Saturday, July 12, 2008

Get Smart and Wall-E

Sorry it's been a while, but my life has just been so extremely busy lately. After my vacation in Austin I had to pack up everything for Seattle and now I'm here trying to get my apartment together. I love the apartment and, of course, the city, but I do miss home. I'll get back to my normal mix of tech news in another week or so. Until then, enjoy a couple of movie reviews!

Get Smart

I don't know how I should feel about Get Smart. When I saw it, I actually really did like it, but then the reviews I read kind of made me think twice.

I had no familiarity with the TV series that the movie was based off of before walking into the theater, but the Alamo Drafthouse ran a few clips from the show before the movie started (which I thought was pretty neat) and the movie did seem to keep in theme with the show. However, some fans of the show have said otherwise. In any case, the movie was not what I was expected: I thought it'd be a dumb spy movie like Naked Guy where the protagonist is just dumb but it's really one where the protagonist is smart but really clumsy. The basic premise is that Control, this spy agency, has had some leaks so Steve Carell has to become a special agent and works alongside Anne Hathaway on a case.

I personally thought that the movie was hilarious. The jokes weren't always fresh, but I thought that the delivery on them were great. Steve Carell is great at being dorky but lovable and Anne Hathaway at times is good at being graceful and sexy. Of course, Alan Arkin was awesome because he's Alan Arkin, but I really wasn't impressed with the Rock (I've actually seen movies where I've liked his acting). My friends and I were laughing the entire time, but the criticisms that I've heard but didn't personally have are good ones: the technical shooting quality was subpar, the jokes have mostly been done before, and it did try really hard to be a serious action movie. I think it wanted to be a funnier True Lies but it missed the mark on that count.

The bottom line is that this movie is not for everyone. That's kind of a disclaimer with all comedies though, they appeal to certain people more than others. I went and saw it because some of the people I was following on Twitter enjoyed it and my friend really wanted to see it. In the end, I was definitely entertained, so I give it a B-. If you're not sure about seeing it, then just wait for it to come out on video and try it then. If you want a comedy though, try Wall-E first.


Has Pixar ever made a bad movie? Granted, I haven't seen all of them but I haven't heard of Cars being bad either. To continue the pattern, Wall-E is probably the cutest movie that I've ever seen. There's so much to love about it for all ages. From the short that precedes it to the end credits, it's truly a visual feast.

The premise is that Wall-E is the last robot in his line to be left on Earth cleaning it up while all the humans are away. He becomes very curious and self-aware over time, and then one day a foreign robot comes to Earth and launches us into the rest of the movie.

What's really interesting about this movie is how little dialogue it incorporates. So much of the movie tells the story by the actions of these robots and, while there is dialogue, there's so little talking (other than what's computer-generated) that you forget that there was any at all! It's just a testament to how great the animation is. There are no words for the visual quality of the movie: it's technically brilliant and they utilize it so well to tell a haunting, yet endearing story. The movie actually kind of reminds me of Idiocracy and I, Robot, but it definitely paints robots in a better light than most movies tend to. It's by no means strictly a children's movie: I can't imagine anyone walking in and not having a good time. It's cute, funny, and just interesting overall.

The only criticism I have for this movie is hard for me to explain, but it does have to deal with the movie crossing the boundary between the cartoon world and the real world. Other than that, I really enjoyed the voice acting and the story overall. I give it an A and will definitely be buying it when it comes out.

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