Sunday, June 29, 2008

Go See Wall-E

Drop what you're doing and go see Wall-E. I mean it! If you've seen it, feel free to leave your thoughts.

Also, the Pixar short Presto is a real treat as well.

What are you waiting for?...stop reading!!

Previously: Wall-E


Renee Kurilla said...

You couldn't be more right...Seriously the best (and most unique) movie I've seen in a while. I feel sort of sheepish for ever even doubting it would be amazing ;)

Bob Flynn said...

A lot of people are already discussing how there is a "Pixar" portion of the movie and a "Disney" part. The distinction should be straightforward (Pixar: enter Wall-E, Disney: enter pudgy humans). For the people that doubted the "why robots?" mentality, and are still touting the "this is a special effects movie, I would caution you to remember where Pixar got it's start—animating a desk lamp. This is what they do and is what animation is all about at it's core.

I just heard Andrew Stanton say in an interview that the inspiration for Wall-E came out of sitting at a baseball game when someone handed him a pair of binoculars. He suddenly became entranced by playing with the binoculars, moving them up and down to create sad and happy expressions. This is one aspect of the genius of this movie. Wall-E is the most expressive character NOT to talk since Gromit, in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin, even.

There is so much to like about this movie, on so many levels. I think it will have cross-over potential at the Oscars for Best Picture. It's easily the best American movie I've seen this year...and certainly one of the best movies I've seen in recent memory. In terms of the power to move, amaze, make you think, and draw you in.

I'm curious, now, how it will do overall at the box-office. If it will blow open on the scale of an E.T. movie, or fizzle because parents don't think their kids will last through the purported 40 minutes of silence.

Bob Flynn said...

I just saw the movie again. I wanted to add another thought. I'm wondering if Pixar has reached a new frontier in 3D (again, but bigger this time). Lately, 3D animated films have been all about translating cartoony-ness and craziness into a traditionally stiff medium. Trying to recreate in 3D what traditional cell animation has did so well for almost a century. Most of the studios have figured out how to do this was animals, though the results are kind of generic looking.

This has been a tendency of new mediums—to mimic another medium that already has a fan base. Early photographers actually smeared and treated their negatives so that they would look like paintings (the photograph was considered too scientific to be artistic). We now generally recognize that a photograph is best used to capture a true moment in time, and that there is a ton of room for art and narrative in the medium.

Aside from the puffy humans, everything about this movie completely lends itself to the technology of 3D animation. It takes advantage of everything a computer is good at, and doesn't try to be overtly "cartoony" or "animated." It still takes cues from the underlying principles of those worlds, but it is executed in a way more true to medium. Still a hybrid for sure, but a turning point, in my opinion. They made a touching movie, true to the form, without all the familiar bells and whistles of a Disney feature.

It is truly a window into what could be, as Pixar continues to strip away decades of Disney conventions and gets to the heart of storytelling.

Keith remarked to me after the movie that he wondered if Pixar would ever release a traditional 2D movie, especially when you see how well done their credits have been lately. Perhaps. I definitely think that people will get sick of all the bland CG stuff studios are churning out.

Traditional animation will see a comeback when people decide they want to see silly animated drawings come to life again.