So what's up with this new Pixar film, Wall-E? That's a question I keep getting asked by both young and old alike. Pixar has really tapped into something special and they've recaptured the magic that Disney once specialized in. Family films for the WHOLE family. You don't have to be a kid or even have a kid to walk into one of their films. So whenever there's one on the horizon, I start getting a lot of questions about it. But this time, I actually know a bit about it.
You see, I'm not the world's biggest Pixar fan. I don't in any way dislike them, but many of the films people consider modern classics (like Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and Finding Nemo) just don't resonate with me. I love The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but most of the time Pixar doesn't make me fall in love with their stories. But this time they're cooking up something entirely different.
One of the issues I've always had with Pixar's films is that for the most part their stories feel very been there, done that. Even when their movies aren't too mismatched -- toys, fish or monsters – they are taken from other movies entirely, like Cars (Doc Hollywood) or A Bug's Life (The Three Amigos.) But this, this we've never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen before. And the footage I saw last month really blew my perceptions of Pixar out of the water.
Wall-E is the story of (as well as the name of) a waste disposal robot left behind on Earth after our planet has become so polluted and so covered with trash that humans can't live here anymore. So they leave. And someone forgets to turn Wall-E off. So Wall-E spends 700 lonely years cleaning up the Earth and taking care of his pet cockroach until a beautiful iDroid (if R2-D2 and an iPod were to get it on, this would be their daughter) arrives on a mission for the humans who left. Guess who falls in love and goes on a wild adventure?
What's really killer is this: Wall-E doesn't talk, neither does the iDroid. Now the Pixar folks assured us that there was dialogue in the movie from the human characters (which we weren't shown), but that doesn't matter. I don't want to hear them talk. Because despite the lack of dialogue, Wall-E and his new girlfriend speak volumes. You know how you always knew what Chewbacca and R2 were saying in Star Wars? Well, it's the same principle.
The audience I saw this footage with flipped out, and I gotta admit, I'm pretty excited myself. The animation is gorgeous, including an outer space action sequence that will blow your mind, and in the brief 10 or so minutes I spent with Wall-E, I fell in love with him. No big names. Very few characters to have product tie-ins with. This is a different kind of Pixar movie. But the question remains: Will kids fall in love with Wall-E? I don't know. But I have a feeling adults will. Wall-E opens this summer.
C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me
Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD five times a week.