Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jeff Garlin, Kathy Najimy, John Ratzenberger, Sigourney Weaver, Fred Willard
Director: Andrew Stanton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 11/18/2008 Run time: 98 minutes Rating: G
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Julie Neal | Sanibel Island, Fla. | 06/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am floored. I didn't think it was possible for Pixar to surpass Toy Story, but it has. A sophisticated treat for adults and teens, a cuddly romance for the juice-box set, this comedic science fiction thriller romance (really!) takes the company to a new, more mature level. Filled with artistry, depth, meaning and a lot of humor, WALL-E is a masterpiece. Where Cars was a kid's movie with added adult themes, this is an adult movie with added value for children.
Before I saw WALL-E I had read about the lack of dialogue, and how it might be a risky move for Pixar to make a film with characters that don't talk in a traditional sense. Well, trash that. The most emotionally powerful scenes in this movie are those with the LEAST dialogue. Fully developed and indeed almost human, the two main characters are Wall-E himself (the letters stand for Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class; there's also a WALL-A) and EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), two machines in love.
After about a half hour I was wondering if Pixar could continue to pull off this less-is-more concept for the rest of the film -- then the two robots started playing Pong! Such imaginative screenplay carries the film to what should be a Best Picture nomination. Seriously.
A TOUCHING STORY
WALL-E is a lonely little robotic trash compactor who was left behind after Earth was abandoned some 700 years earlier. He has been methodically cleaning up the trash-ridden planet ever since, and harboring a tiny plant he has found among the garbage. Eve, meanwhile, lives on the immense spaceship Axiom, which is also home to the fat, blob-like remains of the human race. She is a probe robot that flies to Earth to determine if the planet is ready for habitation. WALL-E takes one look at the streamlined, angelic Eve and falls in love.
It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the little robot. As soon as he giggled (after his pet cockroach tickled him) I was hooked. This hardworking rusty guy with his small home full of collected treasures is so poignant. His lonely life is so human. Eve is just as likable, but much more sleek. Near the end comes a heartbreaking moment when a key character seems to lose all personality, all self. So well done, it made me think of how families must feel when a loved one disappears inside him- or herself with Alzheimer's disease.
All ends well, of course. As the credits roll, the artwork illustrates how everyone and everything lives happily after ever.
AN ADULT MEANING
For adults, WALL-E is not so much about a cute little robot as it is about the future of man. What happens when humans become such creatures of the consumer culture, so fat they can't even stand up without assistance, living literally on auto-pilot, that they do nothing but buy cheap merchandise, stuff their faces at the Regurgitated Food Buffet and lie around watching video screens? Can they ever get back to the land and set their souls free? Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young asked that question decades ago; Pixar asks it today.
There is even a sly political reference. Broadcasting a message to the passengers of the spaceship, the CEO of monster corporation Buy 'n' Large -- played in live-action by the inimitable Fred Willard, and named Shelby Forthright -- says they will be continuing on their never-ending, hopeless cruise to nowhere because they must "Stay the course!" Hmmm, haven't I heard a president use that line?
WALL-E has so many wonderful touches! After the little robot is charged using his solar panels, he "turns on" with a sound any Macintosh owner will recognize. The robot's collected objects, much like the thingamabobs of The Little Mermaid's Ariel, are things that are uniquely human: bubble wrap, an iPod, a Rubics cube, a singing plastic trophy fish and -- blink and you'll miss it -- a carrousel horse from Walt Disney World. Especially inspired are the two things on this future Earth that are totally indestructible: a cockroach and Twinkies.
Stay for the credits. Recalling cave drawings, hieroglyphics, Monet and Van Gogh paintings and early computer graphics, the progressive sequence of art within them sneaks in the history of dialogue-free storytelling.
