Monday, July 26, 2010

Day Twenty-Four: WALL-E

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #47
Year: 2008
Director: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Jeff Garlin and John Ratzenberger

This is the day, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you, one and all, to the first entry of Travesty Week! For the next five days, I'll be writing mean things about movies that everyone apparently loves. Hopefully people will use the comments section to get butthurt and tell me I'm wrong and that I don't get these movies which are clearly miles over my head! Let's get the ball rolling with Pixar's 2008 dud WALL-E, which finds itself at the high and mighty position of #47 on this list. What this movie amounts to is Pixar's severely misguided attempt to replace entertainment value with message. The interpretation from critic-types (and apparently IMDb users) is that this was brilliant. But Pixar's job is still to make fun, entertaining family movies, and if they can roll in some tear-jerking moments and a good message in the process, then that's great. That's what they did with Ratatouille, Up, and Toy Story 3, and those are all masterpieces. WALL-E is all message. It's all heavy-handed Al Gore environment worship that opens with an hour long sequence without dialogue. This was somehow called great. Huh?

By the time our protagonist (about whom I never once cared) gets on a spaceship occupied by the morbidly obese humans who left a polluted Earth behind, the plot picks up a little bit, but the environmental message is still front and center. To put it simply, this movie is just not fun to watch. I don't disagree with the message it's selling, I just don't want it to be the only thing going on onscreen. Besides all that, the whole thing is just incredibly fucking boring. It's hard to believe that the geniuses who gave us Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, and all three Toy Story movies could put out this pretentious swill. It won critical acclaim and Oscars and all that jazz, but those don't translate into entertainment value. In fact, the target audience – children – probably never begs their parents to put WALL-E on the DVD player. It's total conjecture, but I have younger siblings, and this bored them to tears too, so I imagine that data can be extrapolated to most kids.

If WALL-E has some value, it's that it secretly allowed Pixar to take notice of the fact that audiences just weren't as interested in an environmental epic featuring an hour of two robots who can't talk playing with garbage as they were in what made Pixar so great in the first place. WALL-E's worldwide gross was lower than that of any other Pixar film made in the 21st century except Cars – which also sucks, for the record. Pixar reeled and have since given us what may be their two finest movies: Up and Toy Story 3. As far as what actually happens on the screen during the two hour running time, though, you're better occupying that time with a nap. Hell, if you start the movie when you're tired, it'll probably end up being a nap anyway.

The Good: It looks great. Pixar movies always do.

The Bad: It's borderline unwatchable. It's boring as all hell and the message is rammed down your throat with a cold, robotic hand.

The Skinny: Get this crap off of my list! Four more days of Travesty Week. What will I blaspheme next?


  1. Are your other reviews this vapid and predictable? Maybe after writing all 250 you'll start learning how to write.

  2. And it begins!

    But seriously, I realize my reviews are rarely going to break new ground. They aren't reviews per se, as much as they are my thoughts on movies and commentary on their position on the list and how fair I feel that is. It's not like I can be revolutionary every day for 250 days. Maybe sometimes I will be. Maybe sometimes I'll bring up points that inspire discussion. Originally, the exercise was just a way for me to watch the entire top 250 so I'd be familiar with all of them because I think that's something movie nuts should be able to say. The blog is a way to keep me honest with watching them all, and if it inspires discussion, then great.

    I would like to personally apologize, Fasthands, for the fact that I am not Roger Ebert. But keep in mind at all times that I never claimed to be.

  3. Well, Brad, I think instead of Ebert for inspiration you should switch to "brightwalldarkroom"...they write some of the best pieces on movies I've ever read.

    Also, I majorly disagree with you on Wall-E, mostly because I love that a movie made it into the mainstream vastly without dialogue, yet still perfectly communicated with body language. It's a tactic I think many other movies could benefit from--if there's one thing I've learned about story telling, it's that you should seek alternate ways to reach your audience.

  4. See, most of my favorite movies get that way at least partly through dialogue. People talk. If they aren't alone, they're talking. Hell, in a sense, I'm talking right now, and I am alone. It's just at odds with my tastes for a movie to be mostly silent unless it is really, really gripping in some other way. WALL-E just isn't, in my opinion.

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  6. "unless it is really, really gripping in some other way"

    Plenty of silent or mostly silent movies are, through comedy, or suspense, or something. WALL-E lacked that, in my opinion. Which is all this is, after all.

  7. I guess to each their own, I thought the silent part of the movie worked very well for the environment being a mostly desolate planet. However, I do feel 47 is too high for this movie I would say around 100.

  8. I'm so glad to see that you are the future of our critics. You clearly are just as harsh and cynical as our society demands of its critics.

    You should teach schoolkids.

  9. Animation with a different path of thought and definetly not for kids. Now when TS3 has surpassed it on being top animated movie on imdb list, lets stop bashing WALL-E :)
    Wall-E 8/10

  10. I think that bringing your own beliefs into your opinion about a movie is not the way to go.
    Wall-e has a very heavy environmental message but you didn't even touch on the splendid and detailed animation. Thomas Newman's wonderful score. The (incredibly written) homages to 2001. None of that. There are more things that make this movie great than it's message.
    Also, I don't agree that the message replaced the entertainment. Wall-e is actually (first and foremost) a very funny comedy. And the first hour has no dialogue, but kids are still enthralled and entranced.
    I think this is actually Pixar's biggest achievement because of the fact that families and kids love it but it is actually a very dark story.
    Disagree completely.

  11. Can't believe people get so angry and childish over a review...
    Personally I disagree with you and enjoyed the movie and I thought the message was important, however, I don't see any reason to hate the blogger. If you don't like what he writes then read something else.

    (This is not aimed at those who posted constructive criticism or actuallt had a point to be made)