When writing movie reviews, any critic worth his salt tries to stay away from over-the-top gushing. Those of us who take pride in what we
write shake our heads at the shameless quote whoring of a Peter Travers or an Earl Dittman. We cringe at critics who exaggerate every
compliment in hope of their names popping up on a poster or DVD cover.
However, every once in a while a movie is good enough to earn such proclamations. So here goes…
“Wall-E” is an absolute tour-de force of animation.
It should be no surprise when Pixar delivers the goods, but even by those standards “Wall-E” is a knockout.
Writer/director Andrew Stanton makes a bold move in having little dialog in the film and none whatsoever in the first act.
Instead, the film allows the very capable folks over at Pixar to truly stretch their limits and create a series of characters based almost
entirely on movement and a vocabulary of about three words. And to say “it works” is an understatement.
Wall-E himself is an adorable and sympathetic character. He’s a fish out of water in every sense of the word. Yet he marches (or rolls)
onward, always brimming with curiosity and…gasp…even love! He finds it in the slick and white Apple inspired Eve.
It’s literally impossible for me to accurately describe much of this film, because it is so reliant on visuals and sound effects.
It would be a shock if “Wall-E” isn’t an easy Oscar winner in the sound categories.
The sound effects, mixing, and robotic voices by Ben Burtt are all phenomenal.
Burtt has created many of the most recognizable movie sound effects in modern cinema (many from Star Wars alone), but it’s the character
voices that really take the cake here. The robotic voices are absolutely adorable.
Once again, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise from the man that gave R2-D2 his voice, but this is absolutely masterful work all around.
As you would expect from a Pixar project, the film has just as much for the grown ups to admire as there is for the kiddies to enjoy.
The film also is wonderfully paced at 103 minutes with more than enough excitement to go along with the quiet character moments.
I do have to admit being a bit disappointed with Thomas Newman’s score, however. I’ve never been a huge fan as many of his scores
sound interchangeable to me. His music certainly isn’t bad or a hindrance to the film, but it doesn’t do much to enhance it.
Even so, “Wall-E” has so much going for it that the lack of a fantastic score doesn’t really even register.
“Wall-E” is an extraordinarily entertaining and funny movie. Its characters are as lovable and sympathetic as they come and the movie has a
few genuinely emotional moments. I was right along with it.
This is filmmaking and story telling at its very finest. If you have a heart, you’ll probably love “Wall-E.”
* * * *
(out of four)
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by: Andrew Stanton & Pete Doctor
Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred
Willard, MacInTalk, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy
Music by: Thomas Newman
Released: June 27, 2008; 98 Minutes