I, like seemingly everyone else and their brothers, saw Wall-E this past weekend (shout-out to EA for the invite!). Before anyone flips out because of my negative-sounding post title, please rest assured that I did enjoy this movie. I am not surprised that it was #1 at the box office, or that I've read nothing but glowing reviews of it.
As you know, though, sometimes I have a different take than the other critics out there, so I feel like I have to point out a few things I could've done without in this latest Pixar flick. But first, a quick nonspoilery recap for those of you who have been living under a rock and do not know the movie's premise (I say this only because I started seeing promos for the film over a year ago, and the marketing for it seems omnipresent--look! A bus just went by my condo with a Wall-E poster splashed on its side...).
Wall-E is about a robot named, uh, Wall-E, who appears to be the only object still moving around on Earth (well, except for roaches, but we all know they can never be destroyed!). One day another robot arrives (courtesy of a huge spaceship that drops her off) and starts checking out what's going on around the planet. It's love at first sight for Wall-E, who then follows Eve (the female robot) back to where she came from when her spaceship returns to collect her.
OK... so that is what I thought the movie was going to be about based on the trailers I had seen. Judge for yourself:
And at a very high level, that's still the overall plot. But there is a much darker theme running throughout the film regarding what exactly went wrong on Earth, and why it is that no humans have been back in over 700 years. Though you cannot claim I'm ruining anything when I say that Wall-E of course still has a "happy" ending (Pixar IS owned by Disney, Master of Happy Endings, remember), I actually didn't think the ending was that joyous. I was left with a feeling of hopelessness... and I dare say I was a little depressed. If you've seen the movie and understand what I'm talking about, definitely leave me a comment... I have put a comment that has spoilers in it after this post already so that those who have seen the movie understand my beef a bit better.
I also thought the movie was a tad too long. It was 97 minutes, which doesn't seem like it should feel too long, but there were several "false endings" that got old. I think they could've easily cut out 15 minutes. The little girl sitting behind me was yelling, "I want to LEEEAAAAVE!" at about the same time I thought the movie could've wrapped up... so I rest my case.
Now that my complaining is out of the way, let me tell you why I still liked the movie overall and would definitely recommend that you see it:
1) The character of Wall-E is awesome and is an instant classic. I sincerely hope they are already working on a Wall-E ride at Disney World, because he's going to be loved by the kiddies for a long time. Most of my favorite scenes were when Wall-E was by himself, doing goofy things.
2) While I wasn't as enamored with the girl robot, Eve, I liked some of the other "bit player" robots on the spaceship... especially the obsessive compulsive M-O, who wanted to keep everything clean.
3) Though the foreboding tone I talked about above was a little disconcerting, the truth is, it is necessary. I am glad to see that this movie didn't shy away from making a statement on how humans treat both their bodies and their environment, and what the future could be like if our need for more, more, MORE! doesn't subside soon. There aren't too many other children's movies I can think of that take this route, so kudos to the writers for having the guts to "go there."
4) I really liked how Wall-E made the "Mac boot-up" sound whenever he recharged. But hey, that's just me being a nerd.
5) The Pixar short film that was shown before the movie (at least in my theater) was great.
6) Peter Gabriel sings over the closing credits, and I love me some Peter Gabriel.
I am hard-pressed to think of someone I know who wouldn't like this movie. I wish it had been slightly shorter and had a more definitively hopeful ending, but all in all, I give Wall-E a thumbs up. It has also made me want my own personal robot really badly (this is a lifelong dream of mine... one day, I WILL have a robot, dammit!).
If you saw it, let me know what you think!