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2 Jul 2008

Wall-EEEEEEEEEEE

Picture for: Wall-EEEEEEEEEEE

I imagine it would be absolutely wonderful right now to work at Pixar studios. To be an animator, hell, even a janitor (well, not really) - anything to have that association with a studio who's films continue to grow and mature, while pushing the boundaries in computer animation.

As far as recent animated films go, my holy trinity consists of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. The latter of which I just happened to watch only a few weeks ago. Also as you may have noticed, two of those are from Pixar. Though, after watching Wall-E last night, it has easily bulldozed it's way into that trifecta of animated perfection. This has been my most anticipated release this entire year, and it delivered in ways that I couldn't have possibly imagined.

When I first saw images for Wall-E, I wasn't exactly sold. At the time, I was still a little put-off with Cars, and thought that Pixar was possibly on their way into an inevitable downward slump. Obviously, I was wrong, but I was still a bit skeptical. What looked like some lame rip-off of Short Circuit's Johnny 5 robot, became more appealing the second I watched the first trailer. The idea of a lonely robot and it's search for companionship, that crushing loneliness on a deserted Earth. These were themes that struck a nerve with me, and I knew that this was something I needed to see.

We witness Wall-E's day-to-day chores, with almost minimal dialogue - outside of a few live-action scenes played out through holograms. This is the type of thing where Pixar excels, in making the very most out of tiny details and subtle actions. It has a sense of palpable gravity, as we actually care about this little robot's actions. You can feel the emotion through his eyes, as he watches the clips of Hello Dolly while inside of his room full of treasures that he's found throughout his time. You instantly understand that loneliness that he feels, that need to share this uniqueness with.

This movie is so many things at once-post-apocalyptic sci-fi, Chaplin-esque physical comedy, a cautionary tale on consumerism, amazing eye candy, and, above all, a love story with robots. The real success of this movie is that Wall-E, a computer-animated robot, conveys real emotion, and his loneliness and longing comes across more realistically that what you'll find from most live actors. Add to that the best animation Pixar has done yet (above all in the opening scenes on earth look absolutely real), and the fact that Wall-E is one of the cutest things you'll ever see on film, and you have a movie experience that is definitely worth seeing. The film isn't perfect, as the second half of the film becomes a little more like what you would expect from a family-oriented cartoon. It's still really well done, but the first half sets such a creative precedent that a second half that would be the highlight of most any animated film seems like a (little bit of a) let down. But still, Wall-E is truly a unique film, one that is so ambitious that you can forgive it for where it doesn't take you, since it's already taken you somewhere you never would have gone otherwise. Like all of Pixar's best, I can safely rank it among the best animated films made.

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