WALL-E

by on June 27, 2008 at 8:40 pm in Film | Permalink

Better than better than good.  It is, however, not recommended for children.  WALL-E is to film as Moses and Aaron is to opera, albeit cast with two robots and a bunch of figures from a Botero painting.  The first week gross will be high but I fear that next week some bold genius at Pixar will be fired.

Addendum: Here’s one financial analysis of the movie’s prospects.  And note that movies with no dialogue in the first half hour are not ideal for DVD sales to children.

1 Erik June 27, 2008 at 9:16 pm

I don’t know why you think kids wouldn’t like it. I just got back from seeing it, and a little toddler ran up to the screen at the end of the movie and was jumping, pointing at Wall-E in the end credits. I think kids would love it, it’s a fantastic film.

I really, really liked it myself, although the previews for other kids movies looked horrendous and I was eager to get to the feature presentation.

2 themightypuck June 27, 2008 at 10:49 pm

You are pretty much rolling the dice with that prediction and hedging your bets. I will bet you ten dollars that no “bold genius” will be fired w/r/t WALL-E assuming your definition of “bold genius” isn’t trivial.

3 Jacob Oost June 28, 2008 at 1:30 am

Kids have more patience for minimal dialogue than adult viewers do. They haven’t yet been fully trained to watch films a certain way and expect certain things. We need more films willing to cast off the crutches of the spoken word. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but for a great many movies, words words words just fill up where story, plot, etc. is supposed to be.

4 Commenterlein June 28, 2008 at 3:22 am

“i am unsubscribing from your blog because anyone this clueless isn’t worth following.”

Wow, I just spent an hour reading blogs and comments, and this is the dumbest thing I have read. Congratulations!

5 chug June 28, 2008 at 6:46 am

Tyler, you are such a prankster. chug

6 spike June 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm

How exactly does one unsubscribe from a blog?

7 ideasarecheap June 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm

You unsubscribe from an RSS feed, which Unsubscribe Rage guy clearly uses for his blog reading. I do too, but I’m not unsubscribing for this, even though it may just be the worst prediction I’ve seen in my years of reading this blog. Specifically, I’d believe that the getting fired remark may have been literary exaggeration, but I really, really, don’t agree with the greater overtone that the movie is too-highbrow-to-sell.

8 J June 29, 2008 at 8:16 am

Doesn’t Wall-E have a bit of a Frankfurt School view of the relationships between business and government and advertising and individual choice to be giving a thumbs-up on a libertarian blog?

9 M. Hodak June 29, 2008 at 11:11 am

Actually, I think children (and other people with limited engineering and economic knowledge) are the only ones who can so completely suspend disbelief to truly enjoy this movie. I thought it was just OK.

10 Adam Hyland June 29, 2008 at 12:26 pm

That blog that you linked to is the reason I stopped seeing movies. Were I a benign dictator, anyone who suggested that Pixar make movies less like Ratatouille and more like Fucking Kung Fu Fucking Panda would be tarred and feathered. No Excuse. Kung Fu Panda is a montage of fat jokes and cuts that would be impressive if FILMED, not constructed with a 3-D modeler. Ratatouille was a wonderful and thoughtful work of art that my children will see–and their children too.

Cars was the worst movie pixar made.

11 Rich June 29, 2008 at 12:50 pm

So, unlike most of the commenters here, I think I see what Tyler is saying. I found much of WALL-E utterly charming, but walking out of it, I did not feel the way I felt leaving Ratatouille, or Cars, or … [insert every Pixar movie back to Toy Story.]

No, walking out of this movie I felt rather the way I did when I walked out of The Killing Fields, or Schindler’s List: relief that the forces of good had prevailed, overlaid with immense sadness at the nightmare that had preceded it. I think that many children won’t react this way, but I predict that a fair number of adults will. And I think that some perceptive children will grasp the potential reality of this dystopia also: my 8-year-old said it was the first Pixar movie he did not want to own…and he was terribly unsettled for the rest of the evening, until he had a chance to sleep it off.

I don’t think Andrew Stanton will be fired for making this movie, but as Stanton was also the director of Finding Nemo, I think it will solidify his reputation for making new movies according to a very old, mythological formula. Most Pixar movies are wonderful and uplifting stories about the character ethic: the importance of relationships and of realizing one’s potential. WALL-E (and I would argue, Finding Nemo as well) are different: they are underlaid with deep, existential truths about our tenuous place in the world.

12 Adam Hyland June 29, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Wow. “more sad”. Yeah, I have a college education. Yikes.

13 Steve Sailer June 29, 2008 at 11:00 pm

By the way, I hope everyone noticed how similar the depiction of life in 2810 AD was to life in 2505 AD in “Idiocracy.”

