Wall-E (or how Pixar rocks my socks) [spoilers]

I just saw Wall-E last night and I’m still amazed at how good it is. I love the conception of the post-apocalyptic trash-earth, and how the little trash-compacting protagonist was still dutifully doing his job 700 years after the End. In the opening 20 minutes, they manage to create a 3-dimensional humanity in Wall-E with practically no words spoken, and out of a box with treads and robot eyes no less. And to further that with a great, quirky, and almost equally-wordless romance is just epic story-telling.

When Wall-E and Eve get back to the cruise-liner/generation ship, the story does drift a bit into cheap sentimentality, but it’s a lot less clunky than most movies, and I must admit, the idea of the last survivors evolving into absolutely worthless, obese specimens just tickled my fancy. The ecological message was a bit ham-fisted, but not extremely overplayed, and the iconic symbol of the Last Plant was kinda cool, if scientifically ludicrous.

All in all, Wall-E was just so bloody mesmerizing and imaginative, I really want to give Pixar a huge hug right now. They seem to be turning to the American version of Studio Ghibli in terms of how they’re willing to go outside the mold to give us compelling, fanciful stories with no shortage of humanity. I am liking this trend.

I saw it with my son and we both loved it. After when we were talking about it we mentioned the great characters and the terrific story telling and suddenly it dawned on me that, although there are a few laughs in the movie, generally the Pixar movies aren’t comedies at all, they are dramas. They are dramas about toys and bugs and garbage compactors but compelling dramas none the less.

The session we attended ended with a large bunch of kids dancing around in front of the screen as the credits ran. I got the impression that they had enjoyed it.

I saw it on Friday night. I agree completely. The first 45 or so minutes was exemplary animation, another example of how John Lassiter raises the bar. The standard dropped off a bit later, though, down to the level of merely very good.

We saw it last week, and the first part was just so good. I don’t think it quite did it for all the kids in the audience, but I loved it. The only part that bothered me was the end. They go back to earth where nearly all plant life has been gone for centuries, and just walk out of the space ship and breathe. Kind of bugged me.

And I’m still trying to reconcile the (now) long extinct animals such as blue birds and fish in the credits. Maybe they had an aviary/aquarium/zoo on the cruise ship, I don’t know, but it was still jarring in a “hey wait a minut… never mind I don’t really care, the movie was too good” sort of way.

I didn’t care for it as much as everyone else.
The beginning “silent” portion was great and the abandoned earth was breathtaking. But by the time they got to the ship and it turned into robots running amock it just totally lost it’s appeal.
And for the way Pixar makes it’s locales so breathtaking (the ocean, the west, Paris, tropical island, abandoned earth, etc.) they really didn’t do much with outer space. It never achieved the “awe” factor of floating in the vastness of an enormous void. The made the Pacific Ocean feel bigger.

Me, my wife, and ten year old daughter HATED this movie. We’ve loved all the other Pixar movies. Yes, it had great animation, but we all couldn’t wait for it to end. Apparently we’re the only ones. It seemed like Pixar was preaching to me about consumerism, which seemed odd. And I know this was discussed endlessly here when the film came out, but we all thought the robot looked entirely too much like the one in Short Circuit.

What are we missing?

I absolutely loved it. What’s interesting to me is whether it has replayability.

When we walked out of the theater, my girlfriend and I agreed that we both loved it. She, however, felt that it wouldn’t be nearly as good the second time, because part of the magic was seeing how it all unfolded and watching the romance bloom. I felt the opposite. Almost as soon as it was done, I wanted to go back and see it again.

Pixar movies are almost always great, but this one took it to a new level for me. It’s now a the top of my Pixar heap, and that’s no small mountain to climb.

Genetic engineering. They’ve got to have it, since it’s strongly implied that none of the passengers on the Axiom ever so much as touch each other, and yet they’ve got a school full of children. How? Must be clones. I’m guessing they’ve got a database filled with the genetic structure of enough other plants and animals to reconstruct the Earth’s ecosystem.

I found that my nitpicks disappear when I remember that this is a fable and not a science-fiction movie.