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Peter T Chattaway

Wall-E

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Wow. Pure Pixar power. That teaser just gives me chills.

I'm so glad to be living in the time when this team is at their prime, to see one classic after another rolled out for the first time. It's like living in the first golden age of Disney feature animation. Only better.

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I'm so glad to be living in the time when this team is at their prime, to see one classic after another rolled out for the first time. It's like living in the first golden age of Disney feature animation. Only better.

Yes, better.

The Disney team produced four early masterpieces -- Snow White, Fantasia, Pinocchio and Bambi, with one lesser effort, Dumbo, tucked in the middle, kind of like A Bug's Life in the Pixar canon (though I like A Bug's Life better than Dumbo).

But then, after a holding pattern of "package" films, mostly musicals (Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad), Disney began reliably knocking out competent three-star features -- Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp -- interspersed with a few better efforts -- Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians -- that still fell short of the early masterpieces.

Pixar now has eight films under their belt, only two of which I would put at the three-star level, A Bug's Life and Cars. Among the others, I'm reluctant to assign a lesser status to any; I like Monsters, Inc. a lot better than Jeff does, I guess, although if I had to single out one lesser effort among the Big Five it would be that one. Ratatouille is at least at that same level.

Looking foward to Wall-E.

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SDG wrote:

: But then, after a holding pattern of "package" films . . .

Necessitated by "the war", alas. I don't think Pixar has had to deal with any external factors on THAT level.

: . . . Disney began reliably knocking out competent three-star features -- Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp -- interspersed with a few better efforts -- Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians -- that still fell short of the early masterpieces.

Interesting that you say "interspersed", since those two films came out in 1959 and 1961, whereas all the others came out between 1950 and 1955. Perhaps Disney, after a decade of corporate reprioritization (a new theme park, a commitment to live-action feature films, a plethora of documentaries and TV shows), was finally rising to its feet again? (These films were then followed by The Sword and the Stone, in 1963, and The Jungle Book, which came out in 1967 only a few months after Uncle Walt's death -- are those in the "competent three-star" camp or the "better efforts" camp?)

: Looking foward to Wall-E.

Me, I'm intrigued by the distinction the trailer draws between what Wall-E was "built" for and what he was "meant" for. Kind of ties into recent discussions I've been having elsewhere over which "creator" -- the human one or the divine one -- a robot with a soul would be answerable to.

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: Well, OK. But you *did* get the title wrong...

Hmmm. My original source on this was the Jim Hill item linked above. He spells it "WALL E" consistently -- all caps, no punctuation -- and I rejected this approach because (1) all caps are kinda ugly and (2) the graphic included on his page put a dot between "wall" and "e".

The dot was easily translatable to a hyphen, moreso than an asterisk, especially given the rounded corners of the letters in the graphic. And apparently Disney's own corporate documents call it "WALL-E", with a hyphen, as do the trade papers. So I go with the hyphen, definitely.

We could possibly go the all-caps approach, though. But I think we've refrained from that before, and I would lean in that direction only if the robot's name were an acronym, a la D.A.R.Y.L. (1985).

The original thread also has the advantage of having search-able key-words, apart from the movie's title, the spelling of which is apparently debatable. :)

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Necessitated by "the war", alas. I don't think Pixar has had to deal with any external factors on THAT level.

I'm just commenting on the results, not providing a total evaluation of the talents or situations involved.

: . . . Disney began reliably knocking out competent three-star features -- Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp -- interspersed with a few better efforts -- Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians -- that still fell short of the early masterpieces.

Interesting that you say "interspersed", since those two films came out in 1959 and 1961, whereas all the others came out between 1950 and 1955. Perhaps Disney, after a decade of corporate reprioritization (a new theme park, a commitment to live-action feature films, a plethora of documentaries and TV shows), was finally rising to its feet again? (These films were then followed by The Sword and the Stone, in 1963, and The Jungle Book, which came out in 1967 only a few months after Uncle Walt's death -- are those in the "competent three-star" camp or the "better efforts" camp?)

The first four films were illustrative; the other two were exceptional.

I would put The Sword and the Stone very comfortably in the "competent three-star" camp; Jungle Book does threaten to break out into "better effort" territory, but I'm not sure it quite succeeds. Oh, and there's also The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a "package film" that's also a "better effort" film in my book.

But the rest of the ledger continues the three-star (if that) trend, in my opinion: The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron (yuck!), The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company. And then you have the Disney Renaissance, beginning with The Little Mermaid.

