know of any fast-food tie-in, though I wouldn't doubt it. But I think--at least in this case--it's fair to judge the movie as a work of art separate from it's corporate marketing. Plenty of times a movie is simply corporate marketing (Dreamworks, I'm looking at you), but this isn't a movie ordered by executives to sell toys; it's a movie made by a group of artists who happen to have wonderful distribution. Many movies hire writers to write something chalk full of tie-ins and marketing opportunities totally void of story and message.

That this movie should have a positive message about humanity overextending it's reach simply makes it a sci-fi movie in my eyes, not a hypocrite. No, this movie was a work of art, despite the fact that it is available for a mass audience to view.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I've heard the same arguments levied against Disney by people who oooh and aaaah over Shrek and other Dreamworks fare. I guess more often than not, what we consider "art" boils down to personal preference, no matter how we try to couch it.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I've heard the same arguments levied against Disney by people who oooh and aaaah over Shrek and other Dreamworks fare. I guess more often than not, what we consider "art" boils down to personal preference, no matter how we try to couch it.

Mermade Baubles said...

I loved this movie. We saw it on opening weekend and they gave us plastic WALL-E watches, and they promptly broke and became pretty blue WALL-E bracelets. :/
Hypocrisy maybe, but the fact that people are noticing that there is some hypocrisy involved is like a ray of sunshine, yes?
We can only hope.