Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Angela Jun 28, 2008

Came back from seeing WALL•E today.  Excellent film, clearly on par to Pixar's high standards, but not quite on the level of greatness as their last few outings.  Loved the "silent film/brevity of words" aspect of the movie, and the animators did a great job at expressing the robot characters through their actions and minimal voice dialog.  WALL•E himself is adorable, and while I'm not one who actively praises "female empowerment" in films, EVE makes for a wonderfully strong heroine figure.  The love relationship between the two thankfully worked so much better than I anticipated.  There's definitely an anti-pollution message in the film, which although never gets to the level of preachy, does leave an unmistakably potent mark.  Also, kudos to the nifty 8-bit pixel renderings of the characters during the end credit roll.

Sadly, I didn't find Thomas Newman's music score all that memorable.  There's a slightly unsettling space-fantasy main theme that runs from time to time, along with some tender moments for WALL•E and EVE and the appropriately bombast cues for the action sequences, but nothing I left the theater with.  In fact, the song most remembered is the Michael Crawford track "It Only Takes A Moment" from the "Hello Dolly!" film, which persists in making itself the actual main theme of WALL•E.

Right, so it's time once again to update the ol' Pixar ranking:

1) Monsters, Inc.
2) Ratatouille
3) The Incredibles
4) Cars
5) Wall*E
6) Toy Story
7) Toy Story 2
8) Finding Nemo
9) A Bug's Life

allyourbaseare Jul 1, 2008

Yeah, that's gotta be weird.  I know she probably doesn't remember a thing.

Speaking of cute kids, I've taught my daughter a couple of lines from "Rhythm Tengoku," mostly the four guys in a line (these guys) and she does it way cute.  I'm trying to get her on video so I can upload it, but you know 2-year-olds...  wink

avatar! Jul 1, 2008

Most of Pixar's films are enjoyable, but I feel they're all kinda the same. Mostly in terms of characters. I feel they're all very similar and the stories are not that unique, despite different genres etc. When it comes to animation, I'm totally an old school fan. I'm not a fan of computer animation and feel that Pixar and other companies can not even come close to the beauty of original Disney movies such as The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, etc. People are welcome to disagree with me if they want, but I know there are lots of others out there who do agree with me! Anyway, despite my complains, I'm not saying Pixar's movies are not fun, I'm just saying they're the same thing over and over again... kinda like the rehashing of Final Fantasy. As long as people enjoy it and they make a nice profit, of course you're going to see the same thing in different forms.

later,

-avatar!

ps I'm sure Angela for one (and others) totally disagrees with me, but that's OK, we're all entitled to our opinions smile

Angela Jul 1, 2008

avatar! wrote:

but that's OK, we're all entitled to our opinions

Is it really necessary to end your posts with this disclaimer?  I think we're all very much aware that we're entitled to our own opinions.  ;)

Anyway, regarding "old school" animation versus computer graphics animation, it's perfectly cool to prefer one medium over the other, but I don't feel it's right to pit them against one another.  I would imagine that those of us who were born before the CG boom (that should be most of us here) have an innate appreciation for hand-drawn animation, as well as the classics that utilized the medium.  There's an untouchable quality with 2D animation that simply can't be replicated otherwise.  By the same token, CG animation has come a long way, and taken massive strides at not only looking impressive, but also telling solid stories that, truthfully, probably wouldn't come off being nearly as effective an experience in 2D as in 3D.  I believe that one can appreciate the technical merits of 3D animation just as much as 2D, and for those of us who dig both mediums, well, more power to us.

Not quite seeing the argument of "sameness" in Pixar movies, though.  True, they all share the same kind of moral-driven center (this is Disney we're talking about), but the worlds, characters and underlying plots between each film are all so inherently different from one another that I find it difficult to pinpoint direct correlations between, say, monsters trying to get a little girl back to her world, a rat looking to make it big as a chef in Paris, or a love relationship between two robots spanning galaxies.

oddigy Jul 5, 2008 (edited Jul 5, 2008 by Amber)

I just saw this film for the first time yesterday, and I was fairly entranced by it.
Writing movie reviews has never been one of my specialities, but I can say that the post-apocalyptic environment throughout the entire first half of the movie (the better half, I think) tickled me in some odd places I'd forgotten I had.

