I first saw this film the Sunday of its opening weekend. There was something “full shine and full of sparkle” that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
The next night, I saw it again. My head was filled and crammed with bits and notes of words that I was going to write down.
But, still, after seeing it twice, I didn’t feel like I had the correct perception about the film–that what I felt about it was succinct.
I finally saw it a third time this afternoon and I think I’ve figured out why I love this film geared towards children about an easily synergized robot.
It’s not the silent humor that takes over the first half of the film, even though it’s spot-on hilarious.
It’s not this song that starts the film and is a piece of music that is used as a motif along with another song from Hello Dolly. It’s not the fact that this song, and the portion used, is one that I find absolutely hilarious.
It’s the work that Roger Deakins did when he came in as a cinematographic consultant. See, unlike most CGI animated films, the guys at Pixar brought in the Director of Photography for most Coen Bros. films post-Sonnenfeld (Barton Fink, The Man who Wasn’t There and No Country for Old Men to name a couple) as well as the beautiful Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that came out last year.
I’m about to wax technical, so you can skip this part if you want. What his work does is give the movie a sense of photo-realism. When you pay close attention to the depth of field and the focus on certain shots compared to similar shots in, say, the torturous trailer for Bolt that seems to play before every goddam movie I see, you see that every shot is meticulous angled and setup to look as if a camera filmed it and not someone at a computer playing with numbers and pictures and wireframes.
A prime example of the beauty brought to this film is a scene that was in the final trailer where Wall-E is getting chased by a bunch of carts in a broken down Buy N Large store. And I want you to observe a little quirk about this scene that I found absolutely wonderful: at one point during the shot, the camera falls out of focus as it tries to zoom and correct itself within the shot.
Now, you could say, “Why the hell would they want to fuck up a shot by blurring a portion of it?” Well, I have the answer: See, when you’re doing a tracking shot, especially one from such a distance, you’re going to have to refocus as the object leaves the field of focus. And you just might fuck it up. We’ve seen this in countless live-action films.
And it’s a little piece of extra effort put into this film that I found absolutely fantastic. Shit, this whole movie is fantastic. I was laughing the whole way through, I was in awe of the visions that they were putting on celluloid.
But it was my dad who made the most succinct comment. That is that the movie is about computers taking over for what humans do (Leon Trout from Galapagos would blame our stupid big brains for such a thing) and yet it’s a film done on computers showing how far they’ve come in such a field as animation. Obviously, this is something that Pixar has acknowledged and is probably the reason why they’re dipping into the live-action well of films in the future.
This film, unlike the Dark Knight, I can safely say that you should see. If you haven’t, drop everything and go to the cinema. Right fucking now. Cut work early, gather up your spawn, and take them to see this jawdropping and hilarious film.