30 June 2008


WALL·E (2008)
Directed by Andrew Stanton. Robotic sound effects by Ben Burtt.

Pixar once again shows everybody else how you do it. If I were a competing computer animation studio, I would consider getting a legal injunction against Pixar for defaming my product with their quality. Pixar makes everyone else in the racket look like kids trying to use LOGO. (Remember that programming language? I spent a summer in a computer camp learning how to draw a square on my Apple ][+ screen. It was thrilling at the time.)

In fact, Pixar makes most filmmakers, animation or live-action, look slack. They tell great stories, know how to best tell them, and make them look phenomenal.

WALL·E is one of the studio’s best movies. The only film of theirs that I like more is The Incredibles. WALL·E is inarguably Pixar’s greatest visual achievement, creating a fantasy space opera canvas combined with intricate character work. I’m glad that Andrew Stanton didn’t try to realize this project back in 1995 but waited until the technology of CGI could do it justice. Whether showing us an empty planet drowning in trash, or a gleaming spaceship filled with the most incredible array of service robots imaginable, the movie takes computer graphics to yet new heights of imagination.

WALL·E is actually four movies in one:
  • A massive space opera adventure
  • A satire on consumerism and ecological disaster
  • A beautiful love story
  • A slapstick comedy in the style of the classic silent clowns
The filmmakers have put a lot of influences into their CGI blender—Silent Running, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Brian Aldiss’s novel Non-Stop, Hollywood musicals, silent comedies, every boy-chases-after-girl tale—and make it all work as enthralling entertainment.

In fact, I don’t want to talk too much about WALL·E because I want you to see it for yourself. It isn’t a movie loaded with plot twists that I might “spoil” for you, but every moment I mention will be one more moment you won’t get the thrill of experiencing on your own.

So I’ll shut up now.

Go see the dang film.

(Yes, the correct official writing of the title is WALL·E, all caps with an interpunct dot before the “E”. If you can’t make the interpunct dot with your keyboard, a hyphen will work. Did I ever mention I’m a stickler when it comes to writing out movie titles? I like to be official.)