Went to watch Walle today - here in Washington it costs pretty much half of what it costs in Suburban SoCal to see it on the same quality screen and sound.

So good, so good.

I have a lot to say on this, I might come back to it later, I'm not sure. On the "surface" level, it's an entertaining, clever story that is continually working to keep the audience entertained - something I find lacking in so many good movies, which demand one approach them as they are (think 2001 A Space Odyssey) they stretch out scenes and abuse audience patience because that's somehow artistic. Now, in the case of 2001, that can be a good thing, but in the case of so many bad imitators, who don't have the brilliance with which to punctuate patience Kubrick does, it can be terrible and boring. Walle doesn't have that problem at all. and, if anything has the opposite problem - except not, because it does make you deal with what's really there.
I was constantly pleasantly surprised by the intermittent violence of the script - from squished emotive bugs to a spaceship takeoff and landing which seems almost terrible in its thunder and smoke - one of the best representations of rocketry in a kid's movie, which would seem almost constantly and horribly violent if the characters were only slightly more human-like. Pixar, come of think of it, always seems to carefully, thoughtfully, run that line between just enough violence and too much, and much of that seems to depend upon the human-ness of the characters. They wern't afraid to pull arms off in Toy Story, but in Monsters Inc, where the the characters seem like they would bleed, they instead suck screams out of little girls. Here, with the characters as robots, they engage in a violent slapstick worthy of Kung Fu Hustle.
Which brings me to another point - Pixar, to my personal fascination, seems to be moving farther and farther away from things directly human. They started with Toy Story, with two rather human characters, adding in a bit of Mr. Potato Head and company. They then overstepped themselves with A Bug's Life (in this writer's opinion) jumping too far into the deep end. If you doubt this, watch Bug's Life with a careful eye for whether or not the faces can emote - and watch how many close-ups the director feels he can indulge in, then compare that to Toy Story, Nemo, or Walle. Toy Story 2 brought them back on track, added more verbal repartee and referentialism, and Monster's inc made things a fair bit less human - with two humanoid leads, and a little girl for safety. Finding Nemo moved further from humanity, the faces weird and elongated, but brilliantly emotive all the same. The Incredibles could be treated as a step back to the human (and may have given them a return to the grounding to proceed) or may be seen as a step forward. In many ways, I would say fish could be easier to emote than super-humans and super-villains, with all their cartoon fix and cliche nature. In terms of humanity, there might be a good argument that superheroes are not humans with extra abilities, but almost the opposite of humans in a deep way - they are not vunerable where most humans feel vunerable - of course, the Incredibles (as with Nemo, and all the rest for that matter) made us feel the characters were vunerable in the way most humans feel vunerable - in relationships. Cars may have overstepped the bounds again (too far into machines) but still, a step forward. Ratatouille took things farther into the animal side, and did well, but not wonderfully, and now, with Walle, they have managed to create a character that emotes partially through a face without really having a face - no mouth, so important to so many former Pixar characters, but the great thing about Walle is the way he emotes with his whole body - much like a robot variant on Chaplin's tramp, with the same pretensions, the same imitations of "high life" and hat-tricks. Walle's silence, of course, also reminds of Chaplin.

Other things to watch for:
Heavy 2001 references.
Heavy sexual/pregnancy references (Eva being wheeled into the ship, strapped to the cart, with the plant growing in her "womb")
The almost Freudian nature (also very 2001) of the story.
Heavy religious influences - there's the obvious Adam and Eve/ Walle and Eva parallelism, (I believe the last shot of the credit sequence is a direct reference to a painting (Sorel? A Mixture?) of Adam and Eve before the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, but I need to find it.) Also, in this sense, Walle is a Adam which is also a sacrificial Christ - a blending of the two myths, with a good return-to-earth-as-resurrection myth (seed myth, perhaps?)

In any case, fully worth watching, and quite thought provoking.

No comments: