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Postby barrybrooks8 » Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:38 am

I am starting to think that I don't have a heart. I kind of didn't like Wall-E. Like most, I liked the first 30 minutes or so, but I thought the rest was predictable and boring. I can't really even think of any moment in the movie that really
wow-ed me. Disappointed all around. B-/C+
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Postby Sabin » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:57 pm

The second I saw you posting on the 'WALL-E' thread, I steadied myself for a mind-boggling dismissal. I'm a little disappointed but I still got my fill.
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Postby Damien » Sat Jul 12, 2008 4:51 pm

Boy, does this guy have lousy taste:

From Newsweek:

Movies: Andrew Stanton

The animation guru's Pixar resume dates back to his script for 1995's " Toy Story. " He won an Oscar for " Finding Nemo, " and his latest is the robot tale " WALL-E. "

My Five Most Important Movies

1. "Lawrence of Arabia" David Lean, the master of filmmaking. I've watched this movie on a big screen over 20 times. His sense of staging and editing is awe-inspiring.

2. "The Lion in Winter" Not the most cinematic film, but you'll never encounter better dialogue.

3. "Gallipoli" Peter Weir's WWI story of friendship and purpose is deeply engaging. A seminal movie for me.

4. "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" Sheer wonder has never been captured better, before or since.

5. "Cool Hand Luke" What a character. What an allegory. A man's movie, introduced to me by my father, and I've introduced it to my son.

A classic film you haven't seen: "La Dolce Vita" I know, I know ... I'll watch it tomorrow.

A classic film that, upon revisiting, disappointed: The home footage of my sixth-grade performance as a fence painter in "Tom Sawyer." It's a classic in our house. I thought I was amazing, but, man, I was bad.

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Postby Zahveed » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:26 pm

I agree with everything Sabin said. Wall-E is the picture to beat, live-action or animated. It's what you would get if Kubrick directed Annie Hall and was produced by a young Walt Disney. It's the terrifying possibility of our future only brightened with humorous curiosity, a chance at love, and optimistic realization.
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Postby Sabin » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:32 am

This movie is powerfully beautiful in terms of animation and message. If I don't see a better movie this year, I won't be surprised. It's a thing of pure good, daring to suggest not only that this is where we're headed but that the goodness of humanity can persevere in the face of inhospitable challenges as much as a sapling plant amidst wreckage. This is the best PIXAR film since 'Toy Story'. I thought they made a strong leap forward in eclectic storytelling with 'Ratatouille' but with 'WALL-E' they have transcended limitations I never thought they had interest in. The screenplay is as subtly ingenious as the animation is outwardly so. I won't delve into the story because it needs to unfold organically on strength of detail rather than overreaching arc, but I will say that it strives for a decidedly less accessible narrative template than usual and I wonder the longevity of 'WALL-E''s box office legs. What it has in its corner besides the PIXAR name is the fact that 'WALL-E' is a truly exceptional picture.

Nominations for Animated Film, Original Screenplay, Original Score, Original Song ("Shitty Peter Gabriel Song"), Sound Mixing, and Sound Effects all-but guaranteed with wins for Animated Film, Original Score, and Sound Effects very likely, and Original Song ("Shitty Peter Gabriel Song") and Sound Mixing very possible. Depending on quality of year's output, 'WALL-E' stands as a possible Best Picture nominee.
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Postby Zahveed » Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:46 am

4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Robot Romance 'WALL•E' Has Heart of Gold
By Christy Lemire, Associated Press

Within the rumbling, stumbling hunk of junk that is WALL-E beats the sweetest, warmest heart — a robotic representation of humanity's highest potential.

And within the sci-fi adventure "WALL-E" lies an artistic truth: that Pixar's track record remains impeccable.

Following high-concept movies about a superhero family, talking cars and a gourmet rat, this is the Disney computer animation arm's boldest experiment yet. "WALL-E" is essentially a silent film in which the two main characters, a mismatched pair of robots, communicate through bleeps and blips and maybe three words between them.

And yet director Andrew Stanton ("Finding Nemo") is resourceful enough to find infinite ways for them to express themselves — amusingly, achingly, and with emotional precision. He's also created, with the help of a team of animators, a visual marvel. Not that this is in any way surprising from a Pixar flick, but still, it's worth noting.

