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Just got back from this about an hour ago. I'll have to post my full thoughts later, but I will say it's definitely Pixar's boldest picture yet, venturing into territory that "children's films" (if we can even honestly call a Pixar movie that anymore) rarely dare to tread. I also found it interesting that the crowd was predominantly young adults, with only a smattering of families with children, although that admittedly could have been due to the fairly late showtime.

My preliminary marks for the film would be a 3.5 out of 4.

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Finke sez:

FRIDAY PM: Sources tell me that very early North American box office numbers show that Disney / Pixar's Wall-E took in $23M Friday from 3,992 theaters for what should be high $60sM opening weekend including the Saturday matinee bump. This means Wall-E is big, but maybe not the biggest Pixar (which was The Incredibles at $70.5M). Disney is looking for a Best Picture Oscar nomination for the pic, possible with 100% great reviews from top critics and even rival studios bigwigs gushing about the pic: "It's just adorable and smart and interesting. It has more character development and emotion than any movie I've seen this year." One wrinkle in Wall-E's marketing was that the 1 hour, 37 minute pic has no dialogue for the first 40 or so minutes. And it can be hard to market a character thatdoesn't talk.

I also discover at Hollywood Elsewhere that Wanted is doing great business, and has received some great reviews. :blink: I didn't see that comin'.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I also discover at Hollywood Elsewhere that Wanted is doing great business, and has received some great reviews. :blink: I didn't see that comin'.

Hey, it has Common in it. That means it has to be good. Think about it, he's a rapper, an actor, a vegan, a PETA activist, an HIV awareness activist, a big Obama supporter, and he's stopped using the word "nigger" and anti-gay lyrics in his music. Top all of that off with the fact that he is an attractive man. Would a man like that throw himself into something that was less than top notch?

Edited by Michael Todd

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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"Dr." Ted Baehr (bold print mine):

Strong Christian worldview without mentioning Jesus that tells a story about no greater love has any person than to give up his or her life for his or her neighbor, with very strong moral elements such as kindness, courtesy, compassion and all the other cardinal virtues extolled, slightly environmentalist elements and slightly anti-consumer, but on the whole very balanced, emphasizing virtues that Christians and most conservatives would commend; absolutely no foul language; action cartoon violence with robots and cartoon people, but nothing scary, though there is danger and jeopardy, plus human cartoon character captain fights with auto-pilot trying to take over ship; no sex but robots hold hands; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, nothing objectionable or offensive.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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So, is Ted Baehr defending the movie (it's only "slightly" about those things), criticizing the movie (it IS about those things), or both?

I mean, the filmmakers say it ISN'T about those things, but some of its most ardent fans say it IS about those things -- and "passionately" so! Etc.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So, is Ted Baehr defending the movie (it's only "slightly" about those things), criticizing the movie (it IS about those things), or both?

I mean, the filmmakers say it ISN'T about those things, but some of its most ardent fans say it IS about those things -- and "passionately" so! Etc.

I think Baehr loved the movie and hated to criticize it, but couldn't contain himself to not comment on anything that seemed even slightly "non-conservative" (read: non-corporate) in tone or theme.

Also, far be it from me to call 'shenanigans' on what a filmmaker says his art is about, but I couldn't help thinking throughout the entire film, especially the second half, that Stanton had managed to succeed in all the places that Mike Judge slightly failed in Idiocracy.

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Did anybody notice that Hello Dolly! is a Fox film... and not the property of Disney? Impressive, that they were willing to use a movie that wasn't part of the magic kingdom...

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I also discover at Hollywood Elsewhere that Wanted is doing great business, and has received some great reviews. :blink: I didn't see that comin'.

Hey, it has Common in it.

That's right! Common was in Smokin' Aces, so this movie has to be good. ;)

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Just got back; it was a huge disappointment for me, easily my least favorite Pixar film.

Charmng, sure, and pretty. But so riddled with logical inconsistences that it just collapsed under its own weight by the end, for me. One of Pixar's most poorly thought-out efforts.

Show hidden text
Why were EVE units still being sent out?

How did humans suddenly get over their bone-density issue?

If they have that kind of hyperdrive technolgy, why not colonize--or at least explore--other planets?

Why stay so far away?

And on and on and on... 3.0/5

Alan, I thought I might be the first dissenter, but you beat me to it. I'm really torn about this movie, and am having the same Roger Ebert type reaction that Ebert had to The Hudsucker Proxy. The angel on his shoulder wanted him to give Hudsucker 4 stars for its awesome production quality, but the devil on his shoulder wanted him to give it 1 star for total lack of involving characters.

For Wall-E, on the A&F 5 star scale, the angel on my shoulder wants to give it 5 stars for the breathtaking visuals... but the devil on my other shoulder wants to give it 1 star for finding the movie to be incredibly dull. I've never said this about a Pixar film, but I found myself looking at my watch about a 1/2 hour into the film, and checking my watch about every 10 minutes after. Nothing really connected with me as far as the characters of Wall-E and Eve, and then even less so with the human characters. As Alan said, there was some charm, but it quickly evaporated.

