Friday, June 27, 2008

National Post: Wall-E best film of the decade?

No. It's not. While I admire Wall-E, the hype for it is quickly growing out of hand.

My first objection is that its satire isn't strong enough. Have you seen The Wizard of Oz as an adult? Now that's how to embed biting social commentary into an all-ages movie. The spaceship-bound, immobile, advertising-saturated, lard-boat humans represent the main attempt at satire. But the Pixar-ites don't do much beyond the idea. Their idea of bite is having the captain fail to realize that pizzas do not grow on trees. Man, they don't care whose toes they step on.

But my stronger objection to such a notion is this - Wall-E is not strongly artistically substantive. It does have an ecological message, and what some feel is a touching love story between its robot lovebirds. Great. That makes it E.T. But that hardly puts it up there with A.I. or Blade Runner, which use similar material to examine human identity. I'm troubled by the notion that real intellectual stimulation has slipped so far down the list of things we look for in movies. To raise Wall-E to the status of "film of the decade" - over films like Grizzly Man, The New World, or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - would demonstrate the lowered expectations that we have for our movies.


Pinko Punko said...

They are going to make a claim about movies that someone might see. Compare it to Lord of the Crap or whatever else gigantic hit tons of people might see. It wouldn't have to do much to be better than many supposedly good blockbusters, and I am talking about it sight unseen, and thinking The Incredibles was overrated.

K. Bowen said...

This is the biggest outpouring of its type since Lord of the Rings.

Ratatouille and Cars were so overrated, it's not funny.

I hate it when a good film gets overhyped, because I always end up taking shots at good films based solely on a mental gag reflex.

Pinko Punko said...

Just forget about it.

There have been a lot of blah movies this summer.

Chuck said...

People have a habit of wanting to quantify something they emotionally liked in academic terms, primarily because they can't just say that something moved them, there has to be subtext and brilliance and so forth.

I loved WALL-E, and I was mixed on A.I. (which, strangely, I mentioned in my post), but you're right, the picture isn't any vast deep thing. People are moved though so it has to be the "best movie ever".

K. Bowen said...

It's an interesting topic. Is a film that considers intellectual/artistic subjects inherently better than a film that simply makes you feel something. I would say no. A top-shelf feeler is better than a middling intellectual exploration.

Now for films that are equally skilled at moving and thinking, is the thinker inherently better? That's a tough call.