Diablo gets the first look at WALL*E
Pixar outdoes its already high standars with an instant classic
I have some good news to report. Wall*E, from our East Bay friends at Pixar, is easily the best film of 2008 so far. I think its the studios best effort yet, although I know I'll find friends who disagree on this point. Some people still love Toy Story, others pick The Incredibles, and WALL*E has a subversive undercurrent that some people will find distracting. Writer/director Andrew Stanton (who helmed my previous favorite Pixar effort, Finding Nemo) has made Wall*E in the style of those early 1970s sci-fi movies with a message about our modern world—think Westworld and Soylent Green and Silent Running. Movies like these came out every year until Star Wars came alongin 1977 and changed the focus of sci-fi movies from cautionary parables to visual extravaganzas.
The cool thing about WALL*E is that it combines cautionary tale with visual extravaganza, and garnishes with Pixar's trademark heart and soul. The film looks as spectacular as an sci-fi movie you've ever seen. It makes comments about our consumer culture and wasteful, irresponsible stewardship of Earth, without being preachy or whiney. And it gives us WALL*E, an endlessy optimistic character, and an instant classic in the Pixar family. WALL*E is equal parts R2-D2, ET, and Charlie Chaplin's Tramp.
I sat down with Stanton at the Pixar studios last week and he told me that he loved these sci-fi movies as a child. "My formative years as a movie goer were between 1968 and 1982. And it seemed like every year a movie would come out that would take you to another universe—2001, Silen Running, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Close Encounters, Alien. Even Star Trek: the Wrath of Khan and Outland. I just took it for granted that there would be a great science fiction to see every year. It seemed like it stopped after 1982, and I never really knew why, but I wanted to create that kind of movie."
He certainly has. WALL*E is a sci-fi classic and the best film of 2008 so far. I expect it to be considered for a Best Picture Oscar next year. Enjoy!