I just got back from it, and will process my reaction a bit more, but unfortunately my initial reaction is on par with Alan's... 3.0/5

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: Just got back; it was a huge disappointment for me, easily my least favorite Pixar film.

Worse than Cars? Really?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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Alan Thomas wrote:

: Just got back; it was a huge disappointment for me, easily my least favorite Pixar film.

Worse than Cars? Really?

Cars had been on the bottom of my list, but on subsequent viewing I will admit to liking it more the second time around. Who knows, maybe down the road I'll have the same reaction to Wall-E. Perhaps I'm prejudiced against machines, but I can't seem to make the same emotional connections with Pixar's machine-based characters, that I do with their living creatures (or in the case of Toy Story 1 and 2, plastic, metal and foam characters based on living creatures).

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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For me at this point, it goes:

Finding Nemo - A+

Toy Story 2 - A+

WALL-E - A

The Incredibles - A

Ratatouille - A

Toy Story - A

Cars - B+

A Bug's Life - B+

Monster's Inc. - B+

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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What I like about WALL-E is that it's a different kind of movie, expanding the reach of Pixar's powers.

My favorite parts don't have a great deal to do with Pixar's normal lickety-split action and dialogue. The aesthetic magnificence of much of the film is an achievement in itself.

The Incredibles is a great superhero movie... maybe the best ever. The storytelling is elaborate, and they do an amazing job with a large cast of characters.

WALL-E is great world-building, and great intimate character development (between machines!), in my opinion. I was amazed at how many moments of poignant emotion were achieved without dialogue, and without being nervously followed up by humor.

I'm seeing WALL-E again today... my last trip to the movies with A&F's own Croaker, who has seen more movies with me in the last 17 years than anybody else in my life, by far. He's moving to LA to become a screenwriter, and so this is our celebratory farewell film. I'll report back as to whether the good stuff gets better or the weak points are more bothersome, at least for me.

I sure hope Croaker likes it.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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FWIW, WALL*E apparently had the biggest opening day in Pixar history -- $23.1 million, versus the $20.5 million made by The Incredibles on its very first day and the $22.6 million made by Toy Story 2 on its first Friday in wide release -- but as far as the overall weekend is concerned, it is virtually tied with Monsters Inc. for third-place, and might fall slightly behind into fourth-place -- its $62.5 million being a bit shy of the $70 million and change earned by The Incredibles and Finding Nemo in THEIR first weekends.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I do agree with you on the live-action vs. animation bit. I didn't see that as a jarring aesthetic choice though--I saw it as just another entry on a crowded list of careless inconsistencies in the film. I agree with you on what you appreciate about the film, it just doesn't have as much currency with me.

I'd be hesitant to describe anything Pixar does as "careless" at this point, but it's certainly something to consider.

It seems to me that they were stuck in a quandary. They wanted to use real footage from "Hello Dolly!", but that was going to be inconsistent with showing human beings animated in Pixar style later in the film. So they included Fred Willard as a CEO from the "earlier" world, and then, by way of explanation, they showed the various captains of the Axiom "devolving" from photographic human beings to slovenly, infant-like, Pixar-style human beings of 700 years later.

It's a stretch. But I think they thought it out.

Whether viewers are willing to accept that stretch is another matter.

Watching the film a second time today, I found it more easy to forgive.

I also found a world of new details to enjoy and appreciate.

And the better parts just got better. This time, the last-act heroics worked for me.

Seeing WALL-E lose his memory and become just a machine really choked me up.

Yeah, it's gonna last.

(Oh, and the closing credits are remarkable in themselves.)

(Oh, oh! And the score... the SCORE! Outside of the musical numbers, which are well selected and beautifully integrated through the action, the orchestral score is fantastic. There are moments which clearly reference Star Wars... as well as the obvious 2001 references. When WALL-E follows Eve into the canyon of trash, the soundtrack references the flutes that accompany R2D2 into the jawa canyon, a scene that I think had something to do with the inspiration for this film. Very nice. I've always been fond of that Star Wars sequence, because of its simplicity and the powerful personality of R2 when he's just on his own with little more than Ben Burtt's sound effects to bring him to life.)

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Seeing WALL-E lose his memory and become just a machine really choked me up.

Yeah. Me too.

And I love the way they resolved it. Other than, heh, Lars and the Real Girl, what other movie has packed so much power into the simple act of

holding hands

?

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Having now seen the film...yeah...I definitely fall into the pro-Wall*E camp. To be honest, a lot of the criticisms feel like they don't really apply to the film I was watching. Yeah, the people had devolved a bit...but I by no means found it an indictment of the viewer...and I am fat guy. I didn't feel an accusatory finger at all. Rather I saw a concern that is not unreasonable.

In fact, I found the story of Mary and John, as well as the captain to be quite compelling. The way their eyes were opened by the introduction of Wall-E into their lives. The people on the Axiom turned out to be quite heroic and noble as they were having a veil lifted from their eyes. It was, in fact, a powerful spiritual metaphor.

I definitely loved the film, and yeah, the end credits were very worth sitting through. I can't wait for the Blu-Ray.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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My family saw this together this past weekend, and my kids (ages 5 and 7) and I loved it, but my wife was bored. I had to convince her to go, and in doing so I played up the love story a lot, which worked for me but not for her.

I was not bothered by the things that seem to bother others, especially Alan. To be honest, I didn't even pick up on the mixing of animation and live action (is that because I'm not a discerning viewer, or because it just worked for me?). And

Show hidden text
I thought they were sending out EVE units all over the place, so that they might find life on some planet (any planet). Which is why they wouldn't necessarily be hanging out near earth - they would be ready to travel to wherever they found life. Or that is what I thought.

One thing I wasn't as impressed with is the animation. The robots did look very cool. But there are scenes in each PIXAR movie that make you say, "That is beautiful, how did they do that?" I can think of those moments in Nemo, Cars. The scene in space

where they dance

should have been that scene for WALL E, I think, but it wasn't for me. And my wife made this comment as well, independently of me thinking it.

But I loved the story.

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Yeah, the people had devolved a bit...but I by no means found it an indictment of the viewer...and I am fat guy. I didn't feel an accusatory finger at all. Rather I saw a concern that is not unreasonable.

I too loved the film, but I found the hyperbole a bit much. It isn't that the exaggeration makes the story less believable, but I did feel it crossed the line from being merely a plot device to poking fun of fat people and getting cheap laughs.

The scene of the man knocked out of his chair and unable to get up was especially offensive.

. I did feel that, even if unintended by Stanton, he ended up laying the blame for the continued ecological destruction of the earth at the feet of obese people. I'm sympathetic to the notion that the rich and famous "and thin" Hollywood artist types may have a "fat bigotry". You won't get far insulting your audience. At least 2 of my family members including myself came away from the movie feeling the same way.

And don't get me wrong, I'm a bit of a couch potato sometimes myself and I think there is definitely a place for that kind of pointed message, and it perhaps hit too close to home for me, but I do think it is overdone here when it is done for cheap laughs. And, as mentioned earlier, it isn't like blame couldn't have been placed on the Disney marketing machine itself. But that is a minor and unfortunate distraction to the otherwise wonderful and original story and is the only reason I'm giving it 4 stars and not 5.

I definitely loved the film, and yeah, the end credits were very worth sitting through. I can't wait for the Blu-Ray.

Did I miss something in the end credits? I stayed until I got the white screen and saw nothing.

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The last company logo at the VERY END of the credits, even after the Pixar logo, is

a B-n-L logo.

A nice, self-effacing admission by Disney... that this film is brought to you by a merchandising empire.

Again... Stanton has explained that it's real science: Long habitation of space causes to degenerating bone structure and a change in body shape. Note: The people who went into space were not obese. At least, none of those we saw in the real footage were heavy. And the idea of getting people into that "shape" represents something more along the lines of them having created a world in which they can behave like "big babies," not like obese people.

That's why Jon can't get up when he falls out of the chair.

I really don't see this as a mockery of heavy-set people in the audience.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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The last company logo at the VERY END of the credits, even after the Pixar logo, is

a B-n-L logo.

A nice, self-effacing admission by Disney... that this film is brought to you by a merchandising empire.

Ah...yes, I got that. I thought there was an additional scene or something.

Again... Stanton has explained that it's real science: Long habitation of space causes to degenerating bone structure and a change in body shape. Note: The people who went into space were not obese. At least, none of those we saw in the real footage were heavy. And the idea of getting people into that "shape" represents something more along the lines of them having created a world in which they can behave like "big babies," not like obese people.

Well, even so, it comes across that obese people are like "big babies". That can reasonably be interpreted as unfairly offensive.

I understand Stanton's stated intent, however, I must then fault him (slightly) for poor execution of that intent.

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I found the comments here interesting.

The questions on the scientific plausibility of various plot points never even occurred to me when I watched the movie. There was one exception: The bone-density thing was a misfire. First of all, it is not a problem of being in space, it is a problem of zero gravity. Since they had some sort of artificial gravity on the Axiom, they would not have had a bone density problem. Second of all, they forgot about it when the people return to earth. Simply by omitting it they could have solved both problems. It wasn't that this was a serious problem with the movie, but it was the only "science" the movie directly introduced, and it got my attention when they introduced it only to flub it. Many of the back-story questions that have been raised here don't seem to me to be especially difficult problems. Why were Eves still being sent out? I supposed it was because they were an automated system that was continuing even though there was no longer any point to it, which is really characteristic of the movie as a whole: Wall

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The last company logo at the VERY END of the credits, even after the Pixar logo, is

a B-n-L logo.

I confess, that was a bit of a disappointment-only because I guess I was expecting some last sequence or something. But the credits themselves,

which detail the rebirth and rebuilding of life on Earth starting with cave paintings and morphing into digital imagery as the new culture grew

, was a masterpiece.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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