Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Cinematic: Wall-E

I have this thing in life, that sounds as cheesy as hell, and really is. If I have an opportunity that I am unlikely to ever have again, I take it. Unless it is, say, the opportunity to jump off of a bridge. That'd be silly. But it's the same reason I went to Paris last year, saw Springsteen in May, and have gone to Glastonbury the last two years running.

So when I was at Glastonbury last weekend and saw they organisers were showing a preview of new Pixar film Wall-E, I thought I'd grab a chance to see it - three weeks before the UK release. It meant sacrificing the Sunday night headline slots. But The Verve are boring, Groove Armada tired, and Manu Chao - well, that was a shame to miss. But to see Wall-E... well, it was worth it.

You see, there is little in Cinema that excites me more than a new Pixar film. Another Die Hard would, perhaps. A film in which Natalie Portman portrays, well, anyone... the resurrection of Hitchcock would no doubt garner some interest from me. But other than that, very little excites me more than a new Pixar output.

Wonderfully, Wall-E does not disappoint. In fact, it is certainly their best film since the groundbreaking Finding Nemo, and very possibly the best in the catologue so far. First of all, we have the title character, rendered in the most ridiculously loveable way, an innocent robot with a heart - the sort of description one might expect from a film on par with The Care Bears Movie. But here we see so much more than your average cliched children's cartoon character - we find depth and emotion and... and why is this worth even mentioning? The fact of the matter is that in every Pixar film - bar, perhaps Cars - we are introduced to solid story-telling, wonderful animation, and above all fantastic and well-loved characters. Whilst these are all factors that add to the phemonal rating this film will receive, it is not what raises it above its predecessors.

No, Wall-E succeeds because of the influences Pixar explores in it for the first time. The films screams Chaplin, Keaton and the names of so many other heroes of silent comedy. In a film where dialogue is at a bare minimum, everything balances on portraying voiceless characters and making them lovable. Where better to look first than Chaplin? Wall-E, as a character, owes more to Chaplin's tramp than, say, Short Circuit's Number 5.

All in all, Wall-E stuns. Visually, it is the most beautiful computer-animated film yet to grace cinema. The characters are wonderful, lovable and forever indebted to the silent comedies that have never even been seen by most of those who will see the film. Everything - everything - is wonderful, and never before have I felt so impressed, so in awe of an animated film. Miss this film at your peril.


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