WALL·E

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dave roman
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Post by dave roman » Sun Jun 29, 2008 7:52 pm

"I also loved the sound design by Ben Burtt and enjoyed the score by Randy Newman."

--Actually it was Thomas Newman, who did the Series of Unfortunate Events movie soundtrack, one of my most favorite film scores in recent years. He did some good music for this film as well!

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jen
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Post by jen » Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:33 pm

My reaction was pretty similar to yours, Kazu. The Earth portion of the story was everything I hoped to see in a modern all-ages movie, but the subsequent scenes really floundered with its overt preachiness and reliance on in-your-face slapstick humor to carry the character development. Of course, Pixar never fails at making entertaining movies, and I was certainly entertained. But it is a little disappointing to me that modern all-ages movies seem so desperate to keep your attention that the stories seem more driven by plot twists than genuine character development. I understand its part of the pressure making expensive movies that you give the audience enough bang for their buck, but I feel with WALL.E, there was the potential of something like a Totoro, a subtle, magical film centered around empathetic characters. The political messages would still be there--you got them from the visuals before any words were spoken--but as a backdrop to the love story. My heart really wasn't with the humans or their fate, it was with WALL.E and EVE when they were dancing in space.

Additionally: I LOVED the inclusion of live-action footage in the first half. Matched with the realistic environments, it made WALL.E's world on Earth so much more believeable.

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Ganter
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Post by Ganter » Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:52 pm

I thought it was so-so. I think the movie "Contact" did a better job at invoking that outer space feel... space felt rather small to me, like it was on a sound stage, if you know what I mean? I'm kind of picky about my outer space, though. :P

Also, I kind of lost interest once I found out EVE had a personality. I thought Wall-e was supposed to be *special* because he was the robot that "had one little flaw: a personality!", as the trailer put it. It turns out every robot has a personality, so why is Wall-E special again? because he's stuck on earth I guess? And then the sudden appearance of a HAL-like evil red-eyed robot towards the end seemed slap-dash type of plotting... and the Captain who is a type of human that is so fat and lazy that it can't even sit up to reach his coffee suddenly has energy to "not just survive, but live", after 700 years of living in space and not caring (just for context: 700 years ago it was the 1300s), and overtake the tacked on computer villain. What's the difference between surviving and living, anyway? They're stuck on a cruise ship in space being pampered to the point of looking like bloated children. They're doing more than just surviving, obviously!

I dunno The whole thing seemed kind of confused. And I was hoping for even less dialogue. Even though the robot language was musical in tone, it still felt like a language because they moved and acted like humans with their lips sealed together. They could still make human gestures (like sheepishly trying to hold one's hand) and mumble. I guess I was kind of expecting something more animal-like, like Homeward Bound...

So overall I felt the film was okay. But I have to admit, besides Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc, I was never really a big Pixar fan. There's something about their movies that always felt a little over-polished and non-personal, so maybe it just wasn't made for me...

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Joey
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Post by Joey » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:47 am

Ganter wrote:... and the Captain who is a type of human that is so fat and lazy that it can't even sit up to reach his coffee suddenly has energy to "not just survive, but live", after 700 years of living in space and not caring (just for context: 700 years ago it was the 1300s), and overtake the tacked on computer villain....
Ha ha, I have to admit that I didn't feel very confident in the humans' ability to rehabilitate Earth into a livable environment at the end.

I see what you guys mean about the story getting muddled. I still enjoyed it a lot though. It's definitely one of my top movies of the summer.
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Kazu
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Post by Kazu » Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:28 pm

dave roman wrote:"I also loved the sound design by Ben Burtt and enjoyed the score by Randy Newman."

--Actually it was Thomas Newman, who did the Series of Unfortunate Events movie soundtrack, one of my most favorite film scores in recent years. He did some good music for this film as well!
Ah, that makes sense! I was wondering why it sounded so different for Randy Newman. Heheh. I also love Thomas Newman's work. I have the Finding Nemo and A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtracks on my regular iPod rotation...
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Phil
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Post by Phil » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:34 pm

Agree with Kazu and Amy 100%.*

Kazu, your film studies degree really shines through in your excellently written reviews. You should be a contributing writer for some of the entertainment magazines.

