WALL*E (2008, Andrew Stanton)

Just spectacular… I loved every moment of it. The politics/message are a little heavy, but it was nervy to put such anti-consumerist, green, call-to-action messages into a non-talking robot-love movie in the first place (and to declare in interviews, as Stanton has, there there are no political messages in the film!), so I’m going to forgive. Twenty years ago, Pixar would’ve been shot down as commies for making this movie (and Mike Judge would’ve been quietly executed for Idiocracy). Hopefully I’m going to see this again soon, so no need to go into plot summary.

I caught the bunch of 2001: A Space Odyssey references (evil autopilot is very HAL, some of the same music is used) but I also found myself thinking of Children of Men. Future Earth is void of new life, new life is then discovered in the belly of a female-ish character, everyone freaks out and gets excited but a bunch of sinister characters want to manipulate the situation. It all checks out. Movie is also getting compared to Alien (sigourney weaver’s voice is the “mother” ship) and Silent Running (another post-earth outer-space plant-tending movie), but not Sunshine.

Peter Gabriel, who has a history of song contributions to films about sentient critters (Gremlins, Babe 2) scores the closing credits with an obvious-sounding number about being down in the ground.

Fred “Wha’happen” Willard plays a president stand-in, the CEO of Buy ‘n’ Large. He’s not even animated – just videos of Fred Willard. If he’s the first live actor in a Pixar animation, they picked the right actor.

The opening short was Presto by first-time writer/director but long-time Pixar animator/artist Doug Sweetland. Very good, funny, fast-paced comic short about a magician and his magic hats and rebellious hungry rabbit. More of that Looney Tunes gag-based anything-goes character humor than the usual style of Pixar short (think Geri’s Game, Boundin’).

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