Sunday, July 06, 2008

Heartbeeps

Posting was on hold while I got a script for The Script Department's new contest, Silver Screenwriting, in shape for submission. This being the inaugural edition, the number of entries should be lower than many of the other more established competitions. At least from an odds perspective, hopefully that will work in my favor. As always, however, it comes down to what's on the page and I was pretty happy with the changes I was able to make in a short period of time (it was the script I worked with Julie and Jeff on in the writing salon). Anyway, out of sight out of mind until results are announced at the end of August.

With that deadline met, I spent my Fourth at the El Capitan enjoying the new Pixar release, WALL-E. Someday they may put out the film that breaks their unending streak of success going back to Toy Story but today's not that day. It's another funny and emotionally satisfying success. Maybe not quite as strongly plotted from start to finish as Ratatouille but the resonance of the love story is as strong as any that Hollywood has come up with yet.

And what makes that all the more amazing is that the couple in question are two robots who should, by all rights, be incapable of love at all. 700 years in the future, Earth has been abandoned by humans, leaving only an army of robots to clean up the mess left behind. Now, WALL-E is the only one of those robots still functioning. By day, he follows his programming, compacting trash one painstaking small cube at a time. At night, he goes home to an apartment that he's constructed from the detritus collected over the course of his mission. WALL-E's favorite item is a videotape of the musical Hello Dolly, from which he's developed a very human longing for companionship.

His routine is interrupted by the arrival of EVE, an advanced female robot sent back by the humans to search for any signs of rebirth on the planet. Naturally, WALL-E is smitten at first sight (despite EVE's habit of nearly destroying him with her laser at every turn). Eventually, she warms up to WALL-E's earnest charms. Which is just about the time she's recalled to the humans' ship far away in space. WALL-E follows and complications ensue.

Strangely, even though the pace of the action picks up dramatically once they return to the ship, the narrative loses momentum when it is less about WALL-E trying to win EVE's love and more about getting the humans back to Earth. His main goal isn't directly related to that secondary objective and the story gets somewhat disjointed at that point. But that isn't enough to take away from the brilliant emotional core of WALL-E and EVE's romance. If Superman made you believe a man could fly, this will make you believe a robot can love. And if, as David Mamet says, the perfect movie would be silent, then the first 40 minutes of WALL-E are as close to perfection as it gets.

2 Comments:

  • Enthusiastically agreed. And good luck! :)

    By Blogger Karen, at 2:14 PM  

  • I don't think his objective ever changes. His objective is always to love and win Eve from the second after he meets her. What changes is that he realizes that part of loving her is helping her to complete HER OBJECTIVE... Her revelation, in turn, is when she realizes her objective is less important than loving him back... It's a beautiful film.

    And I could totally relate to her knee-jerk destroy everything attitude. If I had that weapon in my arm there's be a lot more fires round here is all I can say... (wink)

    By Blogger Sulya, at 2:28 PM  

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