So, three exceptional films (maybe four) out of, like, sixteen -- and even those three or four aren't quite up there with the first four masterpieces (Sleeping Beauty comes closest IMO).

So, Pixar's current trajectory looks better to me.

Edited by SDG

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Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:

: WALL-E's voice is wicked cool.

According to Wikipedia (which cites Time magazine, but gives no URL), "Lucasfilm sound designer, Ben Burtt, will electronicaly voice the main robotic roles." He was involved with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) too, no? (Speaking of the rumours of a Christian contingent around Pixar... If memory serves, Burtt is a Christian, and his daughter reportedly attended Trinity Western University here in B.C. while I was an instructor there. Although I can find no data on that via Google.)

SDG wrote:

: Oh, and there's also The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a "package film" that's also a "better effort" film in my book.

That film came out in 1977 and combines three short films, only one of which, I think, was produced during Walt's lifetime.

: But the rest of the ledger . . .

... takes place after Walt's death, and is thus definitely not part of Disney's "golden age"!

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There's a new teaser/trailer here. It's in French, but that doesn't really matter as there's no dialog per se.

My fave bit is the Pixar logo gag at the very beginning, which gets me chuckling everytime.

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opus wrote:

: There's a new teaser/trailer here. . . . My fave bit is the Pixar logo gag at the very beginning, which gets me chuckling everytime.

There seem to be only two real new bits here: The revised Pixar logo, which to my mind is a little too reminiscent of that THX reel with the flying robot farmer who fixes the THX logo, and the insect bit, which increases the impression one gets that this film is borrowing elements from the Short Circuit movies (1986-1988) -- just as A Bug's Life ripped off !Three Amigos! and Cars, I am told, ripped off Doc Hollywood. (Never seen Doc Hollywood myself. Saw !Three Amigos! only once. Saw Short Circuit a LOT.)

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Wow, I never thought of those comparisons. Cars is a lot like Doc Hollywood, with a thick layer of nostalgia spread on top. And A Bug's Life is sorta like Three Amigos, only not as funny.

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-- just as A Bug's Life ripped off !Three Amigos! and Cars, I am told, ripped off Doc Hollywood. (Never seen Doc Hollywood myself. Saw !Three Amigos! only once. Saw Short Circuit a LOT.)

Alan beat me too it, but I was going to say the same thing. A Bug's Life is a version of Seven Samurai for children.

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Pixar has that wonderful ability to make what one wouldn't think cute at all into something that is just so darn cute.

That little robot? Adorable.

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Pixar has that wonderful ability to make what one wouldn't think cute at all into something that is just so darn cute.

Totally agree.

Everything I see about this movie makes me love it more.

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There's nothing really new in the trailer, except for the bit with the rocket coming down and then lifting off again. Maybe I've bought into my Pixar-always-remakes-the-1980s thesis a little too much, and maybe I'm being unduly influenced by the fact that I saw Twilight Zone: The Movie last night (which includes a segment directed by Joe Dante), but the new trailer, apart from recycling the bits that borrow heavily from Short Circuit, gets me worrying that this could turn into another Explorers. It's all very well and good to have a story about leaving the planet, but ... but ... once you've left, where do you go?

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There's nothing really new in the trailer, except for the bit with the rocket coming down and then lifting off again. Maybe I've bought into my Pixar-always-remakes-the-1980s thesis a little too much, and maybe I'm being unduly influenced by the fact that I saw Twilight Zone: The Movie last night (which includes a segment directed by Joe Dante), but the new trailer, apart from recycling the bits that borrow heavily from Short Circuit, gets me worrying that this could turn into another Explorers. It's all very well and good to have a story about leaving the planet, but ... but ... once you've left, where do you go?
I was getting more of an ET vibe from the trailer.

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There's nothing really new in the trailer, except for the bit with the rocket coming down and then lifting off again. Maybe I've bought into my Pixar-always-remakes-the-1980s thesis a little too much, and maybe I'm being unduly influenced by the fact that I saw Twilight Zone: The Movie last night (which includes a segment directed by Joe Dante), but the new trailer, apart from recycling the bits that borrow heavily from Short Circuit, gets me worrying that this could turn into another Explorers. It's all very well and good to have a story about leaving the planet, but ... but ... once you've left, where do you go?
I was getting more of an ET vibe from the trailer.

Exactly right. Especially the way he trembles when he's coming out from the red-hot rocks -- that's very E.T.-in-Elliott's-room.

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