Thursday, June 26, 2008


Whenever Pixar puts out a film, animators and the public as a whole take notice. They've kind of replaced Disney as the standard bearer for animated feature films. So far, the buzz around Wall-E has been extremely positive—some are already touting it as Pixar's Best to Date. One early circulating "spoiler" is that the first half hour of the film is almost entirely silent...just Wall-E hanging out on Earth all by himself---little to no dialogue. Which intrigues me.

However, I just came across the first heavily negative review I've seen. And it comes from Michael Sporn, one of the top bloggers in the animation community. He says that "the film, to me, felt less like an animated film than a special effect film." Which is an interesting statement in it's own right....heavy on spaceships and robots (obviously). But, here's the essence of his criticism:

"The technical abilities are high, and the film is done with the greatest professionalism. But they’re machines being animated, and I never felt close to them. The Iron Giant, from that film, was a hostile, war machine and was supposed to stay a machine, but I felt more for that character than I did for Wall-E or his cutely developed girlfriend, EVE.

The film has a better concept than story. It’s the bane of all movies these days. If you can narrow the story down to one sentence, it’s more concept than story and has a harder time being successful. Wall-E feels a lot like Short Circuit 3 with no humans - for at least the first half."

Definitely disappointing if true. I'm gonna hope for better. I think that for me, it will fall on character development. R2-D2 and C-3P0 were extremely likable robots. But it IS an interesting choice for Pixar to work with less animated-looking characters. What are people's thoughts and expectations for the film, based on reviews and trailers you've seen? It hits theaters tomorrow.


Renee Kurilla said...

I usually try really hard to not read reviews or know anything about Pixar films. I like to watch them with no expectations. The only thing that concerns me with this film is that it wasn't in the hands of Brad Bird. (At least, I don't think so?) I think he does an amazing job of paying attention to the story and getting in the minds of the characters.
Of course, I'm still excited to see Wall-E. Who doesn't love robots? :)

Bob Flynn said...

This one is a Andrew Stanton creation (working with John Lasseter?)...he was behind Finding Nemo, Monster's Inc, Toy Story, etc...

So, it's in GREAT hands. Brad Bird only has 2 features at Pixar (The Incredibles and Ratatouille).

Renee Kurilla said...

Yeah, well Finding Nemo is one of my most favorite movies of all time :) I guess I should branch out and start learning more about other directors :) I know the most about Brad Bird so it's easy to sort of latch on to that.

Kate Cotter said...

It's hard to believe that the story in Wall-E would be that bad. I know Pixar does a TON of testing and renders of the films during the production process to screen for vendors as well as test audiences.

And I know they were freaking out about early scripts of Ratatouille, because the story ended SO flat. And Brad Bird definitely saved that film.

But even given those arguments, I wouldn't be that surprised if the story wasn't as developed as Finding Nemo or Monsters, Inc , because the story behind Cars was nonexistant, really.

I wonder if there are some films they focus more on the visuals and less on story? It would be interesting to see how their budgets are split up. (I'm such a producer head.)

push the pull door said...

Sooner or later, Pixar has to have a film bomb, right? I mean, they're on a streak of seven critical and financial successes, and that kind of happiness doesn't last forever. :) Wall-E may be the film that struggles--I do think they handicapped themselves a little doing a non-verbal, metallic hero. What a challenge for the animators to make that character relatable for kids.

But I'm not rooting against them. I'm skeptical, but I want to like the film, and will be taking my daughters when it comes out. I do have some faith in Andrew Stanton after Finding Nemo. That was his first solo directing gig, and he didn't do so bad there.

John L said...

The reviewer for the Boston Globe calls it, "a major visionary work, a sci-fi parable of astonishing scope and depth" and also "the best American film of the year to date."
At least it's stirring up opinions!

Bob Flynn said...

I honestly couldn't be more excited about this movie. I'm an animation buff and a sci-fi buff. I'm hoping to see it tomorrow :) You're right though, the buzz around this movie is huge right now. The reason why I called attention to Michael Sporn's post was because it was so different than everything else I'd read so far. I'll report it when I see it (thumbs up or thumbs down).

Bob Flynn said...

2 Thumbs WAY UP. I'm not saying anymore. Leave future comments at the newer post:

Go See Wall-E

I mean it! GO SEE IT!

Anika said...

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