Monday, September 8, 2008

Wall-E Movie Review

Went out to see the movie Wall-E earlier and decided to put up a review for you guys...

BOTTOM LINE: Pixar have done it again, producing another fantastic, visually stunning computer animated film about a trash-compacting robot with a heart that kids (and adults) will love.

THE GOOD: Pixar Animation Studios has built a reputation for establishing the benchmark of quality for computer animated films; in watching "Wall-E", it's not hard to see why. Much thought and care and has gone in to the character design, story and visuals to create an incredible future world where humans have left Earth because they've turned it into a garbage dump and only trash compacting robot Wall-E is left over, dutifully going around doing his job.

However, he's been doing it for so many centuries that he's developed a heart; he's lonely and yearns for company. His lonely world is changed when a visiting space ship deposits a probe called Eve on Earth. At first, Wall-E is frightened, and almost gets blown to pieces by Eve's arm gun (in a number of amusing scenes, Eve switches from sweet, sleek probe to gun-toting probe out to destroy in a second). Eventually, Wall-E convinces Eve he is no threat and starts to show her around his domain. When Wall-E shows her a plant he found, a series of events take place where the two end up back at the human space ship Axiom where the human race has been living for the past seven hundred years. Now with proof that life can grow on Earth again, the humans can return to Earth but not before the Axiom's autopilot tries to stop them in a fairly funny 2001-esque riff.

The story is quite nice and cute, and the amazing thing is that director Andrew Stanton and his animators successfully convey a 90 minute-long story with virtually no dialogue. In the first half of the film with the two robots, everything is conveyed visually, and this is where the strength of the Pixar animators is on display: the character animation is first rate (as an example, Eve has a sleek, reflective design and throughout the film, even the detail of the reflections of her body is flawlessly rendered), the visuals on the wasteland of Earth are absolutely stunning (you'd think they were really filmed), and the sound is perfectly captured in the audio track. Of course, kudos has to go to the execution of the characters, with Wall-E in particular conveying a number of quirky character traits. There are also a number of nice touches as well such as the fact that humans have turned in to fat, lazy slobs who do not do anything except sit in hover chairs watching TV all day, allowing the computers to do their work. Wall-E is another strong film from Pixar which should not disappoint unless you're not in to this type of thing.

THE BAD: As good as this film is, there are a few minor points. Wall-E himself, although spectacularly realised and designed, bears more than a striking resemblance to another loveable character, E.T. Wall-E's head, both in design and movement, is very similar to E.T (albeit faster) and it might have been nice to try something different. The other minor point I would make is that the visuals seem more computer-animated in the second half of the film when Wall-E and Eve show up on the Axiom. The humans on the ship are computer generated and unfortunately the film also has some scenes featuring real humans so the basis of comparison is glaringly obvious, despite the fact that they have an explanation for the visual design of the humans in the film. Also, compared to the stunning visuals in the first half, the shots on the Axiom seem more like a cartoon.

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