Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tonight's Movie: WALL-E (2008)

For at least the third year in a row, our family enjoyed a new Pixar DVD release on Thanksgiving Night.

This year WALL-E followed in the footsteps of CARS (2006) and RATATOUILLE (2007).

I enjoyed WALL-E, although I wasn't as swept away by it as many reviewers. I appreciated the creativity and artistry of those who made it -- and had fun picking out influences from all sorts of films, including E.T., 2001, and STAR WARS -- but, let's face it, the worlds depicted in the film are depressing.

As a musicals fan, for me the best parts of the movie were the ongoing references to HELLO, DOLLY! (1969). The film's startling opening, with Michael Crawford singing the beginning of my favorite DOLLY song, "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," was just about my favorite part of the movie. What makes it even better is that for years an instrumental version of this song has been part of Disneyland's Main Street music loop; now it is truly a "Disney song"! Having another DOLLY song close the movie was a lovely touch. While watching the movie, I couldn't help but wonder what Michael Kidd and Gene Kelly would think if they were able to see the film and its depiction of robots mesmerized by their work.

Sound effects wizard Ben Burtt provides the "voice" of the title character. Pixar regular John Ratzenberger is back once again (check out his very interesting website); he'll also be in the cast of Pixar's next movie, UP, along with Christopher Plummer and Ed Asner. Fred Willard appears onscreen in WALL-E, while Kathy Najimy and Sigourney Weaver voice characters.

WALL-E can be seen on DVD in a 3-Disc Special Edition or a Single-Disc Edition. I chose the 3-Disc Edition as my youngest son, in particular, is fascinated by "making of" and special effects featurettes. The set includes the 87-minute documentary THE PIXAR STORY (2007) which should be very enjoyable.


Blogger Irene said...

I got the three disc version also as I want to watch the movie and listen to the commentary. I also loved the Hello Dolly music with this and that opening scene was wonderful. I thought the first half of the movie was sweet and touching. The second half was the action stuff to keep the kids interested. Even though at the time the movie came out they said this was not a "message" movie about the environment, I think it was.

Overall I really liked this movie and I wished they had brought the Wall-E robot to DCA. I've seen movies of it on YouTube.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Enjoyed reading your thoughts on the film, Irene. I agree, I think it was a "message" movie too.

I'd love to see the robot. :)

Best wishes,

11:42 PM  
Blogger UGN said...

Mrs. UNG here.

This is my oldest son's favorite movie (he'll be 18 in March). While I don't disagree that there is an environmental message to this film, I think that my son found it so appealing because of the indictment of our society as it pertains to instant gratification and becoming so reliant on technology to save us and fulfill our every whim.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's an excellent point, Mrs. UNG...along with the "green" message there's a huge point about mindless consumption as well as technology being a curse as well as a blessing (that part reminded me of the movie 2001, not to mention the book 1984...creepy!). On the one hand, it was depressing, but I also think those were more interesting angles than the environmental message.

I can't believe he's that old...!

Best wishes,

12:12 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

We only viewed this recently and enjoyed it a lot. I'd say a big influence of "Wall-e" was Charlie Chaplin. I hope parents will take the opportunity to introduce their children to other silent or semi-silent films.

9:21 PM  

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