After finding out the unstoppable Pixar was making a purely technical film about a robot trying to save humanity, I knew it was too good to be true. The first trailer I say – during Ratatouille – was simple and I was hooked. From that moment, I had wanted to see Wall•E… badly. (this is the first animated film I’ve ever reviewed)
Wall•E. The best reviewed film of 2008 thus far, and number one on many a top ten lists for 2008. Hell, even IMDb has the film in its Top 10 Films of All Time. Crazy, huh? Well, I guess I saw the film before the hype got to me, but I doubt it would’ve changed my opinion.
Well, the plot is pretty simplistic, but everything that the film contains truly is complex. The animation is spectacular; the most beautiful animated film I’ve seen. You can tell the animators did an exquisite job on the film if you pay attention to the small details the film has to offer. In one scene, Wall•E puts on an iPod, and for the half of a second you see the iPod, you’re in awe at the detail they used on the iPod. The dirtied and scratched up screen is just great. There are plenty of other things, but there was a problem. Alright, so all humans that live are fat and useless, basically. I get it. But not everyone has to look the same. It just seems the animators spent a lot of time on the specifics on the minor things, and kinda lost focus on the big picture and important things; unless they were supposed to make everyone look the same, then… Alright, so apart from the accuracy the animation crew used to create such a great atmosphere, they also made beautiful backgrounds: shots that I have never seen in an animated film before. Brilliance, I tell you. There’s one scene – it’s in the trailers – where Wall•E is chased by shopping carts. He goes a bit far out of the ‘cameras’ sight, so it zooms in on him, and in this ‘zoom’ in, it goes out and in focus very quickly. Small things like that are what make this film what it is.
Unfortunately, I felt the that the animation was the only place where the film scored major points. As for the story itself… I’ve got to be honest, I just didn’t feel it. Sure, its a technical film, but that by no means makes a film anything more than ‘very good’. Beauty can only go so far. The story, while cute, isn’t executed to its full potential. The story is about a robot, Wall•E, doing his duty and cleaning up some of the world’s garbage so that humanity can return and rebuild the land. So he does his job, and we see that he loves a musical, Hello Dolly, and wants to experience love due to it. I found this part to be touching, but sadly, this was the only touching part of the movie. Eve, a robot designed to look for something (I won’t spoil it for those who want to know the bare minimum going into it) on Earth, and along the way, Wall•E spots her. He experiences love at first sight, it would seem. So these two robots mingle with each other, become friends, et cetera. The relationship Wall•E has with Eve is so cold. I couldn’t feel anything for anything they experience. The most touching scene is where Wall•E is constantly by Eve’s side, and when you see what he’s doing, I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel sorry for Wall•E, I didn’t wish he’d be happy… it was just so poorly executed. I wanted to be apart of their relationship, but it pushed me to a distance in which I couldn’t feel more isolated. Now don’t get me wrong, some of the scenarios are well written and done well and all, but in crucial parts it choked. Fast-forward, both robots are on a spaceship looking trying to ‘save the day’ (again, no spoilers) when they come across a heroic captain and a robot that is similar to Hal in many ways (or so I’ve gathered). Upon this ship is humanity: lazy, fat, almost motionless and ignorant, but yet we’re meant to sympathize for them. The reason for this being is that, well, they’re lazy, fat, motionless and ignorant. All of these things are brought on by the computer working its magic on the people who live in the shuttle. My only problem with pitying these people is that they, in essence, did this to themselves. Alright, not them directly, but their forefathers did ruin the Earth, no? So this is basically the computer’s way of saying “Alright, you’ve done enough, you get to live life carefree, because you clearly cannot take care of yourself. We learn that everyone is nice though, once knocked off their brainwashing chair. I felt that it tried to be a social commentary on what’s to come, and in all honesty, while it did seem plausible, how it was packaged was somewhat of a choke. The film wants to make strong and meaningful statements about how technology will be here forever and will always advance, while the Earth will not. The Earth is fragile, basically. I agree that the film showed this a few times, but never in an outstanding and strong way. As the film was intended for children, I suppose they didn’t want to cram the movie with ‘pointless stuff’ but if they want to make it clear or make it meaningful, they have to do so in a skillful and not condescending fashion towards its audience; which I will admit, is very hard to do. They almost score big time with the message, but it was just not completely there.
All in all, the film – while doing a fantastic job in standing out technically – is not a well built film all around. It has strong points (animation and sound) and weak points (overall story structure and story) and well, while I can’t love it as a complete package, I can love how it was made. ***/****