14 Steve Sailer June 30, 2008 at 8:59 am

It’s a movie about a cute robot — it’s going to make a fortune in Japan.

15 Gabe June 30, 2008 at 11:15 am

I saw this gem yesterday and have been wondering ever since (POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT): is the “leisure economy” portrayed in the second half of the film even remotely possible? One can assume that few if any of the people aboard axiom do any work…have humans merely lost their instincts to innovate and maximize profits, and instead become intent on merely consuming that which provides basic comfort? Axiom may seem like some sort of socialist paradise in this way, but one can only assume that Buy N Large charged everyone some sort of buy-in fee to enjoy this life aboard Axiom, the same way cruise passengers pay to board and enjoy the ship’s services.

This begs the question: who produces the goods and services for consumption? Clearly this is directly done by robots, but who builds and services the robots? Is there some sort of “under class” that was unable to buy into Buy N Large’s grand plan and is relegated to doing all the work while the majority of people enjoy the good life? It seems as if axiom could be a classical dystopia.

I understand the film requires one to suspend his or her disbelief, but I am merely asking these questions for the fun of debating such a society. I am eager to have some feedback on this…nobody I know seems to care about such questions.

16 Adam Hyland June 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm

Rich: Yes.

17 Bernard Guerrero June 30, 2008 at 3:55 pm

A) My daughters loved it (4 & 7); they’re busy reading their newly purchased age-appropriate WALL-E books from B&N. The eco-disaster theme and any implied criticism of any economic system appear to be of no particular impact. They just like that the two cute robots fall in love and watch out for each other.

B) I haven’t the faintest f*ing clue what TomK just wrote. Can those words even be put together into sentences like that? Failed Turing Test experiment?

18 Adam Hyland July 1, 2008 at 10:48 am

Re: ChurchyLeFemme:

Hammer, meet nail. I’m not sure that ANYONE who saw the “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” preview could logically argue that making a movie like Wall-E would be a bad bet. Because the alternative really IS things like BHC. Even Bolt (which struck me as at least a clever premise for an animated talking animals movie) is closer to BHC than Wall-e. Not only is it damaging to the brand it has to be SOUL-CRUSHING for the work-force. I can’t think of a single reason why I would work at DWA over Pixar (aside from a job at pixar directly under Jobs, that would be too weird). Not one. There is probably a reasonable rent drawn from wage differential between employees of Pixar and other digital animation studios.

Ugh. I felt like I needed to wash myself after seeing the “BHC” preview.

19 Steve Sailer July 2, 2008 at 3:56 am

Tyler,

When are you going to be posting your list of all the Pixar employees who got fired for making “Wall-E”?

Steve

20 Adam July 2, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Adam Hyland – so right about “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. Madagascar 2 and Bolt weren’t great, but at least had something entertaining. I could hardly watch the BHC preview–and you’d have to pay me quite a bit just to watch THAT again, never mind the movie.

That said, wall-e was great, and I _think_ most children would like it. There’s no dialog in the first half hour, but there’s plenty of action, character development and humor. There’s more than enough interesting, easily digested things going on to keep a viewer interested. Of course, someone could probably argue the same thing for Fantasia, which I hated as a child.

21 anise July 2, 2008 at 1:48 pm

while i was watching the movie, i had to laugh whil i was interrupted by disturbing questions that 3 year olds were asking their parents.
i’d say its not for kids – unless you want to sit down and explain things. it might be a good “lesson” movie.
i was depressed after walle. it was beautiful, and like most beautiful things? depressing.

22 shawn July 3, 2008 at 9:33 am

Isn’t sitting down and explaining things one of the most important jobs for a parent? You shouldn’t go out of your way to avoid that.

23 Paul July 3, 2008 at 10:01 am

Nothing kids like better than a bunch of dialogue. That’s why mine goes bananas over “My Dinner with Andre.” I had to buy him the Wally Shawn action figure just last Christmas.

24 Ged Maheux July 3, 2008 at 10:31 am

Your comments about WALL†¢E have to be some of the most off-base, ignorant and vapid regarding a film I’ve ever read. Children everywhere are lapping this film up and with good reason. It will break box office records, even for PIXAR and this will be in no small measure due to its ability to localize to international markets thanks to minimal dialog. It has everything a PIXAR movie usually does PLUS a moral. All the makings for a classic film for the ages. I can’t somehow wonder if your position on the movie is based in political leanings instead of old fashion common sense.

25 greg from daddytypes July 3, 2008 at 10:44 am

when I first saw Tyler’s “NSFK” comment, I assumed it was because of the dystopian aspects of the film, not the lack of dialogue.

My 4yo daughter could watch a wordless construction video for an hour, but she was pretty freaked out by the violence in the Wall-E trailer, even. She hasn’t had (m)any typically intense/scary cinematic experiences, and we’re not thinking of starting her off with Wall-E.

