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Brian Szabelski avatar 12:26 AM on 06.28.2008  (server time)
Nihon Goes To The Movies: Wall-E (NVGR)

Pixar reminds me a lot of Qantas. While the Australian airline has never had a single incident in its 80+ years of operation, Pixar has never had a bad movie. And with Wall-E, the streak continues in the most amazing way possible.

The first time I saw the trailer for Wall-E, I was intrigued. What could this story be about? Would the film live up to the visuals? Had Pixar stumbled on to something great? Knowing Pixar's track record, I assumed so. They delivered.

The story is simple: Humans made a mess of the Earth, then left it behind and created robots to help clean the whole mess up. Wall-E is the last of his kind, living in isolation if not for a cockroach friend. He goes about his daily business, crushing junk into cubes and stacking them miles high, but when he goes home at night, he brings all the interesting trinkets he found along with him. In all his time, though, he's developed something robots tend not to do in movies: positive emotions. But most of all, he's lonely and hopes one day to find love.

His gateway to that appears in the form of a small plant he plucks from the remains of some garbage, taking it back home with him. Shortly after, a spaceship arrives (and nearly lands on him), but it brings with him EVE, a robot created to find life on Earth... if it has come back at all. Wall-E sees EVE and instantly becomes enamored, setting up what becomes a huge point in the movie. Needless to say, the plant is eventually found and that becomes Wall-E's ticket off Earth to where humanity exists in space.

Well, sort of. Exists in a literal sense, but the earth people of the 27th century have become morbidly obese and lazy slobs, drinking entire meals from a cup and moving around on floating wheelchair-like devices. They can't even walk or roll over. And they're all mindless consumers to the extreme. Wall-E ends up bringing a bit of chaos to that, but in doing so, he ends up bringing some hope that all is not lost, though he does so accidentally.

I don't want to really go too far into this movie and give away a ton of spoilers, because the further I go into the film, the more I have to tell you. Instead, I'm going to focus on some of the other reasons you should see it besides the heart-warming and well-written story:

The visuals are amazing. Pixar has once more pushed the boundaries of how realistic a CG animated film can look. The world of Wall-E feels incredibly natural, and in some scenes, I can't tell that they didn't film real footage and super-impose CGI over it.

One of the best parts of Wall-E has to be the subtle references to today's popular culture and to other similar movies about robots. For example, listen very closely when Wall-E is finished with his battery recharging. Computer geeks will hear a very, very familiar sound. I know it because I heard it every day for about 10 years and still hear it to this day. The way that Wall-E explores these common things in the junkpile with a child-like mentality only makes them that much more funny.

Still, the single best part has to be the sound aspects. No, not the great music for the film. The fact that there's less then 5 minutes of spoken dialogue in a 90+ minute film, yet you understand everything that Wall-E, EVE, and every other character is doing up on that screen. It's very reminiscent of the silent films, and in doing so, Pixar is able to flesh out the character's personalities in ways you can see and understand. Wall-E's emotions really steal the show, and he might just be the most loveable robot ever as a result. There are voice actors in the film, and Fred Willard does appear here and there as a very memorable character.

This is Pixar's best work to date. Yes, there is a big love story element, but it's pulled off in such a way that it's not suffocating but very funny. The visuals are mindblowing, better than anything I've ever seen before. The voices and sounds are absolutely fantastic, and it has Fred Willard in it. I don't even need to tell you anything more. Go see Wall-E. It's right now my co-#1 movie of the year with Iron Man. It's that good.

Go see Wall-E now. You will not be let down.


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