Let’s start with the positives: yes, it’s pretty. Good animation. It also has some clever ideas: rolling the film of Fred Willard into the animation was a good idea, and it works. Not to mention, just picking Fred Willard was a good idea! And while there’s no new stories under the sun — Wall-E is far from the first to deal with us trashing the planet or the whole ship of people concept, but they gave it some new touches that were interesting.
But! And you can tell the But is coming because I put all of the good things in one paragraph, unlike my review for Dark Knight.
I know John Lasseter and Pixar can do no wrong, but sorry… Wall-E falls short.
I’m not too surprised. Their quality has slowly declined by small measure since Nemo. Nothing has been as tight or overall as strong as that film at Pixar, but they rely on the fact that everyone says how pretty it is and the kids buy the toys and the DVDs.
Wall-E is a step down for a few reasons. Let’s start with the blatant ripoffs from other films and the first part has so many, I don’t know if I remember to name them all. There’s Wall-E himself, a ripoff of the droids used in Lucas’ Star Wars rides. John also pointed out how much of the design they ripped off from Short Circuit. Many of his sound effects are stolen right from R2 in SW and, worst of all, part of the score from SW: A New Hope is blatantly stolen note for note! And not once, but a number of times!
I guess they figured, once you actually steal music without changing it even a little to cover up the theft, why stop there? The scene of ET being drunk is stolen, Ariel’s treasure cave from The Little Mermaid is stolen, the character design and sound effects for Crikee from Mulan are stolen, HAL from 2001 is stolen…. see, I did forget some of them due to the overwhelming amount. My brain just overloaded.
The second big problem is pacing and organization of the film. It draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags in a number of places. I’ll give one perfect example:
Eve “fulfills her mission” and goes to the bridge to report to the captain. HAL, I mean, the Ship’s Computer gets mean and tries to destroy Eve and Wall-E who tear around the ship to save the day with the help of their friends from the Island of Misfit Toys — I mean, from the ship’s repair bay. Do you like that idea? Good, because you will see it three times! Over and over and over…. I was beginning to root for the Ship’s Computer to win – anyone! — as long as meant the film would move on!
That’s just one example; there’s a lot more.
And if Pixar wants to be a sci-fi maker, they had better brush up on what that means. It doesn’t mean, for example, ripping off from Ray Bradbury about Earth being deserted and a few automatic systems carrying on anyway. Plus, no self-respecting sci-fi writer would use that big ship to land a probe droid, let along build and program the droid on the surface. And if that doesn’t make sense to Pixar, then they really need to brush up on sci-fi. They might also check into how no person can walk after laying around for even a month, let alone their whole lives.
In case you think it’s just me, it’s not. Most people that I know who saw it said the same things, even John who loves Pixar. The best comment was one from someone at work, who had gotten free tickets for the movie and took their daughter. At the end of it, she said:
Girl: How much did we pay to see this?
Father: We got free tickets, we didn’t pay anything.
Girl (beat): We paid too much.
I wouldn’t go that far, but unlike some movies that I would say it has enough great moments to warrant going to see it, Wall-E isn’t one of them. Honestly, wait for it to be on cable.
For the people who do think John Lasseter and Pixar can do no wrong, don’t worry! Wall-E will sell toys and DVDs, and so Lasseter will continue his Pixarification of Disney. The man who has thrown out great Disney people like Chris Saunders and shoved Roy Disney into the shadows, who has gotten rid of Disney characters on Disney.com for his Pixar characters, who only builds Pixar rides in Disney and only creates new Pixar parades in Disney, who puts only his characters in Disney.com commercials (forget it all started with a mouse; Mickey is put in a tiny box at the bottom where he can barely be seen), who forces Disney movies to be the secondary movies, and is having Mickey Avenue renamed to Pixar Place will not stop now.
Fans have already called for a Disney ride to be gutted and removed for a Pixar Wall-E ride, so look for Space Mountain, which has no movie attached to it, to be torn out. Then one of the hotels will get Wall-E comforters, the way Caribbean Beach has to have Pixar and Pirates now, and then the Partners statue of Walt and Mickey can be torn down for one of Lasseter with the Pixar lamp. Or Jack Sparrow with the Pixar lamp with Ariel in chains at his feet (We wants the red head!). Either way, fans will be thrilled.