Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wall-E

When I go to the gym or go for a jog, I tend to listen to loud, angry music. Metallica, Motorhead, Nine Inch Nails. Songs that get my blood pumping, give me an extra charge. Last weekend, I saw Wall-E, the new Pixar movie. I've loved every Pixar film, and was excited for this new one despite knowing little about it. I saw it with my wife and my sister, and as my sister said before the film started she really didn't know much about it. The previews didn't say much. All we knew was that it was about a lonely little robot who has an adventure in space. But since it was Pixar, I didn't need to be convinced.

The morning after I saw "Wall-E," I went for a jog. Yet when I went through my iPod to my playlist, I realized I couldn't listen to any of the angry songs that typically played over my workouts. Not that day. All the anger and negative emotion was gone. Wall-E, this simple movie starring this simple little robot, was one of the most touching, emotional, and wondrous pieces of art I've ever experienced. I couldn't listen to angry music that day. 

If you have not seen the movie, please do yourself a favor and skip all the Hollywood smash-n-bash films this holiday weekend and go see it. Actually, this summer has been pretty good for action. "Iron Man" was fantastic. "Hulk" was better than I expected. And "The Dark Knight" is being called the "Godfather Part 2" of comic book films. But "Wall-E" transcends film. I left the theater feeling overwhelmed. The lump that rose in my throat during the end scene has not left in nearly a week. I bought little posable action figures of Wall-E and his love and savior, Eve. I have not bought a toy in almost twenty years.

It is a film that manages to be topical without being preachy, smart without being snarky, funny without being crass, and beautiful despite depicting a world almost devoid of beauty. The love story at the center of "Wall-E" is as simple as they come, yet poetic and devastating and sublime. These two robots broke my heart more than any flesh and blood actors have maybe ever done. This is the kind of movie that makes you want to stop reading about snark and gossip and vitriol, stop spending hours on end staring at screens, because as stated in the song "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" (which plays over the opening credits), there's a whole world out there. It's far easier to destroy than to create. It's easier to tear down than to build up. But as this little robot shows us, the most important things in life are the simplest. And the most incredible things in life aren't things. And if this movie isn't at least nominated for "Best Picture," than the phrase "Best Picture" is completely irrelevant.

I'm not recommending this movie. That's something I do for films like "Iron Man." Those are words reserved for good entertainment. As far as I'm concerned, "Wall-E" is a painting, a song. Something that inspires you and stirs up emotions you might have forgotten. Andrew Stanton and the team at Pixar have created something beyond all of their past triumphs, and that's saying something. They've transcended the art of moviemaking, and have made a movie that's truly work of art.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Travis Erwin said...

I plan to take my boys to see Wall E this afternoon and now I'm looking forward to it more than ever.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Dave White said...

I thought it was a good movie, but not up to the standards of say... THE INCREDIBLES. The last hour was fantastic, but the first dialogue free half hour of the movie tested my patience.

I'd give it 3 stars.

12:57 PM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

I thank you for writing this today. We were just debating whether to see this or that Angelina Jolie movie. This decides it.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Rachel Vincent said...

I saw it last weekend, and loved it. ;-)

5:55 PM  
Blogger Graham Powell said...

The credits sequence was better than most movies. And I thought the dialog-free sections showed impressive visual storytelling. You want words, Dave, read a book!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Derek Nikitas said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Derek Nikitas said...

sorry, I screwed up the link in the last one:

Jason, I completely agree. In fact, I beat you to it in the praise department by a few days:

http://dereknikitas.blogspot.com/
2008/06/ah-robot-love.html

...but who's counting? I'm just glad to know I'm not alone in my admiration for this amazing work of art.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Travis - I hope you and your boys loved it!

Dave - You're a nincompoop. SPOILER WARNING--my favorite part of the movie was when Wall-E and Eve are shuttling around space after the pod explodes. Just a beautiful sequence.

Patti - Let me know what you thought!

Rachel, Graham, Derek - So glad we're on the same page. Derek, you definitely beat me (and sounded much, much smarter in your analysis too).

11:49 AM  
Blogger Conduit said...

Between the early reviews I've seen for The Dark Knight, and the gushing praise for Wall-E, I've never seen so much excitement from critics. The Oscars could be interesting next year.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Karen Olson said...

I found the movie brilliant, although I was very depressed when it was over. Post apocalyptic stories, even beautifully done, hit way too close to home these days as we're faced with economic and global crises.

11:48 AM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

I thought the movie was brilliant, tragic, romantic, exciting, creative, in a class by itself--but I still can't quite take animated or pixared movies as on a par with ones with real people. At least in terms of my involvement with the narrative. Probably an age thing. Given that stipulation, it still was the best movie of the summer so far. Thanks for sending me along.

2:19 PM  

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