Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Aw, sweeeet.

Susi and I had actually planned to see Mamma Mia - which I'm vaguely curious to see, since the spectacle of Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan singing Abba is said to be mesmerisingly ridiculous. But it was sold out at our local cinema, so we headed for the next one on the list.

Presumably you know the concept of Wall-E by now. Human race leave Earth after environmental catastrophe. Robots are left behind to clear it up. Poor beleaguered Wall-E is the last one left, until something arrives from space.

All of which sounds like a slightly odd set-up for a kids' movie, and indeed it is. There's practically no dialogue in the first half hour of the film. The heart of the story may be Wall-E and Eve (the probe from outer space), but they rarely speak more than a word at a time. There's virtually no dialogue in the first half hour. It works because Pixar are geniuses, and know how to adapt body language for machines, so as to make them expressive. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Pixar can pull this off - they've been doing it literally since day one. But as a sustained animation tour de force, it's hugely impressive.

The weaker half of the film is, well, the rest of the story. All this stuff about the human race being out in space and so forth... it doesn't feel like it's been thought out as thoroughly as the robots. Other than the Captain, the human characters are perfunctory; and there are details that don't entirely make sense. (If nobody ever looks up from their video screens, what are the billboards for? If they've been in space for that long, shouldn't there be more former Captains in the gallery?) I don't really buy the humans' story, and that's a problem.

But Wall-E and Eve... that's worth seeing the film for. It's perhaps a bit slow for the kids, and it takes a while to get going, but at its best, it's some excellent work.