The Decaffeination Report

In an overly aggressive effort to become a part of “The Press Team” and, as such, party to all the perks it carries, the first report has been spawned. Will reports be issued weekly; monthly? That is still to be seen.

As this is the first report of its kind, the name it bears should be explained. Without going into too much detail I’ll say that it’s a bit of an inside joke. I’m a coffee drinker; give me a good cup of Joe and I’m a happy camper. There do, however, tend to be some side effects. So, in the end I must decaffeinate.

To begin, I must take note that critics and movie-goers alike seemed to enjoy the latest Pixar feature length film. Statistically, they’re all backing the right horse. Monetarily, Pixar peaked at just over $800 million with Finding Nemo. It’s lowest grossing film is its first, Toy Story, at about $360 million. All its movies have been nominated for academy awards, and I’ve loved all the Pixar creations that I’ve taken the time to watch with the possible exception of Cars (I only liked that one). Their latest effort, though, I believe to be decaffeination worthy.

After the trailers and sundry that gets played before publicly screened films in my home town, a short featurette by the name of Presto confidently flashed its computer generated lights in my direction. There are various reviews out there in the expansive crevices of the intertubes. You’ve already seen on this site that IMDB shows a rating of 9.1 (a quick check shows it’s been downgraded to 8.8), and here it received a 10. I won’t argue with either. It was enjoyable, funny and an overall good time. But what of the feature itself?

It must be said that the trailers, leaked scenes, early reviews and generally superfluous hype that preceded Wall-E did not sway me. None of it made the movie seem appealing. Still, I watched it on its opening night. Though I probably did not need that much prodding (being a Pixar film, I didn’t write it off just yet) an arrangement was made. The man who likes to call himself the G-man would come with me to Wanted on the Wednesday provided I went with him to Wall-E on the Friday. Hands were shaken, papers signed and the deal was made.

There wasn’t much dialogue. I’m sure counting the number of words said by any character in the movie would show a highly attractive salary per word for the screenwriters. This is merely an aside and should not be taken as any scathing commentary on how the script ruined the movie. I don’t think the script was the problem. It was all there, even without the spoken word, romance for the sentimental, physical comedy for the young and young at heart, and a bit of faux drama for everyone else. Something else was the problem.

It was long. At 97 minutes you wouldn’t think so, but that’s how it felt. With every joyous moan and sorrowful groan amplified by the numbers in the theatre each minute stretched longer. I get it. It’s sweet. Two robots fall in love. They hold hands. They say each other’s names. It’s cute. No more. Please.

There were also lessons to be learned. That always strikes me as odd. It makes sense; teach the children from early. Don’t litter or you’ll end up on a big space ship while robots clean up your mess. Don’t eat too much or you’ll end up really fat and in a hovering lounge chair. Don’t spend too much time on the computer or you’ll end up glued to a screen all your life lacking both social skills and human contact. But would you actually be able to decipher these subliminal messages if you were young enough to be a part of the age demographic that Wall-E and movies like it market themselves to?

Taking previous commentary out of the equation, Wall-E was still no more than an average movie, if that. The very low expectations I had when walking into the theatre were not met. So much so that with every glowing review and heart-warming tale of that playful little robot, my bewilderment increases exponentially. I am afraid that in my book, I will have to file Wall-E under slow roasted decaffeination.

As a post script, should we really be teaching our children to be pirates?