If, in February of this year, you had told me that I'd not only go to see Wall-E on opening day, but that I would be anxiously awaiting its release -- up to the point of counting down the hours till I could catch the first midnight showing -- I would not have only laughed in your face, I probably would have pushed you.
Of course, you would've been right, and I would've been wrong (and kind of a dickhead.)
As it turns out, last month during the New York Comic Con, Rania and I slipped in to the main auditorium an hour and a half before the Battlestar Galactica panel was to begin. We caught an hour's worth of Disney promotion, which included thirty minutes of me rolling my eyes at the Prince Caspian fans, and thirty minutes of clips from Wall-E. Up until then I had remained largely indifferent to the latest effort from Pixar. (Basically, if I'm going to see a cartoon on opening weekend, it better be R-rated, or else I'm not going to bother to fight the throngs of children and teenagers.)
Much to my surprise, I was blown away by the footage that producer Jim Morris introduced. So much so that I bought tickets to the Thursday midnight opening showing a week in advance. I annoyed the hell out of my friends and family for almost a month, relaying my love of robots, and my anticipation of Wall-E's debut.
Let's be honest: I've got a thing about robots. I root for the Cylons. I root for the Terminators, even the "bad" ones. (There's an episode of Sarah Connor Chronicles where a woman unwittingly marries a killer cyborg... I'd do it voluntarily.) If I had $3000, I would buy this DVD Projector / Ipod Dock / Droid, because it moves around on its own and makes R2D2 sounds. It's about as good as having a real R2D2, and I can plug my video game consoles into it. So, honestly, I don't know why I ever doubted I'd love Wall-E.
It could be the unfavorable comparisons to Johnny-5. But where Short Circuit went wrong is: it gave a full vocabulary to a robot with the social skill set of an eight year old. Annoying. Wall-E and almost all the other robots in the film have limited speech capabilities but communicate as well as R2D2 ever did through a wide range of beeps, clicks, and whistles. Wall-E is the electronic equivalent of Boo from Monsters, Inc. He knows only a few words, and he's cute -- which makes him more precocious than retarded.
Before we went to the screening, I'd read a few reviews that said the last half of the film wasn't nearly as great as the first 45 minutes. Since I'd seen about a third of the movie at the Comic Con screening, I was fearful that I'd be let down -- I'd hyped myself up for this thing like you wouldn't believe. Thankfully, the second half was just as good (if not better) than the scenes with Wall-E on Earth, if only for one reason: Even More Cute Robots.
Director Andrew Stanton had a lot to live up to after his last Pixar film, Finding Nemo (which, personally, is still my favorite Pixar flick.) Wall-E is not quite as good as Nemo, but it definitely has its moments (moments worth paying $9 for.) Essentially, if it's a Pixar movie, you can bet that it's not going to disappoint. Like every Pixar film, Wall-E has heart, and a great story accessible to all ages.
And, you know. Robots.