The smudged, dented metal that makes up WALL-E's frame looks so realistic, you could reach out and touch it; at the same time, his big eyes often appear so vulnerable and pleading, you can't help but feel a connection with him. The characters are adorable without being too cutesy, accessible to adults and children alike.

Ben Burtt, a multiple Oscar winner who created R2-D2's signature sound effects in the "Star Wars" movies, provides the "voice" of WALL-E, or Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class. Seven hundred years after Earth was abandoned, leaving the planet looking like a post-apocalyptic Tomorrowland, WALL-E is still doing the job he was programmed to do: pick up all the trash he sees around him and compress it into tidy packages.

But he's a romantic at heart with an eye for nostalgia, sifting through garbage for items like bowling pins, a Rubik's Cube, an iPod, a spork. The script, which Stanton co-wrote with Jim Reardon from a story he co-wrote with Pete Docter, evokes iconic cultural items and imagery without going for the cheap pun or empty celebrity gag. Genuflections to "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Alien" seem fitting, as does WALL-E's physical resemblance to E.T. (It's one of the movies that earned Burtt an Academy Award for best sound effects editing.)

He's an odd, lovely combination: He carries himself like a little old man, but has the innocence and wonderment of a child. It's only upon the arrival of the sleek, shiny Eve (voiced by Elissa Knight), a robot sent back to the planet on a search mission, that he realizes how lonely he's been. That she's everything he's not — new, quick, high-tech, efficient — is only part of the allure. She's someone with whom he can finally share all the lost treasures he's amassed, and she seems open to the idea of making a friend in him, too.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the universe, the remaining humans are lolling about in a giant flying cruise ship. (Kathy Najimy and Pixar veteran John Ratzenberger provide two of the passengers' voices, with Jeff Garlin as their boisterous but clueless captain.) Thanks to the big, evil corporation that runs the place (and ruined Earth), every convenience is available at their chubby fingertips — oh yes, we as a people have gotten fatter and lazier in the future, it seems. And the possibility of useless consumption is overpowering and ever-present.

So maybe it's more than a little hypocritical for a movie that's being distributed by a worldwide entertainment conglomerate to condemn needless spending on food, toys, stuff, you name it. Fred Willard, the only live-action human, plays the film's CEO with typically humorous buffoonery — perhaps that's intended to make the message more palatable.

You could busy your brain which such complex thoughts. You're more likely, though, to walk out of the theater with the rare joy of knowing that you've just witnessed something that touched your heart.
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Postby anonymous1980 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:51 pm

Ed 'The Apostle' Gonzalez gives it 3 stars (***) which is of course fairly high praise coming from him.

by Ed Gonzalez
Posted: June 26, 2008

WALL•E goes beyond inviting comparisons to E.T., Number 5, R2D2, even Chaplin's Little Tramp—the Waste Allocation Load Lifter relies on them, for writer-director Andrew Stanton understands this robot janitor as a study in memory and inheritance. The last surviving bot of a failed program meant to clean up after our bad habits, WALL•E learns about desire from a movie musical we left behind and bides his time creating buildings from our compacted trash—totems that give expression to his hunger for purpose in the same way the pyramids attest to the ancient Egyptian race's human possibility. The robot's loneliness is palpable not only in those soulful eyes, one of which he has to replace after it incurs great injury, but in his dogged, workaday need to clean and assemble, no doubt hoping that one day someone might notice that WALL•E Was Here.

And it is with that same level of urgency that WALL•E scrawls on some relic of human existence that he loves EVE, a trigger-happy Extra-Terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator that has yet to grasp the scope of her robot capabilities. She comes to Earth looking for "a specimen of ongoing photosynthesis" (a sign that the effects of whatever it was we did to the planet are beginning to wear off), and through WALL•E's devotion to her, and a cockroach's own fidelity to him, she learns to evolve beyond her single-minded adherence to the corporate-mandated "directive" programmed into her system. Their love affair is understandably formulaic—WALL•E's style comes from the movies, after all—but poetic nonetheless.

