Box Office Boner - Wall-E

After months of listening to Jon blab about "THE BOX" on the Podcast, I've taken it upon myself to occasionally go out of my way to see at least one blockbuster a month and report back to the Bloody Good Horror nerd cave about whether or not it in fact deserves its accolades. Stay tuned for more!

Wall-E

The Skinny

As you no doubt have already heard, Pixar's latest, yes, masterpiece, Wall-E is a great many things. It's obscenely cute. It's visually stunning. It's environmentally friendly. It's more emotive than any drama this side of the Notebook. Most importantly, its the type of movie that makes me want to have kids so that I can continue to enjoy children's films for the rest of my life without having to go alone and getting handed a NAMBLA brochure by a fellow creep.

I will not be as bold to say that it's film, but I can without a doubt say this is the only film I've seen in the past 10 years that has exceeded not only my expectations but the hype surrounding it. However, I think it's ill fitting of such a "jam" for me to try and quantify it by regurgitating all of the internets praises in a blog that is likely not seen by 99.998% of the movie-going community. What I do want to share however, are a few observations surrounding less talked about aspects of Wall-E that I think are very noteworthy.

Children are the perfect moviegoers, most of the time

Let me qualify this first by saying that this example is only really poignant for PG films and under. Obviously a child is not going to "get" or even survive the Strangers, but I digress.

When Allison and I entered the theater for this film I was distressed to see that while it was not full, there were nearly as many children as adults. After noting that I was probably 3 times older than half of the audience with no sprouts of my own, I braced myself for what I had anticipated to be an obnoxious baby fest. Not only were my fears unfounded, but aside from a few outlying children that cried at the explosions (lightweights), the wee ones were silent in all the right spots, and verbal in others. For example, in one particular moment in the film that depends entirely on silence for its impact, a toddler wailed "Wall-EEEEEEE!" in sheer desperation. In any other film, at any other moment, with any other age of interrupter, I would have been furious, but at this particular moment, the "audience" reaction nearly put me over the edge into tears (lightweight). The point here is that if you can, in less than two hours time, build a solid connection between a toddler and a character that barely speaks a word, you are deserving of the highest praises, and if you're a toddler, you're welcome at my viewings of childrens movies anytime!

The preceding short/trailer is a lost art

If there is any parallel to be drawn between Wall-E and Grindhouse its that they both make excellent use of that awkward taint of a time period between previews and the main feature. The preceding animated short has been a staple of Pixar's theatrical releases since the beggining, and through the recent "release" of The Adventures of Andre and Wally B (1984), a newfound attention has been turned to these somewhat forgotten gems. Although Wall-E certainly didn't need a warm up, enough attention was paid to crafting the short that came before it that I was already in prime giggle-mode and not only ready, but excited to see the full feature.

Another aspect of the short that was also visited via Grindhouse is that sometimes, the greatest ideas are more suited for 2 minutes than 200. With so much attention being paid to such an insanely detailed, tight, and larger-than-life feature, I can imagine it's quite the treat to be able to produce a much shorter, yet no less whimsical feature for audiences to enjoy, not to mention the fact that spreading a viral short can only help in promoting your film (Hotel Chevalier anyone?). Just because we no longer need Disney shorts about Nazi's and the war anymore doesn't mean that they don't have a place in cinema god dammit!

We can all agree on something!

With the exception of one contrarian asshole among the bunch, (I'm looking at you, Kyle Smith!), I have heard exceedingly glowing reviews from everyone that has seen this movie. Even the most stone cold bad-asses I know glowed with kiddish glee at the mere mention of the title. My roommate, hard ass extrordinare, has been walking around the house for the past three days doing his "best" Wall-E impression, which I could only escape by going to work, and surprise, seeing Wall-E for myself. I have, on occasion, caught myself wanting to do the same thing, if not involuntarily doing it as if there's a three year old pulling strings in some untouched part of my brain. Even the nostalgic curmudgeons that lament Wall-E's resemblance to Johnny 5 have come around, and if they haven't it's only a matter of time. Although it's hardly a breeding ground for accuracy, objectivity, and quality all around, RottenTomatoes has Wall-E clocking in at a staggering 96% fresh, which I'm pretty sure is enough to make hell freeze over and reverse the earth on its axis. It's about time!

It's time to stop bitching about CGI, and start bowing to Pixar, and others, I suppose

Much like the rift in quality between say, Airplane and The Love Guru, there is still a wide quality gap among the 3D animated features. For every Ratatouille there is a(n) Over The Hedge, and so on. In years to come, it's only going to get worse, but we're fast approaching a time where computer animated features are going to be as numerous as live action. However, Pixar has set a very high standard that they have yet to deviate from in nearly two decades of production. Surely the Kung Fu Panda's of the bunch will come to be praised for a-list voice acting, cute references, and obscene marketability, but much like certain directors seem to rise above the crop, you will begin to see a continued trend of devoted animation houses like Pixar ruling the roost. That's not to say that they will monopolize the genre however, as we are bound to see many gems that emerge from the CG scene in response to the seemingly insurmountable bar that Pixar has set.

In short (yeah right), I think Wall-E teaches the film going and film making audience a great many lessons. For a more in depth review on the film itself, check literally every film site/blog on the entire tube system of the Internet. Sometimes though, the most transcendent qualities in a film can come from assembly and presentation. A film like Wall-E can stand on its own uncontested, but its the small touches like the short at the begining and creative credits at the end that launch this package into the stratosphere. Pixar, fuck yeah!

Intended Audience:
Children, Parents With Children

Extended Audience:
Everyone, literally.

Worth it?
It's worth seeing twice, buying on DVD, and making copies for all of your friends with cute notes about how much they mean to you. So, yes.


Author's Note: If you're interested in seeing this as a full time feature, or you have ideas for movies I should see/review let me know! Let it be said however, that I will never, EVER in a million fucking years, even under threat of Chinese water torture suspended over an active volcano, see "Never Back Down," despite its successes and advances in man-sweat technology.

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