Went to see WALL•E on Sunday. I was worried that it wouldn't hold up to all the hype and that I would be disappointed, but it was an utterly charming, clever, and visually lush movie. Loved it. The homages to 2001 had me hooting. And I'm both awed and impressed by how much personality and humor they managed to squeeze into animated 'droids. I mean, I'm extremely easy when it comes to anthropomorphic empathy*, but they evoked an extraordinary amount of emotion and character with only a pair of eyes and "body" language in both Eve and Wall•E, not to mention the host of supporting cast of 'bots which didn't always even have eyes.
Definitely one of the top Pixar productions in my book (and I'm a huge fan of Pixar), up there with The Incredibles and Ratatouille. I've heard a couple critics say that they think the environmental message was delivered too heavily, but I don't agree. Yes, it was blatant and upfront, but at the same time, it didn't feel preachy. 'Course I'm pretty green, so I think concern for the environment is a good attitude for kids (and everyone else for that matter) to internalize.
(As an addendum, I also really enjoyed the short, "Presto," which ran before it, too. Humor a la classic Looney Toons with stepped up Pixar animation and a clever conceit.)
Roger Ebert said in his review of WALL•E:
"This story told in a different style and with a realistic look could have been a great science-fiction film. For that matter, maybe it is."
I definitely think WALL•E qualifies as great science fiction.
As a tangential segue, I find it interesting that there's an attitude which assumes that animated works somehow have less merit or meaning purely due to their being animated and/or that relegates them to the sole province of children's entertainment. I'm not saying Ebert is doing that here, although I'm not saying he's not either. But I've noticed with fosteronfilm's mom that she can't seem to accept the notion that animated works are suitable entertainment fare for adults. She loves musicals and has a decided '50s sensibility and taste in movies, and we've thought that a lot of the modern animated features would appeal to her. We've tried to turn her on to some of them, like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin—titles which have great songs as well as solid and classic storytelling—but she's never been interested in them. Makes me wonder if it's an age/generational thing.
*We've got a couple "retired" killer whale-shaped oven mitts which are singed, stained, and worn through in places that I can't conceive of ever throwing out. Over the years, fosteronfilm and I have imbued them with so much personality—they used to complain about their jobs, screaming and ouching when we used them to pull things from the oven, and suchlike—that it feels wrong to even consider just dumping them in the garbage. I figure they've earned a lazy retirement in the towel drawer.
I met Jerry Page back in early 2006 at the Aberrant Dreams signing, and we've been corresponding since. (I've also managed to persuade him to write reviews for The Fix.) He edits the fanzine Pulp Spirit which is a companion publication to Planetary Stories. Anyhoo, we were emailing back and forth, and I commented about a column he wrote and the general contents of the last issue of Planetary Stories/Pulp Spirit. Jerry asked whether he could print my remarks in their letter column, "From the Vibrating Ether." Of course I said he could, but I didn't realize that they also had an ongoing "best letter to the editor" contest. Hee. My letter won. I'm getting an original, signed Mark Fults illustration (#1 at the bottom of the contest page). Sweet.
OMG, it's not just me! I have a cow oven mitt that now resides in the spare bedroom with all of the stuffed animals from my childhood. My husband made the cow talk and now it has personality. I decided it was probably too lonely in the kitchen and might want other critters around for companionship.
Hee! I think I'd feel the same way about the whales—needing company and all—if there weren't two of them. I figure it would be more stressful on them to be relocated, so they continue to live in the towel drawer with the other oven mitts rather than in the library with the stuffed animals.
Whatever happened to animal-shaped oven mitts? I've been looking for replacements for the whales for years but haven't been able to find any.
The animation thing drives me nuts, my 1st memory is Fantasia and I'm going on 38 years as an animation junky.
The rise of Saturday morning cartoons that were lowest common denominator did a lot to lower the standing of animation. :/