Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wall-E Review

I think it's safe to say that Wall-E is, without hyperbole, one of the single greatest films I have ever had the opportunity to witness. Frame by frame, scene by scene, I cannot think of one element that I disliked or felt out of place. Even things that were presented rather uniquely, specifically the way the humans were presented, was shown in such a way that it truly seemed like a natural extension of human progress.

And what is so interesting about all of this is that the movie is simply about holding hands. The central crux of the movie upon which all else is realized is one robot's dream of holding the hand of someone else. That's it. You wouldn't think that it goes deeper than that. Yet, the resulting depth is one that should resonate with any human being regardless of age.

Wall-E is a robot placed on Earth to clean up all the garbage that was left behind after humanity took off on a space cruise, planning to return in 5 years. Wall-E gets through his day with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement rarely seen in any individual human. He's happy to be alive and does his job with the gusto expected of him. A gusto that has apparently served him rather well over the last 700 years. His only friend is a cockroach who exudes more personality than most characters these days. He spends his evenings relaxing in what he calls home, a giant mobile vehicle that is no longer in use, which he has decorated with the various trinkets he's found during his clean up sessions. And he ends his day by watching a video he's found of "Hello, Dolly" and fantasizing about being able to have a connection like that with another individual. Watching him long for this action, this ability to hold the hand of another, is an incredible sight to behold. The innocence of Wall-E, coupled with his unflinching optimism, makes him one of the most endearing characters ever placed upon the silver screen.

And Wall-E's life changes unexpectedly when a probe robot named EVE shows up and could potentially give Wall-E what he's looking for. The changes he goes through after her arrival are hilarious and subsequently heartbreaking. To feel for these characters, despite their perceived inability to speak, is a testament to Pixar and the phenomenal job they have done to create this world that goes beyond expectations.

It's also a testament to the sound design of Ben Burtt, who again creates such memorable sounds in a piece of film history. While Wall-E and EVE speak in languages we don't understand, the way they are able to emote through the sounds they make and through the audible interactions with the rest of the world is nothing short of breathtaking. Adding to the wonderful sound is Thomas Newman's pitch perfect score that heightens the experience greatly while taking nothing away from it.

Honestly, it becomes difficult to fathom anyone who would possibly dislike this movie. They may not agree that it's one of the best ever, but one would have to be a truly cynical person to actively dislike this movie. I can't say at this time whether it will become one of my favorites. I don't think that something needs to be a favorite in order to be praised as an exquisite piece of film making, but it's certainly possible it could be. It's certainly something I want to see again and I urge everyone who reads this to make time. Trust me. It's worth it.

Pixar again knocks another one out of the park, and frankly, it's difficult to understand how they can make it look so easy when every other film studio surely puts out its share of garbage. This is movie making at its finest and an example set for all others. Here we are, nine films into their existence and only one film falls short of greatness and that's Cars. Cars was still an incredibly watchable film, but just not up to the same sort of quality other Pixars movies are. Regardless, I'd still give them a 9 for 9 in terms of solid movies, and an 8 for 9 for excellent movies. Hopefully someone will come along and copy their business model so well so that we never have to suffer through another big budget awful movie ever again. A pipe dream, I know, but a dream I will continue to have. Thank you Pixar.



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