Thursday, June 26, 2008
Put On Your Sunday Clothes And See Wall•E
What on earth or in the universe does Hello, Dolly! (1969) have to do with the new Disney•Pixar computer animated film, Wall•E? You’ll just have to wait until you see the out-of-this-world movie to find out, and I strongly recommend you catch this comical, compelling film as soon as possible. With the film opening tomorrow (Friday, June 27) there are plenty of reviews and reports around to clue you into Wall•E details major and minor, but the best way to see this unpredictable film is to know as little as possible about it. Thanks to the good graces of sterling Disney exec, brilliant writer/historian and all-around good guy Howard Green, I attended a pre-release screening of the new Pixar triumph Tuesday night at the historic El Captain in Hollywood with good friends Ed Squair (the Disney Photo Library master who invited me to the screening in the first place) and Debbie Garcia. It would be inaccurate, however, to describe this funny, touching and fascinating film as a “typical” Pixar production, or as a “typical” anything. From its unusual characters (starting with the endearingly Chaplinesque title robot) to its extraordinary and utterly engaging plotting, pacing and storytelling, Wall•E is a completely unique film. For me, one of the movie’s best aspects is the absence of huge “star” voices. Indeed, as has been reported elsewhere, about the first half of the film basically has no dialogue. Ironically after the screening we ran into a true vocal star: Disney Legend—make that Disney royalty—Kathryn Beaumont, who you know and love as the voice of the title character in Alice in Wonderland and the voice of Wendy in Peter Pan. It was truly Kathy in Wonderland (or is that Wall•E-land?) all over again, for the ever-gracious Ms. Beaumont shared with me she found the film engrossing and thought-provoking, commenting not just on the expert animation but on the brilliant storytelling. Kathy specifically noted that the movie not only held one in rapt attention throughout but also lingered in the mind and imagination. What better recommendation could there be than Kathy Beaumont—the voice artist at the heart of two of Walt Disney’s most outrageously imaginative animated lands— saying that this new animated film takes viewers on an unparalleled journey of creativity, emotion and, yes, intelligence. So zoom over to your local movie house to catch this unique film—it only takes a moment to see Wall•E. Well, actually it takes 97 minutes, but every last one of them is (dare I say it?) magical.