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Author Topic: EP Review: Wall-E  (Read 17230 times)

DKT

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Reply #25 on: August 04, 2008, 05:26:14 PM
Oh, it's definitely a children's movie, or at least aimed at kids primarily.  But it's smart enough to have a lot of different levels that make it appeal to adults and parents as much as it does kids.  Which is a really great trick, actually, and, with the exception of Cars, I'm baffled by how consistently Pixar has been able to pull it off. 

I had a different experience.  We took Alex to see it at a noontime showing, and I noticed that he and most of the other toddlerish kids in the audience seemed a bit bored and restless by about halfway through.  He didn't act up, but it wasn't holding him.  It was the adults who were engaged.  (Conversely, he absolutely loves Cars and wants to watch it more often than any other DVD.)

Despite the relative simplicity of its visual and plot messages, I don't think this movie was aimed at younger children.  Or if it was, it didn't hit home.  There wasn't as much dialogue or fast action as you see in other Pixar films; most of the plot is communicated through images, and you have to be able to put a lot of context together to realize that anything is happening.  That's a skill that we develop only over time.

Me, I loved it.  As an aside, the first half of the closing credits were the best credit sequence I have ever seen in any movie.  That was a story unto itself, and a really, really good one.  The striking artwork and fabulous music helped.  I was almost disappointed when they dropped the conceit and went to the Nemo-style scrolling credits with 8-bit characters interacting with the text.  It was also clever, it just wasn't genius.


I'm pretty sure our kids are roughly the same age, and I'd definitely agree that it wasn't necessarily aimed at them.  Although my daughter enjoyed the movie, when the babies showed up later in the second half, she kept asking about where the babies went after that.  So I think she was only identifying with Wall-E and EVE so much.  (And she thought the Beverly Hills Chihuahua preivew was hilarious, which has me sweating a bit.)  

Still, while I can buy that it wasn't aimed at young children, I do think it was aimed primarily at children (although I'd conceed maybe slightly older children).  I think Andrew Stanton set out to make a movie for children that was something their parents would be just as engaged in.  But I think you could say the same about Finding Nemo and the Incredibles.  Those other movies were flashier, to be sure, but I don't think that makes them any less adult-oriented.  I mean, I think Finding Nemo is just as much a movie for father's as it is for kids.  That's Pixar's secret power IMO, the ability to find a way to make kids' movies entertaining for the grown-ups, too.


wintermute

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Reply #26 on: August 04, 2008, 05:29:33 PM
You know what I left the cinema wondering about? The economics of the Axiom.

The movie strongly implies (and the supplemental material I've seen makes it explicit) that Buy+Large is a capitalistic corporation that has a monopoly on literally everything, to the extent that they're the de facto world government. Admittedly, a lot of things an change in 700 years, but the presence of ubiquitous (and very effective) advertising combined with the explicit mention of a free cupcake-in-a-cup as being something out of the ordinary lead me to believe that this isn't supposed to be the case. So, my question is this:

How do the passengers of the Axiom earn sufficient money to be able to afford the life to which they've become accustomed? Are they simply granted an allowance? If so B+L's constant attempts to separate people from their money seems pointless.

On the other hand, are we only seeing the descendants of the ultra-rich, eating their way through the accounts that their ancestors set up? The Axiom is the flagship of the fleet, intended to be the epitome of luxury, so that doesn't seem unreasonable. Is the economic situation on other ships vastly different? Are there even second-class cabins belowdecks on the Axiom, populated by people who can't afford to have their walking done for them, and who have to do the work considered too dangerous to risk expensive robots on? (while I can't disprove this latter idea from the text, I'm pretty sure it's not the case)

So, how do the privileged passengers of the Axiom produce enough wealth to be able to live as they do? For that matter, how does the Axiom produce enough wealth that it can afford to vent valuable garbage into space, a tonne at a time?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 05:31:36 PM by wintermute »

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SFEley

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Reply #27 on: August 04, 2008, 10:32:09 PM
So, how do the privileged passengers of the Axiom produce enough wealth to be able to live as they do? For that matter, how does the Axiom produce enough wealth that it can afford to vent valuable garbage into space, a tonne at a time?

