Saturday, February 8, 2014

Revisiting Wall-E

I had the opportunity to re-watch Wall-E for the first time in what seems like ages, thanks to the shocking discovery that my girlfriend - one of the biggest Disney fanatics I know - had never seen it (!) or Up (!!). Granted, she's mostly into the princesses more than anything else, but still.

Throughout the movie I kept thinking about how, creatively speaking, this really was Pixar's peak. That's not to say that every film after it has been bad, but nothing compares to the alchemy that was at work in Wall-E. The film begins with a mostly-silent stretch that makes up nearly a third of the film's total running time, endearing us to this little robot while filling in the backstory almost completely through visuals alone (that one moment where Wall-E trades his treads with an older, long-defunct robot is probably some of the darkest comedy Pixar's ever done; he essentially takes the shoes from a corpse). It goes without saying that Pixar can make us fall in love with two robots in love, but all things considered it truly is a remarkable piece of storytelling in it's own right. But that's not enough for the film, as it also mixes in a great sci-fi story along with sly social commentary on big-box stores, consumerism, environmentalism, and our increasing reliance on technology.

That's to say nothing of the film's stunning animation and visual wit, creating a world that seems very plausible to the point of being hauntingly real. It's a shame to see the film's director, Andrew Stanton, have such an enormous failure with John Carter after this film and Finding Nemo. And it's too bad that Pixar's hasn't - and likely won't - be able to top this charming, beautiful masterpiece.

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