Saturday, July 19, 2008

WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008, USA) WALL-E’s basic story lacks originalit-E and conforms to the standard Disney Directive in saccharine condescending children’s fairy tales. WALL-E’s computer generated graphics are extraordinary though most characters are undefined, expressionless and dull. This doesn’t measure up to the hand drawn animation or emotionally complex characters of Hayao Miyazaki: SPIRITED AWAY and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO are the pinnacle of children’s fables even though Disney tried to cheapen them with awful American voice-acting. But this film has a few nice flourishes! Wall-E is a little garbage robot with a personality who, after 700 years alone, has broken his Directive but still goes about his tedious job of crushing trash into little squares. This view of a desolate future Earth is spectacular with trash towers scarping the sky. A beautifully sleek robot descends from the heavens and Wall-E is fascinated and quickly falls in love. The first half-hour has no dialogue except clips from HELLO, DOLLY!. The little droid learns about love from a terrible 20th Century musical: Fortunately he didn’t find a tape of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE or we’d have a completely different film! The first half-hour is the saving grace: Wall-E may be man-made but he is a living autonomous sentient being…he really comes alive. The rest of the story is typical Pixar rubbish though it’s not piled as high as DreamWorks dreadful garbage. At least there are no smarmy pop culture references, idiotic celebrity cameos, or fart jokes. I particularly like Auto’s HAL-like eye constantly observing the captain. The obese and disgusting humans for some unknown reason decide to give up their life of luxury and ease for a bleak and dangerous Earth. The robots mutiny and adhere to their absolute directive and attempt to maintain the status quo. But underneath, the story remains focused upon the little love story (though too sweet and contrived) between two robots. xxx(B-)

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