Now about that Wally action figure… that was awesome.

26 sha July 3, 2008 at 10:52 am

” ‘Wall-E’ rakes in $63.1 million with No. 1 debut ” settled.

27 brian July 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

My almost 4-year-old son and I went to Wall-E together, and he loved it. We’ve been role playing Wall-E exclusively for 10 days now, which is an unusually long time for him to stay in a single character. I don’t know, maybe if you don’t actually know any children, you shouldn’t try to guess at their tastes?

28 Watts July 3, 2008 at 12:36 pm

According to the film’s director, being a satire on consumerism really wasn’t the point of the movie — the central plot is the romance between Wall-E and Eve, but the background story was chosen to explore themes of loneliness and the way we distract ourselves from what’s real. “You could blame consumerism as one thing that’s happening in this film, but there’s a million other things we do that distract us from connecting to the person next to us and from furthering relationships, which is truly the point of living.” That’s from an interview with Stanton in Christianity Today that’s worth reading.

I find it both amusing and creepy that (some small number of) conservatives are outraged at the “leftist” message in this film, which as near as I can tell was, “you have to take responsibility for the problems you create rather than leaving them to others.” Yes, how… um… terribly Marxist that is, because… uh… good capitalists leave their messes for others. Wait, what?

29 Stv. July 3, 2008 at 2:37 pm

I took my son (who’s 3) to see Wall-E, and he *loved* it – although, curiously, he said he really like Eve, but didn’t like Wall-E, because he was dirty – he’s been wanting an Eve toy ever since. But, y’know, i totally get kids not liking it, in the same way kids didn’t like ratatouille – some of the concepts are pretty advanced, and it is a *really* dark, dystopian movie.

30 Dave Barnes July 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm

$86,311,330 in the first 6 days in the USA. Fairly obvious that no one is taking their kids to see this movie.

31 Gary Braid July 3, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Is this the same guy that said the keystone cops or laurel and hardy wouldn’t catch on ?

must have skipped puberty himself !

32 skt July 3, 2008 at 5:44 pm

I’ll second the Tom and Jerry and Roadrunner comment above. Have you heard of these insanely long-running, successful kid shows with no dialogue?

33 Daniel July 3, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Bits about proper and engaging storytelling aside – the lesson for today, it seems:

All kids are different, but most kids deserve a lot more credit than we give them.

Every child can and usually does display enormous attentiveness to things we adults often don’t even notice — and when kids are given even a bit of respect and support, they can engage in topics for far longer than most adults can. (As evidenced by the many cases in point already posted, and every 8-year-old boy with a dinosaur encyclopedia.)

Start treating children seriously, and don’t pass yourself off as an expert on them just because you were a kid once.

34 Pustoolio July 3, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Did some of you commenter leave your brains somewhere? No one said it wouldn’t make $$$. Heck Pixar could have 2 girls crap in 1 cup and make $$$ just because they are Pixar. And those commenting on Tom and Jerry / Roadrunner, those were SHORTS (5 to 7 minutes). Please think before you post. Thank you.

35 VirtualRick July 4, 2008 at 7:13 pm

I saw Wall-e Thursday at the 3 pm matinee. The theater was packed with moms and kids. The kids loved it. I don’t get the objections to the movie. I’m sure Pixar will make a ton of money.

I predict bonus checks on all floors of the Pixar HQ building.

36 jennifer July 4, 2008 at 11:42 pm

My family (sons age 4 and 10; neice 7 plus adults) loved WALL E. I do think it is not reasonable to expect any child under 4 to be able to sit through an entire movie. I know that many spend many hours in front of the tube and are now programmed to, but I think that reflects more on the child’s conditioning than on the entertainment value of a movie. I loved the movie, but do find many things ironic. Watching the movie in the megaplex theater, chomping down popcorn and gigantic soda, the opportunities to buy merchandise, my guess that little happy meal toys are probably already being made, soon to rest in dumpyards…the fact that I am typing about WALLE on my lap top instead of interacting with my family right now.

37 sniffles July 9, 2008 at 6:24 am

Wall-E’s story line evolved out of pure, uncorrupted emotion and man if we all couldn’t use a little of that sometimes.

Movies like this can change conscious thought and bring hope to millions of people struggling, alone.

It was a triumph of a film…I never wanted it to end.

Bravo Pixar! I hope this movie makes box office history!

38 patrick July 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Wall-E totally looks like the robot from “Short Circuit”… minus the cheesy 80’s style of course

39 sparrow November 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

My two Asperger syndrome children really latched on to this. The non-verbal but yet clear communication was great for their social deficiencies and mor in line with autistic communication styles. My neuro typical kid also “got it”.
I too commend Pixar for creating some new hope and inspiration in our children.

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