Wall-E (2008) Review

RATING: 4/5

A small, compactor robot gets a visit from a female robot from a ship light-years away. The robot pursues her on a space-faring journey through the stars.

The first half of the movie, from the opening credits to when Wall-E reached the Axiom ship, was superb. Everything from the mood, setting, interactions, music, and the little dialogue portrayed, was handled so well.

As the film started, one was given an introduction to the planet Earth, while the song “Put on your Sunday Clothes” plays. Shortly one was introduced to Wall-E. He was an enjoyable character throughout. He was clumsy and na├»ve at times, but he was always pushing to thrive what he wanted, even if it meant losing his life. Wall-E always wanted to keep hope alive. As seen when he was residing in his living quarters or interacting with past Earth objects. A great design by the way. I love how it took inspirations from real-life rovers and turned it into something plausible.

I loved the scene where Wall-E was rolling through the trashy ruins of Earth. A great introduction and at the same time, a nice way for one to think of the situations that came into play to cause Earth to be like it was depicted. Even with the promo ad of B&L popping up, speculation was still there as to how Wall-E was the last of his kind cleaning up the trash. But still, it gave a healthy amount of what happened, how it happened, and what the end result was.

Once EVE dropped down on Earth, the adorable and cute factors were cranked up. The interactions between Wall-E and EVE were handled well throughout the movie. It placed a smile on one’s face when one saw Wall-E showcasing EVE his crib or when the two were harmoniously dancing around the Axiom ship. There was something about their relationship that felt really special and magical. I liked the moment when EVE lit the lighter, signifying a spark for Wall-E that she was definitely the one.

The music in the first half was great. Utilizing songs from the 60s musical “Hello, Dolly!,” added a sense of wonder and heartwarming charm. They were handled greatly whenever it was used in the opening credits with the space in the background or when Wall-E and EVE were sharing a moment. Other tracks too like “La Vie En Rose” or “Define Dancing,” deserve a highlight.

One of the main benefits of the first half was there being little dialogue. The film was mainly visual storytelling, which was something that really stands apart from other Pixar films. It wasn’t boring in the least. It was vastly entertaining and one can easily mute the picture to tell what was happening based on the characters interactions or their personalities/expressions. Having little words helped in one getting sucked into the world and to be invested in the characters in a fine, flowing manner.

While the first half hit all the right notes, the second half sadly was when things took a turn. The moment Wall-E reached the Axiom, the movie doesn’t quite reached the levels the first half garnered.

On one hand, the social commentary on how things such as advertising and technology impacting humanity was nice to witness. I liked the aspect of how us people can be so accustomed to the digital screens that once they’re removed, one saw a whole new world. I wish it was executed a bit better as there were times where it didn’t make sense for some of the people to not know about the things available on the ship, but others do. I wish it could have explored a little more of the concepts or maybe do something more with the humans detaching themselves from technology.

Another contradiction was EVE’s directive. She wanted to seek/prove that Earth was still habitable, yet Wall-E’s roach friend wasn’t enough for her to realize that.

A vast majority of the supporting characters don’t leave an impact as they were bland or uninteresting, especially the main villain. I mean something about the villain not seeing the plant as evidence confused me greatly. Some of the designs of the robots were neat. I will say the only character in the second half I did kind of liked was the Captain. He did make me chuckle from time to time.

The only saving graces from the second half were the scenes involving Wall-E himself or Wall-E/EVE.

“Wall-E,” with its first half, was exceptional. If the entire film kept that same mood, atmosphere, and direction, it surely could have been one of the best Pixar films. If not the best. Still, regarding the film as a whole, it was a great viewing pleasure. It delivered enough heart and uplift to make one feel deeply for the two main characters and their journey to the end. The second half had its moments of joy and comedy definitely and it doesn’t hamper the film drastically. “Wall-E” is still certainly worth seeing.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Review

RATING: 4.5/5

Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, grows bored and tiresome of Halloween. To a point where a comforting, warm-hearted, and jolly makeover is in need.

Revisiting this classic from my youth was something special.

A perfect example of a musical that I like. Generally I’m not a fan, but if the songs work, then I’m along for the ride like this film. The songs sung, what I can say, many of the tracks are upright classics. From “This is Halloween,” “What’s This,” “Poor Jack,” “Kidnap the Sandy Claws,” and of course, “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” Each track was catchy and memorable in their own way. One would be singing along with the tunes during and after the film that’s for sure. They delivered the right tone and emotion for the scene it was incorporated in. Composer Danny Elfman brought it home when he came in singing.

In terms of visuals, there was so much stuff to awe and ooo over. It was simply fascinating to look at the distorted and macabre scenery, the multitude of characters, and to be amazed by the gorgeous, fluid stop-motion. The moment when Jack was walking on Spiral Hill, with the immense moon shining in the background, was an iconic shot. Other eye-popping scenes were Boogie’s lair and Christmas Town. Everything felt alive. One couldn’t look away for their was so much flavor and style. Especially in the montage sequence of Jack’s presents terrorizing the families.

As mentioned the film boasted impressive scenery, which that impressiveness transcends onto the unique look of the characters. The People of Halloween Town had their own memorable quirk and cool design to make one stand out amongst the others. There was Sally, the Mayor, the Vampires, the zombie baby (Braindead reference possibly), Zero the ghost dog, the orange/black python, the werewolf, the town band, the trick o’ treaters, etc. A vast sea of characters.

The best two in my opinion, were Jack and Boogie. They stole the camera. They had the best music and best character moments. Boogie’s time was short, but incredibly sweet. His cool design and the way he carried himself with his flamboyant and sinister vibes make up for the screen time. Jack, was the character, who owned the film. His development from A to B was understood clearly. A being stuck doing the same routine on annually basis. He wanted to change things up badly. While his attempts and ideas were there, his execution brought him down. But in the end, he was thankful of what he done and him being what he’s famous for, was the only thing he was good of. Jack was proud of what he tried to accomplish, which one can respect. If a person did try something new and it doesn’t favor them in the end, they can say in the end at least they put in the effort in doing something different.

Granted the movie was extremely easy to follow. Easy to a point where one would definitely say, including me, the film was basic and not allowing any form of depth. Again it is and maybe I could have wanted a notch more clarity in the world and the characters. Though I think the simplicity was needed. It’s a basic story that had the capability of resonating with lots of people. The whole experience felt like watching a children’s fairy tale. Now with that, I’m not saying this film was mainly meant for kids. It can be for everyone. Plus, what are the odds of watching a movie that can be watched on two holidays? That’s extremely rare and it was nailed perfectly. The juxtaposition made things even more enjoyable to watch.

You know after watching this, I had no idea Santa Claus was called “Sandy Claws” by the people of Halloween Town. Also, when is there going to be another time where Santa shouts out “Happy Halloween.”

A Halloween and Christmas movie classic. It had very nice visuals, memorable music, gorgeous stop-motion, and a basic, yet very satisfying story with nice characters. Tim Burton was a favorite of mine as a child and it felt so good to revisit him. With talks of a sequel, I’m not sure if I want one. It’s best to leave this film alone. If one hasn’t seen it, watch it now. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

Happy Holidays to all!

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Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic