They like WALL·E, they really like WALL·E!

I haven’t really been paying any attention to the hype for WALL·E, the Disney/Pixar film that opened Friday, but it’s getting absolutely rave reviews from critics — a 96% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes! — to the point where, for example, it made the Wall Street Journal‘s critic sound veritably Obamaesque in his gushing:

The first half hour of “WALL-E” is essentially wordless, and left me speechless. This magnificent animated feature from Pixar starts on such a high plane of aspiration, and achievement, that you wonder whether the wonder can be sustained. But yes, it can. …

[T]he film stands as a stunning tour de force. The director has described it as his love letter to the golden era of sci-fi films that enchanted him as a kid in the 1970s. It is certainly that, in hearts and spades. Beyond that, though, it’s a love letter to the possibilities of the movie medium, and a dazzling demonstration of how computers can create a photorealistic world — in this case a ruined world of mysterious majesty — that leaves literal reality in the dust. … I must drop my inhibitions about dropping the M word — especially since I’ve already used magnificent — and call “WALL-E” the masterpiece that it is.

See also TNR‘s Christopher Orr:

For over a dozen years now, the best name in American film has been Pixar. No movie star, no director, no writer, producer, or studio approaches its level of consistent excellence. Even Pixar’s weaker offerings (A Bug’s Life, Cars, and–in my moderately heretical view–Finding Nemo) have exceptional depth and texture, moral as well as visual. And its best efforts (Toy Story, The Incredibles) are simply transcendent, rivaling the finest live-action films in sophistication and sentiment.

Pixar’s newest movie, WALL·E, is firmly in the latter tier, and quite possibly at the top of it. It is, in a word, a marvel, a film that recalls in equal measure Hollywood’s most evocative future visions–Blade Runner and Brazil, E.T. and 2001–and the silent intimacies of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. It is a story about love and loneliness, perseverance and triumph, the possibilities and pitfalls of human existence. That this story is told by way of the exploits of a tiny, faceless robot only makes it more extraordinary.

Wow. I guess I’ll have to go see it.

Incidentally, speaking of movies, I finally saw Charlie Wilson’s War; Becky and I watched it Friday night on DVD, having rented it from Blockbuster. It’s really good, mostly because Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman freakin’ rock. Watching their witty banter — fueled also by great screenwriting, by the way — was just an absolute joy. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in a movie, with apparent effortlessness, when you’ve got great actors playing the key roles. For a film that didn’t exactly have an elaborate or involved plot, it never seemed to drag at all. It was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. (Becky, who hates Julia Roberts, thought she was poorly cast and outclassed by her co-stars, and that she brought the movie down a notch. I agree that she was the weakest link, but I don’t think she particularly hurt the movie.) If you haven’t seen it, you should; it’s a great film.

14 Responses to “They like WALL·E, they really like WALL·E!”

  1. Jay Johnson says:

    Apparently in Wall-E there’s also tons of Apple “inside baseball” kind of references. Guess I have to go see it now.

  2. Joe Mama says:

    Charlie Wilson’s War was good, but it wasn’t great, and it could’ve been. The movie was pretty faithful to the book, but I don’t think Hanks — who I think is a great actor — was the best choice for the role. Wilson was a character to be sure, but the movie makes him out to be a little too comedic (for the entertainment value, no doubt). I would’ve preferred to see someone like Alec Baldwin in that role. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Avrakotos, on the other hand, was spot on brilliant.

  3. kcatnd says:

    Yeah, I was impressed at how closely it followed the book, as well. And I second PSH’s brilliance in the film.

  4. Nadine says:

    The main character is also an homage to Woody Allen, whose eyes look like his and is cleverly named:

    W(oody) ALL-E(n)

    There are lots of San Francisco Bay Area visual references.

  5. Condor says:

    I’m not sure I would trust the Wall Street Journal on anything concerning matters aesthetic.

  6. Lisa says:

    I saw Wall-E last night, and I loved it! There are definitely a lot of references to other sci-fi movies. The creative genius of the people at Pixar has never amazed me more.

  7. Sandy Underpants says:

    I saw Charlie Wilson’s War in the theater, should’ve waited for video (if such a thing even exists anymore). Really, a good times congressman from Texas teams up with a dumpy CIA guy, because a wealthy, good looking woman tells him equipping Afghani insurgents to fight the Russian occupying Army is a good idea, really? We might be in trouble in our own occupations if Iran or Saudi Arabia have a Blockbuster Video somewhere.

  8. Mad Max, Esquire says:

    I spent the afternoon with my kids at the miserably derivative Kung Fu Panda. My kids really wanted to see it before they saw WALL-E. I’m sure I will enjoy WALL-E much more than the usual, tired, Dreamworks formula animated film.

  9. CORNHUSKERS HUSSEIN 94 95 & 97 says:

    Great movie. took the kids to see this movie on saturday and sunday and I even got some laughs out of it.

  10. CORNHUSKERS HUSSEIN 94 95 & 97 says:

    Great movie. took the kids to see this movie on saturday and sunday and I even got some laughs out of it.

  11. Tbone says:

    I went into this movie not having read a thing about it, and I was stunned.

    What I thought was going to be another cute, well made Pixar kids flick turned out to be the best sci-fi movie I’ve seen in what seems like forever.

    There is hardly any spoken dialogue and the first humans really don’t appear until the latter third of the film.

    Pixar never fails to deliver but WALL-E is on a completely different plane. Brilliant!

  12. Becky says:

    I don’t hate Julia Roberts. It’s just that I thought she was poorly cast. She couldn’t pull off an ultra-right wing Houston socialite. She’s not a versatile actress. She does sweetheart well. Everything else is a bit painful to watch, IMO.

  13. Angrier and Angrier says:

    Becky-

    I have to agree with you. As “an actress,” I think Julia Roberts is over-rated. She, Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner have all made careers out of playing themselves. Whenever they try to delve into “characters,” the results are usually unpleasant.