PIXAR MASTERPIECE REVIEW: “Wall-E” is voiced by Ben Burtt (Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace), Elissa Knight (Cars, Inside Out ), Jeff Garlin (Daddy Day Care, Curb Your Enthusiasm [TV series]), Fred Willard (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, American Wedding), MacInTalk (Atop the Fourth Wall [TV series], Blank Check), John Ratzenberger (Cheers [TV series], All In), Kathy Najimy (Hocus Pocus, King of the Hill [TV series]), and Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Ghostbusters ). It is directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, John Carter), who also wrote it with Pete Doctor (Toy Story, Up) and Jim Reardon (Wreck-It Ralph, Zootopia). In 2815, a lonely clean-up robot named Wall-E (Burtt) falls in love with a more advanced droid named EVE (Knights) when she arrives to the desolate wasteland known as earth to look for life. When she leaves, he follows, and is soon thrown into a conflict of whether humanity should come out of space and move back to earth.
The only sci-fi to Pixar’s long list of films, “Wall-E,” does what most should: tell a fresh idea while offering insight on a deep-thinking issue. The conflict? Earth’s survival. Yes, it’s been said and done a bunch of times in cinema, whether it’s “Interstellar” or even “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” (odd title to choose, I know). But what makes this Pixar movie so different and interesting is the components that make it up, besides the already-done story. What are those components? Let’s analyze further to find out. One thing that the audience should notice when watching “Wall-E” is the fact that there are very few lines spoken. Our central character is a robot; one who can only speak a few words. There are some human characters in this, but for the majority of the time we rely on Wall-E’s expressions and mannerisms to tell his feelings and push this plot forward. It may seem like a difficult endeavor, but the writers and director of this feature pulled it off masterfully. Their way of capturing emotion in something that shouldn’t exhibit feelings is astonishing, and it makes for a worthy love story. I enjoyed seeing Wall-E’s adventure to not only save humanity, but get personal with a more advanced robot named Eve. His yearning for a connection may seem far-fetched (why would robots have feelings?), but the execution and pay-off of the romance makes you feel warm inside. Along with his desire to woo Eve, we find Wall-E hilariously stumbling around or doing innocently funny things to get her attention. This added a layer of comedy that was needed to break the silence that protruded from some of this release. I laughed, but more importantly, I cared. The character development of this movie, although hardly verbal, is great. The writers made me want Wall-E to succeed in pairing up with Eve, even if that romance had to be put aside to save humanity, which leads me to another thing I thought was awesome about the story: its terrifying look into the future. I don’t think that I have ever seen a movie where the future is bright for humanity, and this one is no exception. Although Pixar plays it off in an innocent and often funny way, I couldn’t help but feel disturbed to see obese people getting around on chairs while doing nothing but stare at a screen all day. This makes me question if technology will disable society to do things, even though it’s supposed to bring about new discoveries and help people to get things done. In this film, we see both the downfall of man and rise of machine. It’s on a subtle note, but it’s there, and I know that the writers made this for a reason. How we bounce back from this is another layer to this space flick, and I enjoyed looking at that arc just as much as Wall-E’s. Straying away from the plot itself, I wanted to talk about the cinematography. Futuristic films always present great visuals and design, and “Wall-E” has some cool things in store. I loved the contrast between the filthy, desolate wasteland that is earth and the clean, spiffy Axiom. The animation captured most of this fantastically, and the design of the Axiom had to be one of the most interesting things about this release. It’s staff of robots, layout of rooms, and traffic of lazy individuals makes for a great atmosphere. Of course, we were restricted to a few sections of the ship at a time, but in some cases we get to see the whole scope, and it looks stunning. One weird thing that was done in this film, however, was a blending of real and animated things. Video screens had clips of actual people, while the characters that the movie focused on weren’t. It made for a unique and odd style, and I’m not quite sure if I dig it or not. It definitely caught my attention though, so that should be worth something (I feel as though there is a deep meaning behind it). Pushing onward, we arrive to the problems with this feature. Quite frankly, there isn’t anything seriously wrong with it. I will say that it is a short journey, as this release barely displays over an hour and a half of footage. It can make it feel a bit too fast-paced, but in some cases it is good since there isn’t a dull moment in sight. Something I should comment on that is on my mind is the character models, specifically the humans. They are fat, I know, but the animation for them does seem a bit cartoonish and outdated, especially when they are compared to the live-action people on video screens. Anything else I didn’t mention would be in small things not worth talking about. This isn’t Pixar’s greatest, but it comes close to the top five, as it does soar as a sci-fi and love story. The audacity of the writers to fill a plot with little dialogue is astonishing, and it paid off with a brilliant adventure and an even better, lovable ending (the first half of the credits also had a great, mini continuation of the plot). I also liked the musical score, like with most Pixar films, as this one was mystifying and magical (thanks again Thomas Newman). If you haven’t seen this and are into the science fiction genre, check it out. You won’t be disappointed! FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
Now, my review for “Presto,” a Pixar short film:
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: “Presto” is a 2008 Pixar short that is written and directed by Doug Sweetland (Storks, Windy Day [Short]). Presto, a world-renowned magician, has difficulty carrying out his act when his sidekick rabbit won’t cooperate, sending him into a night of pain.
Yet another funny Pixar short, “Presto” presents itself in a classic Walt Disney fashion. You have the throwback, Technicolor title credits, an item that looks like it came from “Fantasia,” and a ton of physical humor, most of which resulting in pain. I loved watching this short, not just because it is funny, but also because of how fresh and entertaining it is. A magician getting into a fight with his rabbit makes for a great show, and how they brawl is different from what I have seen, with them using two hats that act as portals to one another. It was awesome to see visually, as both the animation and fight made this short film bounce off the page. I really liked the style that this short presented as well. It was classic and elegant, yet roughed up around the edges. This has to be one of my favorite Pixar shorts now (I don’t think I have seen it before), and I implore anyone to watch it! FINAL SCORE: 94%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the short:
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