There are some films that transcend being popular; move beyond cult classic and even ascend past a true classic. Movies like these become part of our popular culture. In the past films that have entered these treasured heights have included ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘E.T. the Extraterrestrial’. They have the simple themes of looking for a way home and defining relationships. Now, another film will certainly join this illustrious group;
WALL-E’. Unlike the others movies just mentioned this is in an animated film. Films of this type have been popular since the Walt Disney studios started using animation for featured films back in the late thirties. They were able to show us worlds that could never exist in the real world and by doing so have captured our collective imaginations. ‘WALL-E’ is a delightful mix of science fiction and fantasy that will draw in audiences of all ages. This is a film that can truly be fully enjoyed by parents and children alike. It was produced by one of the newer but most innovative animation studios around, Pixar Animation Studios. They specialize in the latest trend of animation, computers. It is only fitting that they are currently under the umbrella of the people who moved animation to a legitimate part of the art of cinema; Disney. As groundbreaking as Pixar has been in the past they have demonstrated they are far from done in their search for better ways to tell stories. Unlike their previous films which were completely prepared on the computer this one introduces live elements taking the format in a fresh new direction. Their corporate strategy seems to be working. If you look at a list of Pixar films you will see one massive hit after another. All of them so far have been nominated or won Academy Awards and their works have helped inspire the Academy to create a special category to honor animated films. This film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Pixar through parent company Disney. Even if you don’t have children around the house this is more than worth while owning. It is something that you will never tire of watching and most importantly enjoying.
The film is based on an original story by Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter. The screenplay was crafted by Stanton and Jim Reardon. Stanton is no stranger to animation. He has worked on the ‘New Adventures of Mighty Mouse’ before moving on to the Pixar team with ‘Toy Story’, ‘Monster’s Inc.’ and ‘Finding Nemo’ to name a few. Reardon also worked on writing for ‘Mighty Mouse’ as well as being the supervising director and working in the art department for several episodes of ‘The Simpsons’. The story they present here is sheer whimsy. It is about a little forgotten robot that has to rise to the occasion of saving mankind. What is truly special about this film is the lack of dialogue. This presented a difficult challenge for a pair of writers in coming up with situations where the animated characters can tell the story largely without speaking. There is also a love story here and it typical science fiction fashion it occurs between a pair of robots. Of course they are highly anthropomorphized and extremely cute. These men stay true to one imperative for Pixar. The story has to be light enough so as not to disturb the kids but strong enough to engage the adults. ‘WALL-E’ contains a popular and important message for our times; the ecology. It is not as if this theme is buried in the plot; it is right up front but done in such an expert way that it never comes across as preachy.
Stanton has directed a couple of other Pixar films you might have heard of; ‘A Bug’s Life’ and ‘Finding Nemo’. The later was also one of those rare films that touched the hearts of the audience so you might say that Stanton is on quite a roll. Since this film would include real elements Stanton made the very wise move of consulting with cinematographer extraordinaire Roger Deakins as to how to get real looking lighting effects in the animation. Deakins has worked on such amazing films as ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘House of Sand and Fog’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’. The result is something that makes it easy to forget that you are watching an animated film. You just sit back and let the movie enfold you in its strange and wonderful world. As mentioned there is very little in the way of dialogue here; the first thirty minutes or so not a word is spoken by our little robot friend. Real devotees of cinema will feel a definite familiarity with this section of the film. By some miracle of technology Stanton has resurrected the essence of Charlie Chaplin. WALL-E moves about the desert junk yard the earth has become with a childlike wonder and amazement with what he finds. It is as if the character is channeling Chaplin’s most beloved and enduring character, the Little Tramp. You don’t need words here. The actions speak far louder and much more effectively. There is a gentle grace to this little robot. In science fiction it is not unusual to find a robot with emotions but none have been done with the poignancy of WALL-E. if you are not moved by this performance than set off immediately to the Wizard and request a heart.
WALL-E, which stands for waste allocation load lifter—Earth model, has been patrolling earth for over 700 years. The human race has left earth and now lives on a space ship roaming the galaxy. The move was instituted by the ultra large box retail outfit, "Buy n Large". They took over every company and government on earth and deserted the planet when waste all but took over. The original plan devised by CEO Shelby Forthright (Fred Willard) was to have the population leave for five years while the robots clean up the planet. Now 700 years later the people are still in space and because of the lack of gravity are now obese and can’t do the most menial task without robot assistance. Eventually the corporation sends a new probe EVE (voiced by Elissa Knight) t find plant life. Just recently WALL-E discovered a little green shoot and placed it in an old shoe for safety. WALL-E has been very lonely. His only companions are some roaches and an old video from ‘Hello Dolly’. Now, with EVE he has a chance to have a companion. He shows the little plant to EVE and her programming forces to store it in a compartment in her body and relay the data to the humans. The flagship picks her up and WALL-E unwilling to see her leave attaches to the ship as it takes off into space.
As you should expect by now this Disney DVD and Blu-ray release contains much more than just the film. There are several ways to get the movie and no matter which one you choose it will be great. There are variations of both the DVD and Bu-ray that also contain a digital copy of the film for transfer to your PC, MAC or another such device. This is a great film that will entertain everybody.
Posted 11/09/08 Posted 01/26/2019