While Wanted may have turned out to be a disappointment, Disney and Pixar managed to continue their winning streak without a hint of slowing down. WALL-E is, in addition to being the best film of the year thus far, something of a masterpiece. 700 years into the future humans have abandoned Earth while waste disposal robots clean up the planet. Only problem is most of them break...except for one. In his time alone the last remaining WALL-E droid malfunctions a bit and as a result develops something of a personality. While Pixar/Disney have always succeded in making audiences care for animated humans and animals, they've never quite attempted something non-biological; something wholly man-made and non-organic. In spite of this, they succeed brilliantly. WALL-E is an absolutely loveable and innocent hero who audiences of all ages should quickly fall in love with. What's even more amazing though, is that Pixar takes it a step further: they craft a robot love story, and it's remarkable. The first half in particular is a masterpiece in its own right. With no real dialogue at all, there's never a moment of dead air as we watch WALL-E go to work, and have his world changed by the arrival of a robot from space. Complimenting all this are traditional Pixar animation (by which I mean "unbelievably beautiful") and perfect music by Thomas Newman (American Beauty). Newman also cleverly inserts a few unoriginal songs that fit perfectly into the film, most notable a Louis Armstrong rendition of "La Vie En Rose". Now, the first time I saw the movie, the second half couldn't possible hope to measure up because that's when humans enter the proceedings. However after seeing the film a second time I came to appreciate it as well and find just as much to love (namely a brilliant homage to "2001: A Space Odyssey"). Still, even when the dialogue in the picture, the film never loses what is showed us in the first half: a brilliantly developed sense of visual wit. The film earns additional points for not being a typical Disney film drenched in sugar; the scenes of WALL-E navigating through a deserted and barren metropolis are somewhat somber, and the depiction of society in the second half feels eerily believable. However, at the end of the day, this is a simple love story that is so winning in part because it is so pure (all WALL-E wants to do is hold hands with his sweetheart) and so lovingly crafted. Sure, there's a bit of an environmental message, but it's presented honestly and unobnoxiously and should make it clear to everyone: we need to take care of our planet, global warming or not. For a film with barely any dialogue, this is one brilliant little movie with a LOT to say.
Nominations: Best Picture(#1 WINNER), Best Director - Andrew Stanton(#1WINNER), Best Original Screenplay(#1 WINNER), Best Editing(#1 WINNER), Best Cinematography(# 2), Best Art Direction(#1 WINNER), Best Animated Film (#1 WINNER), Best Original Score - Thomas Newman(#1 WINNER), Best Original Song - "We're All Coming Down" by Peter Gabriel(#1 WINNER), Best Sound Editing(#2), Best Sound Mixing(#1 WINNER)
Number of 2008 Films Seen: 16