Also, the (spoiler below)

part at the end where Eve hauls Wall-E back to his ship and puts him back together, then boots him back up and he didn't recognize her was awesome... guh, I shed some tears; I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.

I wouldn't have minded had the entire film been dialogueless.  The humans later on kind of ruined the experience.

Pleasantly surprised, glad a friend dragged me out to see it.  I think I'm going to have to get a little Eve figurine to sit on my desk at work next to my World of Warcraft figureprint.

Wanderer Jul 6, 2008

Saw it yesterday, thought it was transcendent, one of Pixar's best. My more conservative friends left the theater ranting about how preachy the message was... whereas I felt it was about as tastefully done as it could be.

I liked Newman's score quite a bit. I thought it fit the movie like a glove. As far as standalone listening goes, I think I would have preferred Giacchino (who has been signed up for their next film, "Up.").

SonicPanda Jul 18, 2008

Saw it today, loved it to bits. I'm with Amber though, they could've made a whole movie out of the near-wordless first half-hour, and it would've been as good if not better. But then there would've be no FOREIGN CONTAMINANT Bot and that would've been a shame.

Does Pixar's stuff blend together story-wise? If you abstract it far enough, sure. But let's not sell them short - it's not as though your could extract the characters from Ratatouille, plop them into WALL*E, and have the movie function the same way. I'd argue that many characters in others' CGI films are more archetypical, and essentially interchangeable. Oh, and derivative as hell - there was a trailer before the movie, about a rather bold mouse who doesn't fit in with his kind and crosses paths with a chef. Now why does that sound so familiar?

P.S. You guys are crazy - this is easily my favorite Pixar score, followed by Ratatouille's. Aside from the needless Also Sprach Zarathusra bit and my general distaste for Hello Dolly (though it was thematic and central ratrher than extraneous so it's excused), the whole thing was beautiful and wonderfully tactile, if that can be said about music.

Wanderer Jul 18, 2008 (edited Jul 18, 2008)

After seeing the movie a second time (and loving it even more), I'd definitely coming around on the score. I especially love the music that plays during the spaceship taking off near the beginning, the flyby of the Axiom and the dancing sequence. The action material in general is top-notch (and mixed so well in the movie that it gave me goosebumps). The Strauss quote was a 2001 nod but why do they always stop the piece when it's getting to the best part? tongue

Oh, and derivative as hell - there was a trailer before the movie, about a rather bold mouse who doesn't fit in with his kind and crosses paths with a chef. Now why does that sound so familiar?

Yeah, they played like five CG-animated movie trailers before Wall-E and they all came across as being about as generic as you could get. I think when you hire John Travolta to voice a dog, you've pretty much hit rock-bottom.

Ashley Winchester Dec 27, 2008

Got to see this last night... loved it! Very well might be the first Pixar movie I'll buy.

SonicPanda wrote:

...they could've made a whole movie out of the near-wordless first half-hour, and it would've been as good if not better. But then there would've be no FOREIGN CONTAMINANT Bot and that would've been a shame.

Definitely, the level of emotion that is expressed without words was impressive and yes, I couldn't have lived without having the FOREIGN CONTAMINANT Bot in there, loved him and how it was said. I also liked how the messages from the past where done with real actors.

I have to agree with Angela how there is a message in the beginning about pollution though it never really comes to the forefront as much as the idea of humans becoming lazy and wasteful but thankfully this was counteracted by the captain's desire to return to the earth and thus was balanced out.

However, I can't say my enjoyment of Wall-e was based solely on the film itself, but the airs of familiarity it has with 1986's "Short Circuit." Yes, very different films but there are several things that just scream as a shout out this childhood classic of mine:

- Wall-e's eyes remind me much of Johnny Number 5's eyes and how soulful they can seem, especially when combined with other gestures like Number 5's "eyebrows/eyelids."

