(I know it's a wall of text, but it's quite worth the read.)
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
You have never, never ever, ever ever ever seen anything like Wall-E. Ever.
Okay, wait. I’m lying. You’ve seen movies LIKE Wall-E. But they never managed to get quite as far as Wall-E does. Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t another of Pixar’s cutesy family stories with oodles and oodles of heart. It’s kind of got that going on, but sans all the goofy sidekicks, the moronic best friend and the Randy Newman song. No, Wall-E was born not in the 90’s at the fateful meeting that is talked about in the initial teaser trailer, but in the hardcore eco sci-fi of the 1970’s.
Wall-E is the direct descendant of Silent Running. Of Soylent Green. Of Logan’s Run and THX 1138. It is a film conceived and executed by someone who, like many of us as children, saw the inside of the Jawa Sandcrawler in Star Wars, watched all the robots futz around back and forth, and dreamed of what a movie just about THAT would be like. And while it plays around with a lot of very blatant references that even the most barely literate of film viewers would catch, its heart and soul is in those films of the early 70’s when we really believed the world was coming to an end and only Charlton Heston could save us. Or Bruce Dern. Or Michael York.
I would say that Pixar had never attempted anything this grandiose before, but really, I can’t think of anyone that has. It is a singularly perfect endeavor, a monument to what can be done both in terms of animation and storytelling. It is genius. Absolute genius. And it is adorable as all hell.
Wall-E is without a doubt a message film, but one that has been carefully honed to deliver razor sharp observations and profound assessments on the nature of our society. Now I’m on record as hating the living hell out of Happy Feet, a film I find to be representative of everything that is wrong with modern animation wrapped into one frightening 90 minute singing, dancing propaganda extravaganza. It takes its message with one hand and holds your child’s mouth wide open with the other as it stuffs its ideology down their eager little throats. And Wall-E is its antithesis. It is satire, wrapped in speculative fiction, told through the wide, curious eyes of a child – portrayed here as a lovable little Robot named Wall-E.
Most importantly, while it satires modern life and attacks a number of issues – from our rampant consumerism, our growing obesity problem, our slow progression towards a big box/one corporation world, and of course our blatant disregard for the beauty of the world around us for the sake of all those other things – it does so lovingly and through humor. It takes the problems to ridiculous levels so we can laugh at them while finding the truth ourselves. But it draws no conclusions. It is a film that says “Hey kids, here’s what your parents are leaving you. When you grow up, you might want to think about that.” It isn’t about solutions. It doesn’t try to get you to act. Like all good speculative fiction it gives you something to think about – and something for your kids to mull over as they grow up with that message buried deep inside of them
Meanwhile, the beautiful, sweeping story grips you to every frame despite its sparse and rarely direct dialog. It takes you to a nightmare world of the future and walks you through it letting you peer at it through the eyes of a character absolutely fascinated by its past. Never does it dwell on the horror – only the beauty buried beneath – and that one fact is what truly allows this formula to work. It is not a vision meant to terrorize you or your child, but rather to gaze through the looking glass at our own twisted reflection and laugh at it instead. And pine for our own world even as we spend time in Wall-E’s.
And dear god did they pull one hell of a brilliant snow-job with the marketing. You think you know what this film is about? Think again. The trailers encapsulate the first act of the film with small fragments of the second. This thing goes places you did not imagine them going and the result is nothing short of pure magic. An eloquent, lyrical poem about a world we could create if we’re not careful, but most importantly one about an unlikely hero who exists entirely upon the notion of unconditional love.
This is nothing at all like anything Pixar has attempted before. I would say that it’s Brad bird good, but really, this is even better than that. Wall-E is in a class by itself, a nearly indescribable masterpiece of epic proportions that will, regardless of commercial success, be regarded in the film community as one of the very best films in the history of animation. This will no doubt be spoken of in the future alongside such works as Fantastic Planet andFantasia. It is arguably the best thing Disney has ever had their name on and clearly the best with the name Pixar. It will take the Academy Award for best animated next year without anything resembling a fight and will no doubt be on almost every Top ten list you read at the end of the year.
If you have in any way written this off or decided to wait until DVD, you desperately need to reconsider your opinion on the matter. I spent my childhood dreaming about a movie like this. And finally it has come. You really have no idea what you’re in for.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.