Monday, June 30, 2008

Wall-E makes me happy.

Pixar, Pixar, Pixar.

Make no mistake about it, it is all Pixar and whatever magical aqua vitae they brew throughout their production process. And I know it's not all perfection in moviemaking with no cracks or flaws, but it is a hell of a diamond they crank out, leagues beyond the competition. This was made overwhelmingly apparent by the dreck I was forced to sit through for the preview trailers, each a sad offering in the 3D animated genre that Pixar itself created.

For Wall-E, it's just another reason to gush and laud over an unequalled level of art and creativity that never seems to stop coming from the parties involved. Some people like to talk about the solidarity of the story, others the characters, and others the technical proficiency of the animation and environments. Me, I tend to lean towards the art itself, and the design therein. Wall-E is a gorgeous film, finding an abstract beauty in the opening of Earth's sad legacy and evolving into a razor sharp Asimovian futurist paradise. The forced warmth of Wall-E's existence on a bleak Earth is told not only by character but by color, flawless in execution and full of endless lessons in mood and emotion told through palettes, lighting, and composition. Transitioning to the stark setting of deep space among the falsely active dormancy of the human society we are shown the cold but cool precision of an automated lifestyle; a design sense as detailed and coordinated as the robots that run it. God damn is it pretty.

The story is one that moves along at a steady pace and grows on you stronger and stronger, eventually moving into the trademark, frantic energy of a Pixar finale. The story is completely character driven, focused solely on the titular Wall-E and his appeal. This despite that fact that there is no dialogue for what might be the first hour of the film, such is the strength of Wall-E's personality, which I would think in the hands of lesser men would have come across as schmaltzy and cliché. Yet, man if that Wall-E isn't a cute little bugger.

Lastly I would hope-- hope with all my heart-- that the real message of the film sinks its teeth into the younger generations that watch it, keeping a death grip on their precious little psyches long enough to change The Way We Do Things. If that can be achieved, I will gladly accept the world of Wall-E as fanciful fiction instead of distinct probability.


On a supplementary note to Wall-E, the opening short, "Presto," may be one of the flat-out best cartoon shorts I've seen in my adult life. While drinking in the pure fun and comedy that is Presto, it really is a shame to think of what passes as children's entertainment these days. What with executive and marketing driven network fare that has sucked all the awe and joy out of the average, contemporary cartoon. Presto calls back to the days of Warner Bros. gold, where we must remember that cartoons were made for the primarily adult movie going audience, it's just that they were so good it was impossible for children not to enjoy them, too. Sadly it was all downhill from there (as John K. likes to say, "the hippies ruined everything"). Thankfully with Presto we see that the true cartoon is alive and well, and in very good hands. I can only look forward to more.

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