I don't always totally agree with you, but you have encapsulated here exactly what I felt about the movie. The primary story was being so well told I felt really let down when it got upstaged by a series of save-the-plant set pieces.

Man, I loved the first 30 minutes... :D


*except for the part about Amy's not liking most of Pixar's films that much... ;) Hey--I guess they were made for me, not you--hehe!

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One of Pixar's better films...

Post by [adam] » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:40 pm

Kazu wrote:Spoilers ahead...

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed by the film. Not because it was bad - it wasn't - but because the film offered such a nice premise, a beautiful first act setup, which was squandered when the narrative moved its way into space. During the first scenes I remember feeling that I was watching a very good film, something quite sweet and magical, but that feeling almost completely dissipated after spending far too much time away from the story that I believed I was watching: that of a lonely little robot seeking companionship, even love.
Potential Spoilers...

I agree and I disagree, or rather, I feel less strongly about being completely turned off after they leave Earth.

It seems to be the overwhelming consensus - the first 30 minutes are real cinematic gold. I was instantly drawn in. Here's a robot that, with almost no sign of hope for life, continues to do his job, and more importantly, displays a genuine will to survive. And why? For duty sake? For adventure? For love? And to see that it's innocence and curiosity rivaled that of a child made it all the more endearing. Right off the bat we see that, as Kazu so eloquently put it, it's just "a lonely little robot seeking companionship, even love".

The love interest was great, because it played off their robotic personalities so well. For example, Wall-E was literally "old-fashioned" - a few tiny quirks, hard working, not attempting any fancy/flashy/extravagant to win a heart, etc. and EVE, who was new age, no-nonsense, to the point, sleek and efficient. The juxtaposition of the 2 was enough to make the relationship all the more engaging.

Now, going into space - yea, they lost some good momentum, and yes, the heavy-handed social commentary was a little hard to swallow at times, but it didn't ruin the the movie from the first 30 minutes for me.

I strongly feel that Pixar was trying to run with a metaphor that never came through. They established this "plant", which to me, was really a growing love between Wall-E and EVE - it essentially brought them together. But then they turned it into a vessel for "save the human race" or "humanity beats technology" and they lost that metaphorical connection with the characters at that point. That's where Pixar missed the exit to make this piece REALLY shine in my opinion.

I guess to end though, I was so, SO, SO happy to see an animation company take a chance and (essentially) pantomime a main character. "Why say it when you can show it?" It seems forgotten in big feature films these days, like the audience won't be smart enough to understand. I hope other companies take notice and try the same - I think it was wonderfully successful.

Overall, I liked this movie. I really liked it. I'm a pretty big stickler for story myself, but I gotta think - working in a animation house THAT big, with THAT many people trying to tell what THEY think is important, I'm almost amazed that got those first 30 minutes spot on. haha.

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Post by jcaffoe » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:06 pm

Man, Kazu, this might be the first time I disagree with you ;)

I felt like the satirical aspects of the film were really well intertwined with the cute love story. What it came down to for me, though, was a matter of programming.

Wall-E was special because he had hopes and dreams that went beyond his programmed 'directive'. Throughout the film he spends his time trying to get EVE to do the same. I thought that was a great, simple story, and had the film centered on that I would have been perfectly happy.

Then that theme was echoed through the human element. It really started to hit home when I realized that just like the robots, the humans in the film had been programmed. The consumer culture, satirical as it was, was a really great parody of today's world, namely the lack of appreciation for our environment and the lack of physical contact. Wall-E's antics, and the people's reaction to them, help reinforce the message of looking past your programmed routine without being preachy or heavy-handed. It was a bold move adding a human element to the story, but one I feel paid off and made the film stronger as a whole.

