WALL-E by Andrew Stanton (Review)

There were many brilliant ideas and scenes throughout the film, but in the end, they just didn’t gel for me.
Wall-E - Andrew Stanton

For those of you prepared to express outrage over that “stay the course” line in WALL‑E, there’s no need to get your knickers in a twist over that. There are far more legitimate criticisms to level at the film, which is good but not great; a single, “blink and you’ll miss it” line of dialog is far from being the most problematic aspect in Pixar’s latest.

Renae and I finally got to see WALL‑E, and as you might’ve guessed, we were a little underwhelmed. For me, it was akin to Cars — another Pixar film that I liked well enough, but didn’t love — whereas I was hoping for something more like The Incredibles (my fave Pixar film). I’ve come to appreciate the film a bit more as I think about it, but while the first act was fantastic, the final third felt like it was a totally different movie. There were many brilliant ideas and scenes throughout the film, but in the end, they just didn’t gel for me.

Or, as Noah Millman writes, in his review:

WALL‑E is being compared to the best of the Pixar films, but I actually think it’s most comparable to Cars, another film with a poorly thought-out alternate world and a very simple plot (albeit with a whole lot more character development than WALL‑E has).

Now, all of the above having been said, I enjoyed myself, and I thought there were wonderful things in the movie. The first half-hour — alone with WALL‑E and his pet cockroach — was beautiful and amusing; the second half-hour — the wooing and then the caretaking of EVE — was even more affecting. If the movie had continued in this vein, my complaints would be fewer and less-serious. But I really felt like it went off the rails once we got to the Axciom (sic).

Millman gets pretty nitpicky (not that that’s a bad thing), but his general points are spot on — the movie really does stall once WALL‑E makes it onto the Axiom, the giant spaceship on which humanity lives. I think back to the tagline in those early trailers, about our little robot finding out what he was meant for, and the amazing promise and potential that hinted at, and that potential just wasn’t realized for me.

I wish I could raved about WALL‑E like, say, Steven Greydanus. But while I certainly find Greydanus’ observations interesting as always, it still doesn’t change the fact that WALL‑E left Renae and I both with a slight case of “meh” when the credits rolled.


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