"Wealth" is simply a generic placeholder for consumable resources.  I could buy that the ship is sufficiently technologically advanced that, so long as they have raw materials for the robots to produce goods, there's an economy of abundance and money is simply irrelevant.  The question is where those materials came from.  Even if they've got perfect nanotech and can replicate everything they need from free hydrogen in space, they appear to be throwing a lot more out than they could take in at the same time.  >8->

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ryos

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Reply #28 on: August 04, 2008, 11:04:33 PM
So, how do the privileged passengers of the Axiom produce enough wealth to be able to live as they do? For that matter, how does the Axiom produce enough wealth that it can afford to vent valuable garbage into space, a tonne at a time?

"Wealth" is simply a generic placeholder for consumable resources.  I could buy that the ship is sufficiently technologically advanced that, so long as they have raw materials for the robots to produce goods, there's an economy of abundance and money is simply irrelevant.  The question is where those materials came from.  Even if they've got perfect nanotech and can replicate everything they need from free hydrogen in space, they appear to be throwing a lot more out than they could take in at the same time.  >8->

I thought about that during the WALL•A scenes, too. My conclusion was that either a) the creators didn't think through the science too deeply, and the depiction of waste disposal was little more than a plot device, or b) the scene of the probe ship's approach that depicted the Axiom ensconced in the dust and gas of a nebula was for more than just show. While I'm not well-versed in the composition of nebulae, I know that they are mostly hydrogen but also that there is enough of the heavier elements to form several planetary systems. It would take a ship like the Axiom a very long time to consume the raw materials offered by a nebula.

What bothered me more was that they weren't searching for other planets to colonize. Instead of constantly sending probes only to Earth, why weren't they searching the galaxy for a new place to live? (Well, OK, you could plausibly conclude that they were searching without success, with two pieces of evidence. First, that WALL•E had not seen a single probe in 700 years, and second, the captain's offhanded "Oh, the probes never come back positive." It's a stretch, I know.)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 11:06:25 PM by ryos »



eytanz

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Reply #29 on: August 04, 2008, 11:09:15 PM
So, how do the privileged passengers of the Axiom produce enough wealth to be able to live as they do? For that matter, how does the Axiom produce enough wealth that it can afford to vent valuable garbage into space, a tonne at a time?

"Wealth" is simply a generic placeholder for consumable resources.  I could buy that the ship is sufficiently technologically advanced that, so long as they have raw materials for the robots to produce goods, there's an economy of abundance and money is simply irrelevant.  The question is where those materials came from.  Even if they've got perfect nanotech and can replicate everything they need from free hydrogen in space, they appear to be throwing a lot more out than they could take in at the same time.  >8->


Don't forget energy costs - if there was one thing that the Axiom was full of, it was movement. All robots were all constantly hustling, and - interestingly - the humans were all being moved continuously.

We normally think of wealth in terms of physical goods, but as the recent oil price rises teach us, energy costs are as big a part of wealth as raw materials. I didn't see a single solar panel on the axiom, so that can't be the answer.

One thing that occurs to me - they have hyperdrive. Maybe there's a continuous stream of energy coming in via a hyperspace conduit - there's a power station somewhere in the axiom that has a straight channel into a sun or something like that. Maybe they can get their materials by remote mining. If you an warp space, you don't have to seek resources - you can bring the resources to you.

----

Oh, and one more question raised by the movie - what happened to the other cruise ships? The Axiom was the largest, but it wasn't the only one. Are there still groups of humans stuck in space? Why have they not sent EVE probes to Earth? (For that matter, why did the Axiom send EVE probes? Wouldn't it have been easier for the autopilot to just never send the EVE probes out, rather than wait until one came back and supress all the evidence?)



eytanz

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Reply #30 on: August 04, 2008, 11:11:28 PM
I thought about that during the WALL•A scenes, too. My conclusion was that either a) the creators didn't think through the science too deeply, and the depiction of waste disposal was little more than a plot device

That would be my guess, but it's still fun to speculate :).


Quote
What bothered me more was that they weren't searching for other planets to colonize. Instead of constantly sending probes only to Earth, why weren't they searching the galaxy for a new place to live? (Well, OK, you could plausibly conclude that they were searching without success, with two pieces of evidence. First, that WALL•E had not seen a single probe in 700 years, and second, the captain's offhanded "Oh, the probes never come back positive." It's a stretch, I know.)

I'm assuming that the other probes were also sent to Earth and just landed in places other than Manhattan. Which raises yet another question - we know there were other WALL-Es in Manhattan, and that they all stopped working except our little hero, but what about the rest of the world? Was anyone trying to clean up, say, Ohio? Or Beijing? Or South Africa?



ryos

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Reply #31 on: August 04, 2008, 11:15:30 PM
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Don't forget energy costs...

There's an awful lot of hydrogen in a nebula...