What still resonates with me, though, is that it was essentially a film about the power of holding hands. I felt like it was one of the most unique and important messages I have gotten from a film in recent memory.

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mr cow
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Post by mr cow » Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:57 am

i wonder, had the film decided to stick to only pantomime and robot characters, if it would have stayed as strong as that first 30 min? i like to think it would have, but there's always the chance it would have started to become stagnant and boring. something about adding that human element in there, in which the humans didn't even seem very human, almost made the robots feel more human. does that sentence make sense? and it was by wall-e's interaction with both the directive driven robots and robotic thinking humans that brought out everyone's distinct personalities. also- what would a pixar film be without john ratzenberger? :)

anyhoo- i thought it was beautiful. i'm pretty sure i could have watched wall-e rolling around collecting trash to thomas newman and old show tunes for another two hours. but his relationship with eve is what hooked me. and had eve not started to share wall-e's sentiments, i would have started to feel really depressed and alone with wall-e for too long. i needed that love story. so amy- yeah, i guess this film wasn't for you :wink:. eve needed to have a personality, specifically her personality, for that to work.

but i'm pretty much with kazu for the rest of the film (man, more often than not, you articulate what works or what doesn't in a movie, kazu). it almost seemed like the filmmakers were going to create this "keep eve & wall-e separated" angle that you mentioned- and they did for a while- but the whole satirical portrayal of the human race muddled everything up. though to be honest, it was the most entertained i've been preached to about something in a long time.

i think that satirical element is what kept wall-e from being really incredible rather than just really good. and i think it's worth watching a second time to fully take some aspects in. i didn't expect that the humans, or at least the captain, were going to play such a big part and that really caught me off guard. the movie just kinda become something else halfway through and i had to reinsert my brain into it. i'd like to go see the film again knowing this, and finding out if my enjoyment of the movie differs any.

all in all. i still loved the film, for all the reasons most of us seem to agree with. and i think even these little complaints are pretty harsh criticism. i go to movies to be entertained and i was never un-entertained. pretty much, this has been the most consistently good summer movie summer that i can remember. :)
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Post by dark77778 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:09 am

jcaffoe wrote:Man, Kazu, this might be the first time I disagree with you ;)
Same, and I'm going to see Wall-E again though, but with your views in mind Kazu to see if I can understand a bit more where you're coming from. Personally, it seems to me like you were expecting to see a different movie than what you really saw, though it's not like there isn't any disputable evidence against your point, I'm just disagreeing with your opinion...but we'll see if this changes when I go see it a second time.
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Post by thirdeyeh » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:22 pm

I just saw it and I'm sitting somewhere at a solid B scale for the whole film. It was pretty entertaining, but ultimately I didn't walk away from it with any real lasting impression (other than Pixar are still amazing storytellers). As a film its solid. Graphically the same, but the heart in the film just doesn't resonate. I honestly film like Pixar hit a peak with Finding Nemo that is going to be very hard to reach back up for. All of their films are solid, but FN is just flawless and so anything after ha this huge wall to try and jump. I also think experientially Nemo left such a lasting impression with so many that even if other films are great, which they are, they don't leave quite the same impact.

But off that soap box. In general I found Wall-E the character to be immensely entertaining to watch, but like others have kind of said, the subtext is glaring at points, so much so that it overshadows the character.

So, solid film. I would put this somewhere in the middle for me though. My favorite is still FN, then Ratatoullie and Toy Story.
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Post by dark77778 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:19 pm

*Spoilers...though I think we can assume now that everyone's seen the film that wants to*

Even still though, after watching it my second time, I found that Wall-E did not break character or motivation. Seriously, he could care less about the Axiom for the most part, he's just cutely blindsighted by Eve. It's Eve though who has multiple motivations and the only time that Wall-E changes motivation, is when Eve changes motivation because he's in love with her.

*MAJOR SPOILER...just in case you didn't read above*

This happens at the point when Eve is trying to find Wall-E a new motherboard and she throws the plant aside and changes her directive, and so he says "Earth" in response as a "You want to help me, okay, get me to Earth because the part isn't here."

