Pixar’s latest winner offers entertainment, important message

By By John Fitzgerald

By John Fitzgerald

My initial inclinations when watching a new movie are 1) to make sure my son is sound asleep, so I won’t be disturbed and 2) to catch the really early show or the really late show, so, just like the first reason, I won’t be disturbed. With “WALL?E” I decided to take an unorthodox approach. I figured that Friday night, opening weekend at 7 p.m. would give me a different, yet positive, perspective. The results were fabulous.

Maybe what made “WALL?E” so great was the opening preview of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” which was so unbearable that anything that came after would have shone like the sun. Maybe not. Maybe it was the fact that in a full theater, with both children and adults, everyone seemed to enjoy the movie. All the kids as well as the elderly couple on a date sitting next to me really seemed to genuinely enjoy the movie. One person I didn’t see in the theater, though, was M. Night Shyamalan. If you’re reading this Mr. Shyamalan, go see “WALL?E”!

So, I noticed everyone had a great time watching the movie. Does that make it good? Not necessarily, but there’s so much more that the guys at Pixar did right. In a blend of serious humor and social critique coupled with light-handed moderation, Pixar’s guys managed to blend and pay homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Blade Runner” and “The Tramp’s Modern Times,” while simultaneously telling us the story that Shyamalan’s “The Happening” so miserably failed to tell us. It’s not that “The Happening” had a bad message, it’s that it had a bad presentation, and Shyamalan’s audience reacted accordingly. The opposite could be said of “WALL?E.”

The movie did have a few slow moments. However, overall the blend of entertainment and food for thought (not “Lunch in a cup!”) made this movie a real winner among the many losers this summer. I hope America truly pays attention to “WALL?E” because just as it shows us through masterful satire that maybe we shouldn’t be quick to believe that “pizza plants!” are the answer or that “blue is the new red,” the movie also teaches us about another color–green–and does so with wonderful precision.

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