Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: WALL-E Is the Best-Reviewed Film of 2008

Plus, Wanted delivers the adrenaline-fueled goods.

by | June 30, 2008 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got lonely robots (Pixar’s WALL-E, directed by Andrew Stanton) and kinetic killers (Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman). What do the critics have to say?

It’s rare that a picture earns comparisons with Chaplin‘s City Lights and Kubrick‘s 2001. It’s rarer still that said picture is also praised as intelligent, visually remarkable, darkly funny, and ultimately, heartwarming family fare. However, critics say the good folks at Pixar have done just that with WALL-E, perhaps the studio’s most audacious film yet. Set in a dystopian future, WALL-E is the tale of a garbage-collecting robot navigating an unpopulated Earth. Soon he’s joined by EVE, a female bot searching for vegetation, and falls head-over-treads in love. Critics have been heaping praise on Pixar for years, but there’s a reason for that: The studio re-invents the rules of CG animation each time out. The pundits say WALL-E deftly blends slapstick, political satire, heartbreaking romance, and masterful storytelling into a one-of-a-kind movie experience. At 96 percent on the Tomatometer, WALL-E is not just Certified Fresh. It’s not just one of the best-reviewed films of the year. It’s one of the best-reviewed films in Pixar’s history.

“Now where can we get some Brawndo?”

If you’re looking for realism and well-developed characters, you can safely skip Wanted. However, if visceral, kicky popcorn fun is what you crave, critics say this Angelina Jolie-toplined flick should largely satisfy. Directed by Timur (Night Watch) Bekmambetov, Wanted is the story of an average Joe (James McAvoy) who finds himself recruited into a secret society by the enigmatic Fox (Jolie), in which he learns how to be an efficient assassin before getting in over his head. The pundits say Wanted is ultra-violent and artificial, but also sharply-paced and loaded with visual flair. At 72 percent, Wanted is more alive than dead. (Check out our video interview with Jolie here, and our breakdown of McAvoy’s best-reviewed films here.)

“Clean up on aisle five!”

Also opening this week in limited release:

Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine, a documentary about the iconoclastic artist, is at 89 percent;

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch‘s Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot, a doc about street-hoops Mecca Rucker Park, is at 82 percent;

Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress, adapted from a novel by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly and starring Asia Argento, is at 71 percent;

Trumbo, a doc about the blacklisted screenwriter of Roman Holiday, is at 64 percent;

Elsa & Fred, a romantic comedy about a wild love affair between two seniors in Madrid, is at 50 percent;

Finding Amanda, starring Matthew Broderick and Brittany Snow, a comedy about a compulsive gambler’s search for his drug-addicted niece, is at 46 percent;

Full Grown Men, a dark comedy about arrested emotional development starring Matt McGrath and Judah Friedlander, is at 44 percent;

And Hannari: Geisha Modern, a doc about the Japanese performance tradition, is at zero percent.

“I’m taking my Tomatometer with a grain of salt.”

Recent Pixar Movies:
95% — Ratatouille (2007)
75% — Cars (2006)
97% — The Incredibles (2004)
98% — Finding Nemo (2003)
95% — Monsters, Inc. (2001)

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