Thursday, December 4, 2008

Awards Preview: "Wall-E"

It started with the "Central Services" music.

Some of you will get that reference (Brendan and david at the very least... LoquaciousMuse, are you familiar with the Brazil soundtrack?*), and if you do, odds are you'll know why I loved Wall-E before I even saw the movie in its entirety.

I'm a big fan of quasi-fantasy movies - in other words, movies that are fictional, and a stretch of one's imagination, but still entirely within the realm of possibility. This, I suppose, is why I always liked Deep Impact, The Truman Show and TV shows like Weeds. Obviously an apocalyptic comet is not hurtling towards earth, but it could be at some point. Obviously no man has ever grown up as the unknowing star of his own reality show, but he could be. Obviously no suburban mom is a pot dealer, or most aren't, but at some point, certainly in this economy, she could be.

My point is that Wall-E struck a chord with me from the very beginning. It's computer-animated, it takes place 800 years in the future and is, at its core, a love story between two robots, but it's feasible. One can imagine Earth getting so cluttered with trash that human beings are forced to leave. One can imagine human beings getting so fat that they just zip around all day on scooters while tuned to an endless TV screen that accompanies them everywhere. One can imagine humanity's meals consisting of an endless barrage of Slurpee-like soft drinks. One can imagine a robot that can think. One can imagine a computer running a sophisticated ship, or plane, or automobile. One can imagine when a grown man - the captain of an enormous space cruiser - has no idea what the sea is. Or dancing. Or farming.

So Wall-E fits into my personal "within the realm of possibility" folder. On top of that, it deals with the very urgent issue of the environment, and how we need to (no pun intended) clean up our act. It is against this topical, very relevant backdrop that, oh by the way, a funny, heartwarming, endearing love story is told between a clumsy-yet-cute robot named Wall-E and a prickly-yet-peach-hearted robot named Eve.

When I think of great love stories, I think of Casablanca. I think of The Apartment. Yeah, I think of Titanic. And now I think of Wall-E.

I loved Wall-E. I cried when I saw it for the first time. It was my favorite film of the year. And besides my personal attachment to it, it is yet another in a long line of brilliant Disney/Pixar computer-animated features (Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo). It is a lock to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, and - seeing how this is a kooky year, awards-wise - it would be unwise to write it off totally from the Best Picture race.

Oh, who am I kidding. The Academy won't nominate it for Best Picture. They can't, can they?

I suppose there's always a chance. Who knows? Seabiscuit made it in, and that was a love story between a horse and a redheaded version of Tobey Maguire. I'll take Wall-E and Eve anyday. And Jeff Garlin's voice, too.

P.S. I have decided to forgo my usual samplings of experts' opinions from around the web because I just needed to gush about my love for Wall-E. Regular awards previews will resume tomorrow.

*Disclaimer: I haven't seen Brazil, but I know that song, and loooove it, obviously.


LoquaciousMuse said...

hahahaha i do know Brazil and I do love that music.

and i pretty much agree with everything you said! i didn't love it QUITE as movie, but it was an incredible achievement and if beauty and the beast can do it, why not wall*e?

david said...

wall-e for president!!

... is what i would say if we didn't get BARACK JEDIDAH BARTLETT OBAMA for president!

but for sers, danifesto... you can't name a bug's life and monster's inc. in the list of great pixar movies and omit the GREATEST pixar movies... BRAD BIRD pixar movies!!

sigh, how did that cute lil' waste allocator feel like so much more of a fully-formed character than effin batman????

Danno said...

Oh my GOD. I forgot The Incredibles.

Well, with all due respect to the Toy Stories and Finding Nemo, that one goes at the TOP of the list.

LoquaciousMuse said...

And Ratatouille!

Batman probably saw Wall*e and loved it, okay? Make of that what you will...

Danno said...

Um, am I the only one who didn't like Ratatouille? Because I didn't like Ratatouille.

Brendan M. Leonard said...

I liked Ratatoullie a lot, but that's because I have a man crush on Patton Oswalt, I thought it had a lot of great things to say about creativity, and it wasn't as thematically murky as The Incredibles. The winner of the Pixar movies for me would be Toy Story 2, though.

I really loved Wall-E -- I think it's third or fourth on my list of movies from the year -- but I have a hard time seeing it being nominated for Best Picture. The Animated Oscar largely seems to have been created to recognize the medium, which I think puts a lot of quality animated features out of the running for the larger awards. (I personally think there should be a "voice actor/mocap" acting award given, too, but that's me.) And there are many, many beautiful things about that movie.

Wall-E is the first Pixar in a while that seems to be getting that push for other nominations. I can see it getting nominated Original Screenplay for sure.

Brendan M. Leonard said...

Oh, and Wall-E totally has it locked up for a Best Original Song. Peter Gabriel! (I will say that W-E had the best end redit sequence of all the Pixars.)