1.Wall*E (3,992 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated G): It’s going to be a tough weekend for movies in the Gatevackes household. While we each want to see both of the movies opening this weekend, my wife wants to see this film more and I want to see Wanted more. Top that off by us going out of town to see friends this weekend, and might not be able to see any. Ach, such is life.
This is the story set almost 700 years in earth’s future. All the humans are gone, having colonized the stars. They left behind a robot to clean up the planet named Wall*E. But the years of solitude and tedious work have done something to the little guy–they’ve made him develop a personality.
This sounds charming, and since the Pixar name is attached to the film, you can pretty much guarantee that it is. Pixar holds a place with me where they can’t lose. Their films have all been of such a high quality and so good that I can’t see them doing any wrong. Or, at the least, their failures are ten times as interesting and entertaining as anybody else’s good stuff.
There have been a few naysayers who have been critical of this film ahead of time, especially the fact that there is no dialogue for the first 30 minutes of the movie (and rumor has it earlier versions of the film had no dialogue at all). But don’t listen to them. Go see it and be charmed.
2. Wanted (3,175 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated R): Now we come to a comic book movie that bares little resemblance to the comic book that inspired it. Instead of superpowered bad guys, we have a fraternity of less-colorful assassins.
This time, it might not be the fault of the producers. Mark Millar, writer of the comic this movie is based on, said that when he was shopping projects around to producers, it was an early version of the script and the characters were assassins, not supervillains. Yes, this project was shopped around way before the comic book even came out.
If you flip through the trade paperback the next time you are in the book store or comic shop, you can tell how desperately Millar and artist J.G. Jones wanted this film to become a movie. They did pre-casting in the comic. Wesley was drawn to look like rap star Eminem, who was hot off his 8 Mile film. Fox was drawn to look like Hallie Berry, and Wesley’s dad was drawn to look like Tommy Lee Jones.
Hollywood being what it is, Wesley is now James McAvoy, Fox is now Angelina Jolie, and while I’m not sure who is playing Wesley’s dad, Morgan Freeman has become Wesley’s boss/mentor in the film. I think that casting is a slight improvement over the casting.
Another thing that has changed from the comic is the motivations of the characters. In the comic, they are evil through and through. There is no redeeming quality about them. As a matter of fact, that was the point. But since it is hard to market a film chock full of evil jerks, the characters become that rare breed of assassin who only kills to make the world better. See, even though they are cold-blooded murderers, they are good cold-blooded murderers.