- how Eva's initial, destructive personality becomes more docile throughout the picture reminds me of how even though Number 5 is a weapon he never uses his laser to "disassemble" life once Stephanie teaches him about the concept of life and death. Number 5 even ditches his laser in the rather unfortunate sequel because "lasers are meant to harm." Really, the sequel makes me cry to this very day.

- Another similarity is how wall-e replaces his treads and how Eva repairs him at the end. This is similar to how Number 5 fixes himself several times throughout the movie and how he eventually escapes his pursuers.

Anyway, I'm not saying the movie doesn't work on it's own but I have to say having fond memories of "Short Circuit" definitely made the movie come alive even more and didn't seem like a rip-off even though there are several comparable scenes and ideas.

As it is, if anyone has seen Wall-e but not Short Circuit I'd suggest checking it out, the movie only ran me about $5.

Amazingu Dec 27, 2008

Just watched this a couple of days ago, and I absolutely adored it.
In the end I kinda regretted watching it on my own, cos the gf had a party at her work, this is definitely one to watch with a loved one. But still, even on my own it was cute and endearing and made me feel all fuzzy inside.
Definitely one of Pixar's finest.

Also, the animated short with the Magic Hat was hilarious!
Kinda felt like Bugs Bunny meets Portal wink

Angela Dec 28, 2008

For what has to be a first, I actually enjoyed a Dreamworks animation more than a Pixar one; Kung Fu Panda just ended up being the more enjoyable film for me this year.

Oh, and I'm calling it right now: Pixar's next film "Up" is gonna be fraggin' incredible.  You can all flog me if I'm wrong.

Wanderer Dec 28, 2008

For one thing, Giacchino returns! Yay!

I got Wall-E for Christmas on Blu-ray and it looks absolutely gorgeous. I looked over specific scenes but I can't wait to watch the whole thing again!

Crystal Jan 1, 2009

Picked up the US DVD.

I liked the BurnE short more than the Presto short.
The way the spire machine just dropped the spire in front of BurnE with a loud thud was so funny.

I'm kinda perplexed why it took Japan almost half a year after the US release to show it in theaters.
It's ridiculous considering there's very little dialogue.

Anyways, it's a cute film.
When Wall-E was talking, why does he/it call her Eva instead of EVE?

Yet another winner from Pixar.

Up looks interesting. I'll definitely have to find 3d theater around somewhere.

raynebc Jan 4, 2009

Because he cannot pronounce her name (limitation in his circuitry, probably).

SonicPanda Jan 5, 2009

raynebc wrote:

Because he cannot pronounce her name (limitation in his circuitry, probably).

I figured it was a result of her over-enunciating it when he was trying to learn it.

Adam Corn Jan 5, 2009

Crystal wrote:

I'm kinda perplexed why it took Japan almost half a year after the US release to show it in theaters.  It's ridiculous considering there's very little dialogue.

I'm sure it's more about marketing than it is actually getting the subtitles and dubbing done.  How exactly waiting a half year to release the film benefits its prospects is beyond me but someone at Disney is under the impression that it does, as they've done it with previous Pixar flicks.

Anyway as for the movie itself, despite it being a bit slow I was impressed in the first half with how they had the guts to release such an unconventional animated film (little to no dialog, some fairly weighty sci-fi and social messages) as a tentpole release.  Then the rushed, excessively happy ending soured it for me.  Same thing with Ratatouille.  I understand these are family films but after providing such solid artistic foundations it's disappointing to see them revert to more typical cartoon form at the end.

With the musical score having such a prominent place for a great part of the film I was listening very carefully hoping to be impressed but wasn't.  Am willing to give both the film and the score a second chance though smile

Oh and Presto was great.  Pretty much anything with animated bunnies = win.

Curse of the Were-Rabbit: check
Raving Rabbids: check
Looney Tunes: old skool check

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