Saturday, July 19, 2008

WALL-E almost lives up to the hype

It seems that Operation Cleanup was a failure!Short of Heath Ledger's performance in THE DARK KNIGHT, WALL-E is the most hyped film of the year so far. Indeed, it's been praised by all and sundry as the CITIZEN KANE of animated cinema. Well, I didn't think it's a perfect film, more of which to follow, but it's certainly beautifully drawn, emotionally engaging, and laugh-out-loud funny. Surely that's praise enough?

WALL-E is based in a dystopian future. Humans have so polluted the earth that they're living in a space-ship run by a monolithic hypermarket called Buy'n'large. Here, the movie acts as a savage indictment of crass commerce. The human race is obese and all human interaction is mediated by computers. However, it takes us 30 minutes to reach this world. Up until that point, we're back on earth with WALL-E, a cute ET-like robot, who's compacting rubbish. WALL-E is adorable in the way that curious toddlers can be adorable. He is excited by packaging rather than it's contents. He makes us laugh in the same way the Charlie Chaplin made us laugh.

WALL-E falls in love with a rather aggressive robot called EVA - sent to earth to find signs of regenerated life - and follows her back to the spaceship to play out his own little romantic dream of holding hands with the girl-robot he loves. Once on board the spaceship, I felt the movie lost a lot of its charm and actually moved too slow. The social satire is funny at first, but it's also fairly crude. Things picked up again once the ship's captain started to rebel against the HAL-like autopilot, and the ending is truly lovely. Still, ACT II was a little boring in parts.

Having said all that, WALL-E is still a great animated film. In terms of its visuals, its sound design and its homage to the best silent comedy, it's far ahead of anything else in terms of ambition and scope. Still for the complete package - a film that kept me interested throughout its run-time - I'll take RATATOUILLE by a small margin.

WALL-E is on release in the US, UK, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Uruguay, Kuwait, Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, Israel, Iceland, Lithuania and Poland. It opens next weekend in Gong Kong and Hungary, and on July 20th in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It opens in August in Egypt, Spain, South Korea, Latvia, Venzuela, Thailand, Indonesia, Portugal, Estonia, Singapore, Slovenia, Denmark and Norway. WALL-E opens in September in Bulgaria, Finland, Romania, Sweden, Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Germany and Turkey. It opens in Switzerland and Italy in October and in Japan on December 20th.

1 comment:

  1. WALL-E lives up to the hyped 1000x more than The Dark Knight. That's why it's the best reviewed film of the year and TDK is just second best.