Quote
Oh, and one more question raised by the movie - what happened to the other cruise ships? The Axiom was the largest, but it wasn't the only one. Are there still groups of humans stuck in space? Why have they not sent EVE probes to Earth? (For that matter, why did the Axiom send EVE probes? Wouldn't it have been easier for the autopilot to just never send the EVE probes out, rather than wait until one came back and supress all the evidence?)

I was about to post again and raise the same question. The movie makes no allusions to other ships, but there should have been. They should have been communicating. They should have used their hyperdrive to find and colonize other worlds long before the Earth was dead.

I suppose it was just too much to squeeze into a movie that was mostly about other things (namely, a couple of lovable robots).



eytanz

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Reply #32 on: August 04, 2008, 11:28:14 PM
I was about to post again and raise the same question. The movie makes no allusions to other ships, but there should have been.

There is one explicit shot in the first few minutes of the movie, where there's a newscast of several cruise ships leaving one after the other, but you're right that it's never mentioned again.

Quote
They should have been communicating. They should have used their hyperdrive to find and colonize other worlds long before the Earth was dead.

Maybe there are no other habitable worlds?



wintermute

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Reply #33 on: August 05, 2008, 11:54:44 AM
First, that WALL•E had not seen a single probe in 700 years, and second, the captain's offhanded "Oh, the probes never come back positive." It's a stretch, I know.)
Earth is a big place. Assume 10 probes per mission (I don't recall exactly, but that looked about right), with one mission every 25 years. Assume each probe we be noticed if it comes within 100 miles of WALL-E (of course, in the movie, he notices the ship, but let's be generous). Further assume they don't bother to survey the oceans, but only the 57,491,000 square miles of land.

That means you'd expect to go 14,300 years before WALL-E saw a probe, if my maths is correct. Of course, other WALL-E units might have done so, but they're not around to tell us about it...

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wintermute

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Reply #34 on: August 05, 2008, 12:06:56 PM
I'm assuming that the other probes were also sent to Earth and just landed in places other than Manhattan. Which raises yet another question - we know there were other WALL-Es in Manhattan, and that they all stopped working except our little hero, but what about the rest of the world? Was anyone trying to clean up, say, Ohio? Or Beijing? Or South Africa?
I get the impression that there were WALL-E's everywhere. But the problem with that is that that makes it difficult to explain why WALL-E is the only one left. Given the frequency with which we see dead WALL-E's in Manhattan, there must be tens of millions of them across the globe. Which means that they must have been pretty unreliable if only one of those tens of millions is still going after 700 years.

There are, I think two solutions to this: One is that we don't know that no other WALL-E's are active; just that there are no others in WALL-E's local area. But the supplemental material makes it explicit that WALL-E is the last WALL-E on Earth. The other solution is that the WALL-E's were only meant to operate for five years, so long-term reliability wasn't something that B+L bothered to spend money on. WALL-E is, apparently, frequently replacing his parts with spares taken from dead WALL-E's, so this seems reasonable to me.

But then, the Axiom was seriously over-engineered for a five-year cruise. Why bother with hyperdrive? Why not just sit in orbit? Or, if you really want a change of scenery, Jupiter is only a few months away...

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Darwinist

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Reply #35 on: August 05, 2008, 01:22:03 PM
I get the impression that there were WALL-E's everywhere. But the problem with that is that that makes it difficult to explain why WALL-E is the only one left. Given the frequency with which we see dead WALL-E's in Manhattan, there must be tens of millions of them across the globe. Which means that they must have been pretty unreliable if only one of those tens of millions is still going after 700 years.

Well, I guess one of the WALL-E's had to be the last one left operating. 

I'm glad I saw this movie with a couple of simple-minded tots, this nit-picking of a kid's movie is making my head spin.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 06:20:57 PM by Darwinist »

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Myrealana

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Reply #36 on: August 05, 2008, 05:40:03 PM
IMO, this ranks near the bottom of Pixar's movies - along with "Monster's Inc."

Of course, that still places it well above most movies.

I enjoyed it. The preachiness seemed a bit heavy-handed at times, and that left me feeling abit cold.

I absolutely loved the way the robots expressed so much in so few words.

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Reply #37 on: August 05, 2008, 08:38:31 PM
Oh! The end credits were FABULOUS.  Best bit IMHO. I went on a mini-rant after the movie to my hubby whe hurried out and missed 'em.
The movie and Wall-E in particular made my kiddo happy and that's all that is required.  AS to the Cars referance made earlier by mr Eley. My kid loves that one too. I personally do N get it.  But as long as they've got heart (and this one did have heart!) I'm fine with kids movies in general.

