I had my first real desire for an iPhone, or other portable Internet appliance, tonight. This afternoon, the Monaco Pictures web site told me there was a 6:50 showing of WALL-E, and when we got there, there wasn’t. That’s unimpressive, Monaco Pictures people. The accuracy of show times on a cinema web site should reasonably approach 100%.
So is it on anywhere else? I didn’t look before I left the house. Who the hell makes a Plan B for a movie, fercryinoutloud? Worse, I didn’t have my PDA with me, else I could have used one of the Bridge Street hotspots. What to do? I tried Melanie, she of the fastest fingers in four counties, first, but she wasn’t home. Fortunately Charles came through, telling me that it was on at Hollywood 18 and that we had plenty of time to make it. Thanks, man!
As for the movie, the boys liked it, which was really most of the point. Lea hung “cute” on it, and enjoyed it. Based on the buzz, I went in with high expectations, wondering if this would be the one to unseat The Incredibles as my favorite Pixar movie. Instead, my assessment is that it’s easily the least impressive Pixar movie.
It’s got the signature touches—the inside jokes for the grown-ups (loved the 2001 and Blade Runner references) and the slapstick—but there’s less movie holding it all together than ever before. It’s 45 minutes of plot asked to serve 97 minutes of run time. Even keeping the extensive nonverbal setup on the front end (which I did enjoy), it really has no excuse to be any longer than an hour.
The politics are heavy-handed, and the depictions of humanity’s sins of consumption are so over the top that a lot of their potential impact disintegrates in a cloud of eye-rolling resentment. I frequently enjoy the skillful weaving of message into a work that can also entertain superficially, but I’d like it to gently nudge me into the circle of thoughtful consideration. WALL-E uses an electric cattle prod.
By the way, Disney/Pixar, what’s the merchandising story on this film? Given its message, do you still plan to feed us as much plastic Chinese swag as we can stand? Standard plastic box for the DVD release? Just checking.
I’m disappointed. I was hoping for something with typical Pixar dazzle that also worked as thoughtful science fiction. I got flashes of each, but they’re hanging on a rickety scaffolding of a movie. C-.