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Jul 1, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Wall*E

Derivative, repetitive, and mostly boring, Wall*E has to be considered the most overhyped, overrated piece of garbage (pun intended) of the new millennium. Tugging at your heartstrings with Louis Armstrong, Hello, Dolly and shades of R2-D2 is no way to make a modern masterpiece, much less one swathed in eco-morals and romance between inanimate objects.

Ah, who am I kidding? (You, hopefully.) Wall*E is far and away the best film of the year-to-date, one that follows in the Pixar/Disney tradition of being as much (if not more so) for adults as it is for the kids. Even Maxine, the fictional curmudgeon made famous in all those Hallmark cards, couldn't help but be smitten by the lonely trash compactor with a heart of gold.

Maxine had better bring her glasses to the theater, though, as director Andrew Stanton has crafted the most beautifully animated film my eyes have seen, surpassing Pixar's previous effort, Ratatouille, by leaps and bounds - a statement that might have seemed blasphemous just a few months ago. That's all the more amazing considering that much of the film takes place on a desolate, tarnished and left behind Earth that's filled with more trash and pollution than one could ever dream.

Well, maybe not everyone. Much has been made of the homages the film features, from the silent movies of yesteryear to 2001 to the aforementioned R2-D2, but it owes its non-love story premise to that of Michael Judge's Idiocracy, a brilliantly immature satire so rudely ignored by audiences and critics alike just two years ago. From the mountains of refuse to the big box stores larger than some small towns to the salvation that a single plant brings (and many, many more examples), I can't help but feel that Judge ought to be receiving a hefty check from Disney any day now. (The irony of Disney, one of the country's largest corporations, not-so-thinly veiling an assault at Wal-Mart ought to be mentioned as well, but at least their heart is in the right place.)

Though it's not perfect (even at just 103 minutes, the third act does make it feel a bit long), Wall*E stands on its own two treads as a beautiful work of art, and one that should be seen on the largest screen possible.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You're the best...around!"

13 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Wall*E"

Ryan McNeil said...

Heh - for a moment there I thought you were working on yet another Bizarro post.

Good review, couldn't agree with you more!

Anonymous said...

Your opening paragraph is part of the reason why I read the rating before the review. :-)

Glad you liked the film! I loved the Hello Dolly bits. I remember seeing one clip of it in the preview, and when the music started in the film I was amazed.

Anonymous said...

Grown men were crying in our theater. It was insane.

I want a Wall-E now just to follow me around, keep me company and play me selections from "Hello, Dolly". Because that's how I roll.

Myherobobhope said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie... but after getting out of the theater, the more I think about it, the more it annoys me...

Well, not really ANNOY, but there are some significant problems with the world that they crafted.

1. Why, if they can build a robot that lasts for 700 years on sunlight, did they not have "farmer" robots tilling the earth and trying to rebuild an enviroment.
2. While we could pollute the earth enough to make it untenable for humans, I think we'd be hard pressed to destroy ALL life...
3. No one is really "cleaning"... Wall-E is just moving the trash around... I'm not sure how that would help.
4. Is an on earth green house really that difficult to build?
5. If the ship was self sustaining for 700 years, they wouldn't be throwing piles of trash away into space.
6. Speaking of piles of trash, if they had developed GIANT FUCKING TRASH ROBOTS, why wouldn't they be used on earth? Energy doesn't seem to be an issue.

There are some other things that I consider wrong... but it is certainly just nit picking. I didn't think about ANY of that until about 30 minutes after I had left the theater. Throughout the movie I was 100% engrossed, and loved every minute of it.

All movie producers should be forced to see it just so they finally learn that building a movie around a good plot and well developed characters is more important than "marketing to the right segment" or whatever bullshit logic they use to create movies like "Fly me to the Moon"

Nick said...

Good God, Fletch... your opening about gave me a heart attack... and I've been working out excessively to try and stop that from happening.

Foy Lyndstrom said...

You made no mention of "Presto", or the trailer for "Up". I have not seen Wall-E yet, but I am almost more excited to see the trailer for Up and the short film Presto than for the movie Wall-E itself.

Fletch said...

@ Mad Hatter/Nick - glad it worked. ;) I tried to sell it good.

@ Cinexcellence - damn cheater. The Dolly and other classic song bits were the touch of class that really do send it over the top. They almost seem too easy a device, but they're effective nonetheless.

@ Farmacy - some excellent points. I'll try to give you some answers:

1. Perhaps because Buy 'n' Large didn't have that on their agenda. It was more to their benefit to stay in the air, wasn't it? Of course, that would lead to the question of why Wall*E was there in the first place...

2. Hey, there was a cockroach. And, as Mrs. Fletch mentioned, if plant life was possible, it's likely that there was much more of it (and other signs of life) in more rural areas where the trash/pollution weren't so rampant.

3. This would be a good point, but I think they covered this. As Wall*E was running around Earth early on, there were some video screens/ads that illustrated that he and his kind were there organizing before humans left. That was their initial purpose.

4. Good point.
5. Good point.
6. Really good point, until you consider my answer to 3. That "class" of robot wouldn't have worked with all them humans around.

That Fly Me to the Moon looks horrendous, and I can't believe how blatantly it cops from Alvin and the Chipmunks for its three protagonists. It's offensive - they might as well have thrown in a guy named Dave and made them sing...

@ Foy - Presto was cute and clever, but there's no reason to be more excited for it than the feature. It's a nice throwback to Looney Tunes, but no more, on par with the Goofy cartoon shown before Ratatoiulle.

Fletch said...

Oh, and I didn't see a preview for Up.

Daniel said...

Somehow I made it through without crying, but I did laugh out loud a few times, which doesn't typically happen for the animated films.

PIPER said...

A little post Bizarro going on there at the front.

I too was very impressed with this movie. I wished it could have stayed on Earth the entire time. It became a little too cartoony once we hit the mothership. But to me, this put Pixar and American animation, back to the front.

Nic Cage said...

I felt bad laughing at the fat people, due to the fact that an Orca-Fat lady sat next to me during the movie.

Second best Pixar flick next to The Incredibles.

Fletch said...

@ Daniel - I was surprisingly close at times, too. You gotta have a stone cold heart not to fall for the little guy.

@ Piper - this movie has been nothing if not critic-proof. I haven't gone looking or anything, but I have yet to see anything close to a negative review, so I just wanted to shock a few people. :)

@ Nic - The next poll...what's the best Pixar flick? I see a tight 3-way race between this, Nemo and the Incredibles...oh, and maybe Ratatouille, too. Tough competition. I'm not even sure which I'd vote for right now.

Zenrage said...

Wall-E had its moments and the fact that very little was spoken is indeed an accomplishment. However, I've a feeling that the only reason the story worked so well, regardless of its intentional verbal handicap, is that it was extremely simple and formulaic.

Also, they seem to have the formula down for corporate cute, so even having a setting in a planet-sized waste dump can't bring down the cuteness factor.