Best 2008 Film
Most readers can surmise that your humble blogger’s taste in film tends towards the unusual and dark, material produced by David Lynch (Inland Empire), Sam Peckinpah (Straw Dogs), Jonathon Demme (Silence of the Lambs), Martin Scorcese (Goodfellas), Ridley Scott (Bladerunner) and the list goes on.
What decent films were produced in 2008? Few. Capturing the most attention (assisted by the tragic death of its co-star) is the latest Batman installment, The Dark Knight. Extremist ilk fancied the black prince (bending if not breaking the law to achieve his aim) symbolizing the Ignoramus-in-Chief's trouncing of the constitution to further his political agenda. Their cluelessness is illustrated by the reference to the box office results of other films including Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, and Redacted. I'll leave it to the reader to surmise why the latest Batman installment with Christian Bale, Keith Ledger, Morgan Freedman, Michael Kane, and an operating budget five times that of any of the films just listed, outperformed them at the box office.
In considering the best film of the year, despite it's box office chutzpah, The Dark Knight falls short, as does Benjamin Buttons (though interesting), Valkyrie, Happening, Twilight (Buffyphile Godiva), Menagerie, or the rest. Coming closest to the top slot in second place is Doubt. Let's face it, if Philip Seymour Hoffman is in the film, it's good. I am surprised that the best film of the year goes to a G-rated Disney film found on the shelves of the "Family" section.
Wall-E is a production of profound cinematic inspiration and genius juxtaposed with touching political and meta-political commentary on the nature of humanity, humanity’s issues, and humanity’s future. I would guess that while watching the picture the reader will immediately and without effort grasp its message, from the obvious Walmartization of the entire human economy to the precious scarcity of the photosynthetic plant (photosynthesis is the root of all life on earth) to the interactions of the machines and the way in which they are humanized.
Few films run over half an hour without dialogue. Wall-E makes it look effortless, thoroughly engaging both children and adults with masterful imagery. The facial expressions depicted on the machines is brilliance distilled and jaw dropping. Most notice the extraordinary work on the Wall-E machine. I would add that the work on Eve is just as profound, perhaps more. Watch her eyes. Science Fiction buffs will recognize the HAL eye of the ship's master robot as well as the 2001 theme song as the fat captain takes control, "You are relieved of duty."
The pathetically obese and dysfunctional couch cheese to which humanity has devolved perfectly captures the bankruptcy we are only now beginning to grasp. My favorite line in the film, probably, occurs when the captain declares, "I'm sure our forefathers would be proud to know that 700 years later we are doing the exact same thing that they were doing." What could be more W?
Seeing the humans find inspiration in a small plant is touching. Without the self-importance of so many politically correct films, Wall-E throws the ball straight over the plate in a pitch difficult to miss. Ahh, a garbage collecting drone finding the source of life. Yes. Wall-E is a spectacular achievement, and those responsible can rightfully declare themselves part of the solution in a world most desperate for one.