I’ve been a fan of Pixar since the original Toy Story. Technically, I’ve been a fan since Superman (1978) as they were responsible for the eye-popping credit sequence. But I’ve enjoyed their films so far, all being good, some being great, a few being absolute masterpieces. Wall-E falls squarely in the latter category.
Wall-E is a marvel of technical achievement. It is also a marvel of modern storytelling. With a minimal amount of dialogue, you relate to and love these characters. The magic of Ben Burtt’s sound design (he designed R2-D2) brings this world to life. I had tears in my eyes throughout the whole film; sometimes out of appreciation of beauty, and other times out of raw emotion. I can’t give this movie high enough praise.
Now this was a high disappointment. I can deal with bad movies. For example, The Musketeer (2001) was a BAD movie. First time I recall actually burning my ticket upon my exit from the theater. Bowling-shoe ugly, it is. (House of Ladders? Really?) Anyway…Hancock is not a BAD movie…but it hurts because it could’ve been so GOOD, and it ended up being mediocre. Will Smith does a fantastic job with his acting, but the story itself is the product of many rewrites and it shows. Things are disjointed and there are moments where the movie doesn’t even play by it’s own rules. I wanted to love this, and did until about 2/3 through. It fell flat for me.
Hancock is probably going to play very well to the National Treasure/Mummy fanbase, but since I hold myself as somewhat of a movie snob (I don’t think I can ignore that anymore) I can’t recommend it as anything but a mindless summer film. What’s terrible is that the first half of the movie brings you OUT of that expectation and into something greater…only to go back to it.