Stanton has expressed surprise at environmental readings of WALL•E—an evasiveness that's reflected in Disney's marketing of the film, whose ads have stressed WALL•E's cuteness but not his humanitarian vision. Downplaying the film's pro-green message is makes sense from a business angle—Disney doesn't want to lose that James Dobson demographic—but pretending it doesn't exist is troubling. As if Stanton never sketched that lone sapling WALL•E finds among a vast sea of human garbage. As if his camera never lingered on that Buy n Large gas station that evokes the gluttony of a primitive, oil-guzzling civilization. As if the BnL CEO played by Fred Willard in a series of live-action snippets wasn't meant as a swipe against Bush (not only are his strings being pulled from off screen, he even drops the phrase "stay the course").

This latest Pixar production finds cute ways of tipping its hat to Christian creation and human record, most cannily in the way Captain (Jeff Garlin) ponders his people's return to a planet he's never known, bumping a toy version of the Axiom ship into the continent of Africa on his globe. But WALL•E becomes less interesting whenever the focus shifts from WALL•E and EVE to—spoilers herein—the humans who live in subservience to technology and corporate branding aboard the Axiom spacecraft, ostensibly waiting for Earth to become hospitable again to human life. Fat and slovenly, these people are essentially recognized as mass-produced goods—do-nothings who've relinquished their human will to machines that feed them, entertain them, pick them up when they've fallen off their floating couches.

Stanton's vision of life inside Axiom feels cribbed from Monsters, Inc. and Star Wars, and his critique of consumer culture and how it thrives on our need for instant gratification comes through loud and clear—perhaps too clear. Cutting but broad and tsk-tsking all the same, this element of the film isn't so much dodo-headed as it is easily digestible, at least in contrast to the more nuanced ways in which Stanton takes jabs at our follies and priorities while never losing sight of our remarkable flair for invention and possibility, as in WALL•E and EVE going gaga for bubble wrap or WALL•E expressing confusion over those funny fork-spoon hybrids we bring to picnics and discarding a diamond ring but keeping the blue case that housed it. But maybe it's necessary for WALL•E to speak broadly at times or it would lose its most important demographic: the children to whom it wants to bequeath its level of feeling.

And what feeling this is. As in WALL•E using a garbage can to groove to scenes from Hello Dolly!, the film understands dance, like movies themselves, as communal experience, something this humane robot feels to the core of his metallic gut. Presenting itself as a rite, which is to say something to pass down and instruct (like the cave drawings featured throughout the end credits), WALL•E uses our nostalgia for our youth to reconnect us with our essential goodwill—an appeal that's impossible to resist whenever you stare into WALL•E's peepers. Messenger and messiah, he asks us to look into eyes that see much wear but can only be replaced so many times, reflecting back a future that is ours to either make or destroy. He'll clean up whatever we leave behind; just don't ask him to take any of the blame.

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Postby Penelope » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:48 am

Mister Tee wrote:His only companion is a cockroach. Well, you knew that creature would survive anything.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:43 am

Film Review: Wall-E
Bottom Line: It's now nine for nine for Pixar!

By Kirk Honeycutt
Jun 25, 2008

This is getting to sound like a broken record: Pixar Animation Studios has just topped itself. Again. In "Wall-E," following the sublime culinary slapstick of "Ratatouille," Pixar and director/writer Andrew Stanton -- officially the studio's ninth employee way back when -- have spun a whimsical sci-fi fantasy about robots 800 years into the future that has all the heart, soul, spirit and romance of the very best silent movies 60 years ago. Well, you don't expect robots to talk, do you? While the soundtrack is full of clanking noises, explosions, music and even dance numbers, there is little dialogue as such to get this story told. Because Stanton and his animation team punch across their terrific (and ecologically sound!) story by inventing a visual and aural language with which these robotic creatures can express a rainbow of emotions.

The film is so clever and sophisticated that you worry, slightly, that it may be too clever to connect with mainstream audiences. But like those worries last year that having a rat for a hero in "Ratatouille" might throw off audiences, "Wall-E" is so sweet and funny that the multitudes will undoubtedly surrender to its many charms.

A polluted and toxic Earth has been abandoned by mankind centuries ago, only somebody forgot to turn off the last robot. That would be Wall-E (an acronym that stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class), a mobile trash compactor who goes about his job decade after decade. He has even developed a storage system so he can self-replace his parts. His only companion is a cockroach. Well, you knew that creature would survive anything.

Mankind, grown fat and lazy after centuries of floating like lotus eaters in a Club Med spaceship above Earth, sends out a probe to search for signs of life on the abandoned planet. That would be Eve (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). Wall-E develops a mighty crush on Eve, although her fearsome temper -- she tends to blast anything that moves -- makes him shy. But their romance, an innocence in the unlikeliest of places, blossoms. Wall-E even shows her his little green plant.

His little WHAT? That's the very thing she's been looking for! That plant launches the couple on an epic journey to the Axiom spaceship, where with other "rogue robots" they overthrow a robotic controlled civilization and galvanize humans -- more robotic than the actual robots -- into something approaching Life.

The visual design of "Wall-E" is arguably Pixar's best. Stanton, who wrote the script with Jim Reardon from a story he concocted with Peter Docter, creates two fantastically imaginative, breathtakingly lit worlds -- a wretched, destroyed Earth city, not unlike Manhattan, and the spaceship where humans hover in floating couches, their bloated body fat encasing virtually useless bones, while an intricate series of robots perform all labor and a 3-D Internet is the only form of human communication.

The real stroke of brilliance, though, is the use of old movie footage, mixed in with the CG animation, to trigger Wall-E's romantic yearnings. After work, Wall-E endlessly watches a videotape from the 1969 movie "Hello, Dolly!" The musical imagery and two songs make him understand what love and passion mean. He even learns how to hold hands, something he is finally able to try out with Eve.

Sound designer Ben Burtt creates expressive sounds given off by the robots, and in particular Wall-E, that you would swear are voices speaking words. If there is such a thing as an aural sleight-of-hand, this is it.

There are lifts from "2001" -- acknowledged as such with a wink by the filmmakers -- as there are moments when the robots run riot that remind you of Pixar's own "Monsters, Inc." Yet "Wall-E" is just possibly the studio's most original work yet. Can they really top this?

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:40 am

Can Pixar do anything wrong for critics?


A Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures release and presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios production. Produced by Jim Morris. Executive producer, John Lasseter. Co-producer, Lindsey Collins. Directed by Andrew Stanton. Screenplay, Stanton, Jim Reardon; original story, Stanton, Pete Docter.

WALL-E - Ben Burtt
EVE - Elissa Knight
Captain - Jeff Garlin
Shelby Forthright/BnL CEO - Fred Willard
Auto - Macintalk
M-O - Ben Burtt
John - John Ratzenberger
Mary - Kathy Najimy
Ship's Computer - Sigourney Weaver

Pixar's ninth consecutive wonder of the animated world is a simple yet deeply imagined piece of speculative fiction. Despite the decade-plus since its inception, "WALL-E" is a film very much of its moment, although in a cheeky, uninsistent way; it has plenty to say, but does so in a light, insouciant manner that allows you to take the message or leave it on the table. Adroitly borrowing from many artistic sources and synthesizing innumerable influences, Pixar stalwart Andrew Stanton's first directorial outing since "Finding Nemo" walks a fine line between the rarefied and the immediately accessible as it explores new territory for animation, yet remains sufficiently crowd-pleasing to indicate celestial B.O. for this G-rated summer offering.

Sci-fi films have offered up an endless supply of robots and droids, just as they have imagined numerous visions of post-apocalyptic Earthscapes, and both elements are central to "WALL-E." But how many films, sci-fi or otherwise, have proposed a future human civilization populated by people so fat that they can't raise themselves from their mobile chairs, in which they sit connected to phones, screens and super-sized cups? One can't help but speculate about the perverse prospect of plus-sized multiplexers laughing at these genuinely funny scenes while digging into their popcorn and slurping their sodas.

On its most elementary level, "WALL-E" is a wistful robot-meets-robot love story, in which two lonely and compatible souls, if that is an applicable term, meet in utterly against-the-odds circumstances. It's 700 years since humans have vacated planet Earth, for unspecified reasons, and the only active inhabitants of a once-major American city are the title character -- a small trash compactor on treads -- and his pet cockroach.

To modern audiences, the amber-hued vistas of the abandoned metropolis will recall the effective opening stretch of "I Am Legend," although the city here has been dead for so long that parts of it have become overgrown in the manner of Mayan ruins. Also, WALL-E has been so industrious that he (the gender is suggested, if not verified) has built neat piles of compacted metal that rival the deteriorated skyscrapers in height and architectural distinction.

Although others of his ilk (officially, Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class) have fallen by the wayside, WALL-E, who consists of binocular-like eyes and claw-arms attached to an adaptable box frame atop triangular treads, has clearly been built to last and only needs a blast of sunlight to recharge. He's a collector who lives in a tchotchke-filled space that resembles a larger version of himself, and he's got a single VHS tape, of "Hello, Dolly!" of all things, to keep him company and instruct him in the ways of human courtship.

Unexpectedly, WALL-E soon needs some social skills due to the spaceship arrival of EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). A flying white robot (voiced by Elissa Knight) who roughly resembles a plastic penguin with a black monitor for a face and a head, body and limbs that, disarmingly, don't physically connect, EVE is a superior being in every respect. She spars physically with WALL-E, who would probably fall for any creature to come his way but quickly develops a yen to hold her hand -- for him, the ultimate consummation of desire.

One of Stanton's bold strokes is to withhold any "dialogue," such as it is, for 16 minutes, a decision surely made long before the appearance of a similar strategy in "There Will Be Blood." Albeit accompanied by Thomas Newman's fine score, which provides notable support throughout, this is a silent movie for nearly the length of an old two-reeler, one that combines sobering physical spectacle with sight gags to odd and charming effect.

Everything changes when the object of EVE's mission, a single green sprout, is uncovered, signaling the return of photosynthesis to Earth. This momentous news must be delivered to humanity posthaste, and when EVE blasts off, WALL-E latches onto her ship's exterior.

Having focused on these two characters for nearly an hour, the film shifts into more familiar, boisterous gear upon arrival at the monstrous craft Axiom, a virtual nation in space that has been gleefully conceived and detailed to a degree that could be called malicious if it weren't so genial. It's a world run entirely by machines, to the extent that human beings have turned into floating couch potatoes too lethargic to move even if they wanted to. These Earthlings have turned into full-time consumers with no collective memory of where they came from or what life consists of outside their artificial compound.

All the same, when the equally listless ship's captain (an amusing Jeff Garlin) learns what EVE has brought back, he knows it's at last time for Operation Recall, the return of human beings to Earth. The problem is, are these people ready, willing and able to get off their giant butts and whip their distant homeland back into shape?

That, presumably, could be addressed in a sequel. In the meantime, "WALL-E" pushes an agenda that could, and no doubt will, be interpreted as "green," or ecologically minded. It's a theme that is certainly present, at least as pertains to what forced humanity off the planet in the first place. But in a bigger sense, the picture seems to be making a quiet pitch for taking clear-headed responsibility for the health of the planet as well as one's body and mind.

The adages about how you must lie in the bed you make, and you are what you eat, both would seem to apply here. But Stanton, his co-story hatcher Pete Docter, co-scenarist Jim Reardon and the entire Pixar team operate on the principle that entertainment values come first, and they have applied it throughout to sprightly effect.

Almost certainly, "WALL-E" stands as the first animated film in which the sound designer/editor/mixer also voices the leading role. One can hear echoes of R2-D2, a character for which Ben Burtt created the "voice," in the peculiar sounds he bestows upon the little robot here. Although there is significant pranking and foolishness among the leading characters as well as the "rogue robots" on board the Axiom, there is considerably less dialogue than in the generally talkative Pixar films, which creates a significant difference in feel.

A major distinction in message and tone between this and most related sci-fi is that, for a story rooted in an apocalypse, "WALL-E" is very optimistic. Yes, the worst will come, whatever it is, but humanity will, no matter what, be able to reconnect with its roots. This is good to know.

As expected from Pixar, the picture looks great, and cannot have suffered from having the great cinematographer Roger Deakins on board as a visual consultant.

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