In a revelation from Disney’s Comic-Con panel that came close to making me physically ill, Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton has announced that there will be a live action element to next year’s Pixar flick Wall-E. Now, it’s entirely possible – likely, even – that dry reaching could be a little premature. After all, Pixar have never disappointed me thus far. However, I can’t help but get flashbacks to Happy Feet – a film I was thoroughly enjoying as a fun animated ride until it switched suddenly into a ludicrous public service announcement without an inkling of subtlety. Much of that had to do with the completely left-field addition of real people.
If you ask me, there’s just something really off about being taken into a magical world of animation, only to be taken out of it by real-life footage. Sure, there was Who Framed Roger Rabbit – which I loved – but the contrast of 2D ‘toons and 3D reality was central to the plot. When you’re talking about quality Pixar 3D animation, adding live action may simply be too jarring.
Take the Star Wars prequels, for example, or Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express. In my opinion, the more photorealistic animation becomes, the less believable it becomes. When you place real life objects within the frame, the flaws of the animation – what I like to call a “vaporous” quality – become far too noticeable. What was otherwise stunningly detailed suddenly becomes oddly “fake”.
Hey, I could be overreacting. Like I said – Pixar have never failed to impress in over a decade. And, besides, people on the whole seem to have like Happy Feet… so who am I to judge?
Overall, though, the film’s plot does sound like another imaginitive home run for the studio. Following rampant consumerism on Earth, Humans have been gone for 700 years and have become helpless blobs, served by robots and living on large space liners. The title character of Wall-E is a robot with the task of cleaning up Earth and – over time – gains a personality and takes a cockroach as his pet. Eventually finding a way off the planet, he comes across a tribe of humans and falls in love with a robot named Eve.
The Comic-Con audience was treated to an early scene from the film, showing Wall-E going about his daily business, cleaning up and taking objects that interest him such as a bra and a rubber ducky.
Now, that stuff I do like.
In other news, Ben Burtt was on hand to discuss his work as sound designer on the upcoming film – announcing that it may prevent him working on Indiana Jones IV – and it was announced Thomas Newman will be doing the score. An advertisement for fictional company “BuyNLarge” – which promotes domestic-use robots to consumers – was also shown at the convention. A website for the company is also online now – view it here.