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ryos

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Reply #38 on: August 05, 2008, 08:57:16 PM
I'm glad I saw this movie with a couple of simple-minded tots, this nit-picking of a kid's movie is making my head spin.

It's called overanalyzing;D

The fact that SF nerds are interested enough to overanalyze is a huge compliment to the movie.



Russell Nash

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Reply #39 on: September 17, 2008, 05:59:59 PM
Comment on the actual review:

I found it to be more of a book report than a review.  It was just the Ultra-Readers' Digest version.  Try to tell me about the quality of the movie without making it unnecessary for me to go and see it.



Russell Nash

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Reply #40 on: April 01, 2009, 06:15:39 PM
Well I finally saw it. 

I went into it expecting a lot and thinking no movie could be as good as everyone says this one is.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was better than I thought it would be.  We bought the disc and added it to our Pixar collection.



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Reply #41 on: February 01, 2010, 06:10:35 PM
I liked this one.  Not my favorite Pixar, but up there pretty high, probably 3rd behind Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo.  I was glad to see a kid's movie with so many SF concepts like the generation ships and whatnot. 

As others have pointed out, Pixar has done very well with mixing components that amuse kids and adults alike, which accounts for their long-term success.  Much like Dreamworks has done as well:  Such as, in Shrek, Shrek looks at Farquad's tower and says he must be compensating for something--that goes right over kids' heads but is hilarious to adults.  :)

I didn't really like the real-looking old humans vs. the new cartoony ones:  it wasn't used terribly, but I just thought it looked out of place.

That's an interesting point about the fact that WALL-E toys and other nonbiodegradable products were marketed so widely despite the movie's message!

I thought they did a remarkable job of making WALL-E expressive with no dialog on his part.  Someone I know, a parent of an autistic child, raved about it because their kid followed the movie much easier than most.  Because there's almost no dialog, the kid was able to respond to the visual cues and to enjoy it to its fullest extent.  That was a point of view I hadn't heard before and I thought it was a cool effect of the way they did the movie.  :)



CryptoMe

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Reply #42 on: February 01, 2010, 10:28:53 PM
I thought they did a remarkable job of making WALL-E expressive with no dialog on his part.  Someone I know, a parent of an autistic child, raved about it because their kid followed the movie much easier than most.  Because there's almost no dialog, the kid was able to respond to the visual cues and to enjoy it to its fullest extent.  That was a point of view I hadn't heard before and I thought it was a cool effect of the way they did the movie.  :)

How very odd. My experience is that autistics don't respond to visual cues and need the dialog to grasp meaning.

Well, just goes to prove the saying: if you have met someone with autism, you have met 1 person with autism (i.e. you can't generalize  ;)).



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Reply #43 on: February 02, 2010, 12:08:36 AM
Quote
That's an interesting point about the fact that WALL-E toys and other nonbiodegradable products were marketed so widely despite the movie's message!

The CHICKEN RUN McDonald's tie-in had the same problem - don't eat chickens...eat cows!  Or MADAGASCAR, where the interesting problem posed for children of having a predator exist on an island where all the animals are his friends....but he has to EAT!...is solved by defining a certain type of creature out of "personhood", and thus making them edible (would love to see it play a double bill with FINDING NEMO).

That's okay, though, kids got to learn to be hypocrites early or they'll never become good little consumers.



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Reply #44 on: February 04, 2010, 03:12:35 PM
Quote
That's an interesting point about the fact that WALL-E toys and other nonbiodegradable products were marketed so widely despite the movie's message!

The CHICKEN RUN McDonald's tie-in had the same problem - don't eat chickens...eat cows!  Or MADAGASCAR, where the interesting problem posed for children of having a predator exist on an island where all the animals are his friends....but he has to EAT!...is solved by defining a certain type of creature out of "personhood", and thus making them edible (would love to see it play a double bill with FINDING NEMO).

That's okay, though, kids got to learn to be hypocrites early or they'll never become good little consumers.

Yeah I was a bit bothered by the Madagascar message too:  It's okay to eat fish cuz they're too stupid to be people!  But at least they bothered to address the issue of predators coexisting peacefully among prey.  Unlike Ice Age--Really, a sabre tooth tiger's living among all herbivores and it never ONCE mentions what he eats?  Not only that, cats are strict carnivores--they cannot live without eating meat (unlike dogs who can survive if not very happily).