The look of the movie is hard to describe. In one scene, when WALL-E and EVE are investigating a piece of bubble wrap, you can't tell it is an animated film. It actually appears to be live-action. Likewise, the outer space scenes have the same level of realism as any of the Star Wars movies. The trailing tower of squiggly smoke that's left behind by a launching spacecraft re-creates the Florida sky of a Space Shuttle launch to a T. For the most part, it is only when humans are portrayed that you are consciously aware that what you're watching was generated on circuit boards, not in cameras.
I've seen the movie three times, first in digital projection and then from a film projector. The digital showing was much sharper, which made all the realistic touches far easier to appreciate.
It's obvious the Pixar folks are movie lovers; there are so many cinematic inspirations in WALL-E that I lost count. The "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" sequence from Hello, Dolly! shows up -- literally -- maybe half a dozen times. (Disney World fans may also remember the song as one of the background melodies along Main Street U.S.A.) The Axiom spaceship's computer is clearly an homage to HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey; that film's signature overture "Also Sprach Zarathustra" plays at a key moment. WALL-E himself combines the purrs of E.T., the attitude of R2-D2 and the moves of Charlie Chaplin. There's a brief reference to Titanic.
The movie is preceded by a Pixar short, "Presto," that had the entire audience I was sitting with in stitches. Its plot: When a magician neglects to feed his bunny a carrot, an escalating disaster results. It's so nice to start a feature with a cartoon. I wish other studios still did it. (Disney fans will note the magician's hat is similar to the one used by Mickey Mouse in Fantasia.)
Will it ever run out? This continuous font of imagination from Pixar? With WALL-E, it sure doesn't look like it.
-- By Julie Neal, author of The Complete Walt Disney World 2010."
The 3-Disc edition gives WALL*E the deluxe treatment.
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 08/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not yet listed on the Amazon page, here are the goodies that will be in this 3-disc version:
Standard bonus material:
short film: Presto,
new short: BURN*E,
"Animation Sound Design",
"WALL*E's Tour of the Universe";
Exclusive to the 3-Disc Special Edition DVD:
more deleted scenes,
documentary film The Pixar Story,
"WALL*E's Treasures and Trinkets",
"Lots of Bots"
DisneyFile digital copy.
An Imaginative and Heartfelt Masterpiece
Justin Heath | Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada | 10/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though there have been some exceptional movies so far this year there but there have been few which I would call a classic. With WALL-E, things have just changed. WALL-E isn't only the best film of 2008 so far, it is a pure masterpiece. From start to finish, the film wraps you in utterly delightful charm and humanity. WALL-E is a piece of inventive beauty and wonder unlike any other that you will see at the cinema this summer. I absolutely guarantee it.
WALL-E (voiced by Ben Burtt) is the last operating robot on Earth. As for the human race, they left 700 years ago, when the huge amounts of self-produced trash caught up with them. WALL-E's task is to clean up the planet for the return of the humans. However, after being left on his own for so long, WALL-E has developed a personality. He is curious about many of the items that he finds whilst compacting trash, such as an old tape of the musical "Hello Dolly!" But he is also becoming lonely, which is understandable for someone who only has a friendly cockroach for company.
However, all of this changes with the arrival of EVE (voiced by Elissa Knight). Thought EVE is initially hostile towards WALL-E, this doesn't stop him from becoming smitten with her and trying to connect with her. However, EVE has come to Earth on a classified mission. Once that mission has been completed, EVE shuts down and waits to be taken back from whence she came. When her transport arrives, WALL-E can't bear to lose his friend and sneaks aboard. His search for EVE brings him into contact with the remainder of the human race, who have been taking refuge on a huge spaceship and who have become excessively reliable on machines to supply their every need. They don't even walk. However, WALL-E's arrival sets many events in motion which may help the human race to return to normality...
First of all, WALL-E's animation is flawless. However, as with the rest of the film, there is also a sense of risk and bravery which adds extra dimensions to the glorious animation. The first moments in the film, which show us the beauty of the stars before swooping down to gaze upon a barren and deserted Earth, are so detailed and emotionally engaging that you are immediately sucked into the tale without any hesitation. Even when the story becomes more traditional (that is in no way an attack on the film), the creativity and power of the film's visuals never falter.
