At The Movies 06.27.08
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my
commentary on the two new films opening this weekend at the Majestic Theater in
“Wanted” is about Mr. Milquetoast going to the Dark Side. James McAvoy takes constant abuse both at work and at home, until some strangers come to tell him that his father was really a talented assassin, and he has special abilities, too, if he’d care to develop them, so he accepts intensive training to be a bad guy, a member of a secret society of killers with a rogue leader, no conscience, and mutiny in the ranks. Dark, violent, murderous, sinister, even masochistic. But fascinating like a train wreck, if you’ve got the stomach for it.
For the young and gentle at heart, there “Wall*E,” the animated story of the robot designed to clean up trash, which he’s still faithfully doing, 700 years after all the humans have left earth because it’s become one big landfill. In all this time alone, he’s developed a quirky personality for a robot: he’s adventurous, he has a sense of humor, he keeps spare parts and fixes himself, and he loves watching old musicals on his VCR. Oh, and his only living friend is a cockroach---who, unsurprisingly, appears to be indestructible. But “Wall*E” is lonely for someone who will talk back, and he quickly falls in love with a mechanical probe, named Eve, sent by the spaceship-bound humans to see if Earth is inhabitable again or not. Wall*E returns with Eve to the space station to find that the humans are bloated caricatures of themselves, floating around in their personal comfort chairs, each with private video screen and refreshments on command---but they have become incapable of even standing up any more, much less standing up to their robots, who have, like in “2001, A Space Odyssey,” simply taken over. See Wall*E and Eve save the humans from themselves, all the while developing an affection for each other that robots aren’t supposed to have. Cute, funny, original, with a subtle message thrown in for all of us who are already becoming bloated caricatures of ourselves.
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM