Everyone goes into a movie with baggage. What you know about the film’s star, how critics reacted to the film and what you ate that day all have an effect on how you see a movie. A great movie can become a mediocre (never terrible) under the right circumstances. I am supposed to like Wall-e. It got almost universal acclaim when it came out. I am a fan of Pixar and innovative animation in general and I respond to allusions to vintage films with an unrestrained vigor. All of this baggage that I lugged around for six years (this film has been out for six years! I still think of this film as new…) came crashing down on me as I started watching Wall-e. I knew what was expected of me and I am afraid I am going to disappoint you.
If you are reading this blog, you probably know the story of this popular favorite. A robot who works on Earth cleaning up waste and trash meets another robot. They form a friendship, but through several events they become separated. Wall-e must now go on the space ship where all of the humans now stay to rescue his love. These humans are fat and lazy slobs who have trashed their home planet and now fill their days with virtual reality.
When Wall-e first came out, it was praised for being years beyond its time. The intellectual types praised its use of CGI, producing an amazing looking film and its call backs to silent slapstick comedy. The normal audience member looked past these things and saw that it was a great movie that appealed both to children and adults. This became an example for art and commerce combining to produce a successful film for both types of viewers. But all of this was six years ago. We have now gotten used to animation for adults, computer visuals making everything look smooth and ultra cool, and injecting political ideals into a simple story. Movies have gotten better in each category. For example, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has an environmental message, produces call backs to jokes only adults would get (amuse bouche anyone?) and has super ultra fancy animation behind the scenes. But in some aspects Cloudy was able to grab me more than Wall-e did. I didn’t find Wall-e to be an interesting or dynamic character unlike Flint Lockwood. The environmental message in Wall-e was like clubbing a baby seal on-screen while in Cloudy it was in the background of everything but not necessarily in your face. Wall-e is dated already.
I think that I saw this film at the wrong time. It was too soon after the movie came out to truly appreciate its contributions to film history. It was too far away to think that anything that was done in the film was revolutionary. I think I need to wait a couple of years and revisit this movie. Maybe I will still have this blog…