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"WALL-E"

Directed by Andrew Stanton.
Written by Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon.
Starring the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, John Ratzenberger and Fred Willard.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  8/2/08

Folks--

I really didn't want to see "WALL-E."  I avoided it for weeks; its trailer didn't help, since the trailer for this film was the worst trailer for a Pixar film so far.  Apparently, there's no dialogue, a robot that can't talk for a main character, it's set in a desolate future, etc.  Just didn't have the kind of appeal that made me think I would like it.

But, it's Pixar, right?  I had to go see it.  I must say, even though "WALL-E" has a slow, blah start, it's the set-up for what eventually becomes a very good, not great, movie.  The film is set about 500 years in the future, and when it opens, Earth has essentially died.  One of the leftovers includes a trash compactor robot called WALL-E, which spends its days milling through trash to compact cubes of garbage, which eventually is used to make tall towers of trash all over the now-dead cities of this planet.  One day, WALL-E gets a visitor--a large ship comes from space and drops off a scout robot called EVE.  EVE appears to be scouring the landscape for life forms of any kind, and eventually, it meets WALL-E and strikes up a robot relationship.

Up to this point, the movie had me yawning.  Then, EVE finds something on this future Earth that leads to the real movie, and at this point, I really got into "WALL-E" and the laughs, the future vision, the animation, and (finally) a little dialogue make the film suddenly a lot of fun.  You had to have the setup in order to get us to the rest of the movie, so I can't really blame the filmmakers for the slow start, but I am certain some folks won't love this movie because it takes so long to get going.

Of all of the things I loved about the last hour of the film, I would have to start with just the simple idea that in 500 years, humans will essentially all be fat, lazy bastards.  And, not just most people...no, in "WALL-E", EVERYBODY is five sizes too fat.  Technology moving the way it is moving, exercise the way it is rolling, lots of signs point to this possibility, but the idea to just say "you know what, let's make our movie a statement that says everybody's going to be a fattie" is one that gives the movie at least a half-dozen free laughs once we get onto the spaceship where the second half of the film takes place.  Lots of the background imagery is also superb; even little touches like WALL-E's spoon and fork collection (and, its discovery of that age-old phenomenon known as the "spork") will make you laugh, if you are paying attention.

Not bad.  Fits squarely in the middle of the PIXAR canon of films, but still worth a look.

Rating:  $9.50 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09