Since the summer has started I’ve been catching up on a few films I’ve been meaning to watch, and there’s one thing that I’ve learned about myself in the process. I would never make a good critic. The reason for this is that if I watch a bad film, I will probably forget all about it within seconds of leaving a theatre. If there is nothing memorable about it, then I would find little reason to waste more time writing or talking about it. So I would’t find much enjoyment in negative criticism that many others enjoy writing and reading. However, the opposite is true of good films. If I come home after watching a great film, I will probably promptly suscribe to the IMDB message board and continue to post and check it periodically. In other words, if the film is a memorable one, I’ll never really stop writing or talking about it. Films like “Princess Mononoke”, “Ratatouille” and “Shawshank Redemption” are found in this long list, and now “WALL-E” takes its place as the latest addition.If there was any company that I would point to for a comparison with Studio Ghibli, it would be Pixar. Almost all of the films they have produced have been of high caliber, with only a few slips. What I love about Pixar is how clear their intentions are for each of their films – they have a destination they want to reach, and they make sure they arrive there in the best fashion possible. Films like “Finding Nemo” and “Ratatouille” are, in my opinion, nearly perfect in their execution of the story they wish to tell. In the mainstream market of Hollywood, the true joy of cinema is lost upon many directors and producers – the simple desire to tell a story from one’s imagination to the audience. It is this simple, untainted concept which has, in my opinion, been the core of Studio Ghibli’s quality films, and also, I believe, those of Pixar.
WALL-E is not exactly a convention film. It is new territory even for Pixar, because the main characters in this film do not speak or converse as humans do. So how does a director go about achieving all the usual desires of a director – enchanting the audience, creating sympathetic characters, making the viewers feel compelled as the plot thickens – when the main characters barely speak? It’s a tough sell, but I knew going into the theatre that Andrew Stanton would be able to pull it off.
I’ll refrain from plot summaries since they are so readily available elsewhere, and instead communicate my own response to the film. This is an interesting and delightful movie for both your senses and your mind. The animation is flawless – the detail given to the various movements of the robots, as well as the environments is breathtaking. Through the animation, the artists have also given WALL-E a persona and identity that the audience can easily connect with. Most of this is in the eyes. In fact, both the main characters, WALL-E and Eve, communicate a great deal through their eyes. The amazing thing about the film, which you really only realize on the drive home, is that Andrew Stanton makes you feel compassion, sympathy, and feeling for a mechanical robot that does not speak a word for the entire film. It’s a very remarkable concept, and shows us how brilliant the Pixar team really is.
Technically, as I mentioned, everything is top notch. The sound is brilliant, especially with the nuanced noises emitted by the two main robots. Thomas Newman delivers some of his most inventive work for the score – focusing more on sythetic and rhythmic music to accentuate the movement of the robots. The visuals never cease to be astounding.
WALL-E is another wonderful addition to Pixar’s already fat list of quality films. If you’re a fan already, there’s no question. If you’re not, you will be.
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