Even though the subtext can be glaring at points, but if it weren't for that fact, then there'd be plot holes, which is something that's more glaring and unforgiving to me than anything [and I can count two minor ones in the film already so that's not too bad].

Clearly though, there are mixed opinions though and when I watched the film the second time I understood where the nay-sayers were coming from, but I still wouldn't chalk it up to being a bad film or even just an okay or good film. It's a great film, just not entirely what some people may have been expecting. Maybe next time Pixar just should have the other events happening in the background instead of the foreground...but then again, the kids might not get that bit becausesome were confused enough as it was.

Ganter wrote: And then the sudden appearance of a HAL-like evil red-eyed robot towards the end seemed slap-dash type of plotting.
Yeah, I got Tron and HAL flashbacks but I didn't care because I was like: "Kay, they need a base motivation, the story isn't about the captain anyways so I can't expect much in terms of that sort of originality." Besides, I found it to be a better take on the Master Computer than Tron ever was. A giant evil wheel beats another Zordon clone any day.
Ganter wrote: I dunno The whole thing seemed kind of confused. And I was hoping for even less dialogue. Even though the robot language was musical in tone, it still felt like a language because they moved and acted like humans with their lips sealed together. They could still make human gestures (like sheepishly trying to hold one's hand) and mumble. I guess I was kind of expecting something more animal-like, like Homeward Bound...
Homeward Bound had tonnes of dialog though! I agree with the robot dialog though, I was expecting a little more R2D2, but again...the kids were confused enough by the body language, I think that it was good enough. Besides, Wall-E more or less just said his name. Eve did a lot more talking because she was more advanced.
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CameronCN
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Post by CameronCN » Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:10 pm

Dangit, Kazu, how'd you manage to make me mad? I hardly ever get mad about anything, especially in matters of art, which heaven knows are terribly relative to the observer...yet you did. How?

I guess it was because you were criticizing something I loved for letting you down, based on what I think are unfair perceptions of the movie. Which still wouldn't bother me at all normally, but...dangit, how to say this nicely...

Well, let's just say I found Amulet very disappointing in the same way you've been finding recent Pixar movies disappointing. Not that that is something you should take personally, just that's why this bothers me. Pretty silly, when you think about it--what business is it of mine? None at all. I'll shut up now.

(And anyway, I'm hoping that the second volume of Amulet will prove me wrong on my judgment. I wish you the best.)
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Nick
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Post by Nick » Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:03 am

CameronCN wrote:Dangit, Kazu, how'd you manage to make me mad? I hardly ever get mad about anything, especially in matters of art, which heaven knows are terribly relative to the observer...yet you did. How?

I guess it was because you were criticizing something I loved for letting you down, based on what I think are unfair perceptions of the movie. Which still wouldn't bother me at all normally, but...dangit, how to say this nicely...

Well, let's just say I found Amulet very disappointing in the same way you've been finding recent Pixar movies disappointing. Not that that is something you should take personally, just that's why this bothers me. Pretty silly, when you think about it--what business is it of mine? None at all. I'll shut up now.

(And anyway, I'm hoping that the second volume of Amulet will prove me wrong on my judgment. I wish you the best.)
Cameron I believe kazus opinion of Wall.e is just that, an opinion. Just because there were elements he took issue with, doesn’t mean you should take it personally and there’s no reason why it should spoil your viewing of the film, just like it won’t for myself when I have the opportunity to view the film. Amulet has nothing to do with this particular forum topic and to bring it up in what can be quite easily perceived as a tit for tat gesture does not do you justice. You might not have intended it that way, but it can certainly be read that way.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing this film when it’s finally released over here in the UK, the wait is excruciating, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it. A good year for quality CG Flicks me thinks!
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Post by CameronCN » Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:40 pm

...I was hoping no one had responded so I could delete it and pretend I'd never said anything...
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