The main focus of the plot is on the growing affection between WALL-E and EVE. This is one of the most moving romantic relationships in years. No, they're not even human. But watching the initial conflict of EVE's determination and WALL-E's innocence slowly mix into love and companionship is magnificent. The scenes between the two characters on Earth are simply wonderful, perfectly paced and confident in the set-up of this unusual couple. However, the best scene comes in the second half, when WALL-E and EVE dance through space together. Everything in this scene is perfect, the comedy of watching WALL-E propel himself through space by use of a fire extinguisher, the lovely visuals, Thomas Newman's marvelous score and the interaction between the two characters. When WALL-E looks likely to float off into space after the fire extinguisher runs out, EVE flies in and scoops him up in her arms. This scene is pure cinematic genius. Overall, there is a humanity and grace of execution in the relationship between WALL-E and EVE which elevates it far beyond the emotional impact of other romantic relationships.
The term of "cinematic genius" can also be applied to the iconic character of WALL-E and the fantastic direction by Finding Nemo director Andrew Staunton. Staunton shows that he is willing to inject some risk into his movie-making if it makes a better film. This decision pays off magnificently here. Staunton has lovingly constructed this film with invention, depth and bravura, and in doing so has crafted a piece of movie making which is likely to go down as at least a family classic. Not only will children be enthralled by the sheer brilliance of this film, but other audiences will also be open to its bewitching magic.
As for WALL-E himself, he is one of the most original movie creations in years. Speaking in sequences of robotic speech (bleeps, whirs, etc.) with only small moments of mechanical dialogue, the filmmakers have still managed to create one of the most human characters of the year. By mostly using his eyes, the animators are able to flawlessly display WALL-E's emotions. In one scene, his eyes droop with sadness when EVE calls him Wally. When he panics or is happy, his eyes rise in an outburst of emotion. The life that the filmmakers are able to find in such simple mannerisms is incredible. Even the beeps and whirs, provided masterfully by legendary sound designer Ben Burtt, increase an already rich and lovable character to terrific heights. The character of WALL-E is just superb, as is the rest of the movie.
WALL-E has just raised the bar for future animated movies. Pixar Animation Studios has already crafted many animated classics. WALL-E joins them without question. The visuals are compelling, the characters are endlessly endearing and the story is told with beauty, wit, imagination and humanity. I couldn't have asked for more."
Amanda Richards | Georgetown, Guyana | 07/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Yes, hello Wall-E!
It's so nice to see you on the movie screen
You're looking swell Wall-E
We can tell, Wall-E
You'll be going, you'll be crowing
You'll be going strong
(to the tune of Hello Dolly!)
Score another hit for Pixar. This time they take on an abandoned and garbage strewn planet Earth, and the last remaining Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-Class robot, WALL-E.
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
1. WALL-E is the last robot on earth
2. The other survivor is (of course) a cockroach
3. Like The Little Mermaid, WALL-E has a nice collection of whozits and whatzits galore, including a VHS tape and player
4. He's into "Hello Dolly!" big time
5. Amazingly, a seedling grows amidst the wreckage
6. Humans have moved on to live vegetative existences on huge space ships, but probes are still being sent to check on good old Earth for signs of real vegetation
7. Boy robot WALL-E meets girl robot EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) and invites her back to his place to see his collection
8. She gets what she's after and departs without so much as a "domo arigato, Mr. Roboto"
9. What's a guy to do?
10. Amazing outer space adventure follows
The animation is mind-boggling, dizzifying, and truly innovative, but what really amazed me was the way they were able to make the robots convey emotions using only subtle movements and winks of the lenses.
A little "I Am Legend", "Short Circuit" and "Lady and The Tramp", plus a chunk of "2001: A Space Odyssey", this is a love story, an adventure story, a sci-fi odyssey, and a message to everyone about the importance of recycling and not polluting our planet.
Recommended for the entire family
Amanda Richards, July 13, 2008