Tag Archive: Wall-E


It’s rare for a movie studio to listen to fans instead of cash. On the surface, it appears Pixar is doing just that, however. With “Cars 2” and “Monsters University”, both made a lot of cash but were critical disappointments. Look at it this way, between 1995 and 2010, the lowest rotten tomato score for any Pixar film was “Cars” at 74 percent. Films like “Up”, “Toy Story 3”, “Toy Story 2”, “Wall E” and more all earned near 100 percent scores. Since then? The studio’s first “rotten” film and a prequel that everyone thought was OK. Well, here’s what Pixar’s Ed Catmull told Buzzfeed:

“For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.”

Of course with “Finding Dory” coming up, they’re not ditching sequels altogether. But it’s nice to see them take a step toward becoming Pixar again.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

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This summer will see the release of two high profile animated films. “Despicable Me 2” sees Steve Carell return to voice Gru, everyone’s favorite bumbling villain. Pixar goes back to the vault again, this time for “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters Inc.” and with Billy Crystal and John Goodman returning to voice Mike and Sully. Which of these films will stand tallest? Here’s my very early preview of the two anticipated films.

Let me start by saying both have great potential to be the biggest letdowns of the summer. “Despicable Me 2” has the advantage of still having the minions and the child characters returning. The question will be whether this will be another installment of the same antics from the first film or can they bring something truly new to the table? Where “Despicable Me 2” has a very big advantage is even if it’s just more of Gru doing pretty much the same things from the first film, it’ll still be funny and still draw in a large audience. “Monsters University” doesn’t have that luxury. A friend pointed this out to me and I went back and watched “Monsters Inc.” and completely agree with him. The first film’s funniest movies had the little girl as the catalyst. What I mean to say is no little girl and that film becomes a lot less funny and endearing. The prequel presumably takes humans out of the equation. So, will Mike and Sully be able to carry this film when they really didn’t carry the first film? I’m worried that they won’t be able to. Pixar’s track record as of late hasn’t been great. That’s not to say films were terrible, but after a string of films like “Wall E”, “Up” and “Toy Story 3”, dealing with “Cars 2” and “Brave” frankly was a huge step down from Pixar’s standards. And I’m not sure that this film will do anything to break that streak.

Of course, “Monsters University” does have the advantage of having a more unique premise. Taking the beloved characters back to college, meaning they can target a whole new brand of humor that we haven’t seen from Pixar. From the looks of “Despicable Me 2”, all we’re getting is Gru vs. another villain once again. So if Pixar’s script is fresh and its ideas new, “Monsters University” does have the much higher upside in terms of creativity.

It’s still way too early to tell if either of these films are going to be a stinker or a classic, but if I had to choose one, I’d choose “Despicable Me 2”. I just worry that Pixar is cutting out what made the first film so funny and won’t have enough creativity to replace it.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Ah, summer. So many movies coming out. So much hype. And with hype comes disappointment as films fail to meet expectations. Which movies this summer do you think will fall flat? To start the discussion, I’m not including films like “Battleship” which…let’s face it, I know very few people who actually think it will be good.

My pick is “Prometheus”. I understand the buzz is very high. And the first trailers looked intriguing. Also, there’s some cool rumors floating out there like this one about what Ridley Scott could be setting up. But, as I said before, when’s the last time Scott’s made a great film? “Robin Hood” sure wasn’t it. Neither was “Kingdom of Heaven”. I’d argue you have to go back to “Gladiator” for Scott’s last great film. The latest footage for “Prometheus” for me, makes it look way too like just another “Alien” film. And, frankly, that’s not enough. “Alien” is still a classic. But the times have changed. If all he can pull out of his bag of tricks is a storyline of humans discovering a foreign place only to be attacked by foreign creatures (in this case aliens) then…well… the movie sort sounds…slightly more intriguing then say “Battleship”. At least with “Battleship” I’ll get to see a lot of dumb action. An intriguing science fiction film only works if the filmmaker can do something new or something so great like “2001: A Space Odyssey”. This just has stinker written all over it to me.

With “The Avengers”, “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” all coming out, my guess is one is going to not meet expectations. Doesn’t look like it will be “The Avengers” based on early reviews. I gotta be honest. I think it’ll be “The Dark Knight Rises” that disappoints. Now, I liked “The Dark Knight”. It was an excellent film. I just didn’t find it to be the masterpiece that everyone else thought. The trailers for TDKR all just lack excitement for me. I know lots of films have messages about society, but this one isn’t even trying to hide it. I’m ok with message films. But, come on. Really? The 99 percent are the reason Gotham’s going down the crapper? You’re also looking at a less interesting villain in Bane and the trailers showed way too many money shots.

One potential disappointment, though I really hope I do like it, is Pixar’s “Brave”. Look, no studio can always great great films. But, “Cars 2” was just so…average. But, Pixar’s back to original ideas so let’s hope this one continues. It just, for some reason, looks to me too much like the normal adventure kids movie and not like films like “Toy Story 3”, “Up” and “Wall E” that could attract audiences of all ages.

“The Bourne Legacy” starring Jeremy Renner is also on my potential bust list. Look, I was never a huge fan of the “Bourne” series, but I think they’re on a little thin ice all of a sudden saying “There was never just one.”

Other films for me are “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. All I have to say is no. Just…no. Also, the marketing campaign has done a great job for “Snow White and the Huntsman” making it look very stylish. Let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint and fall flat on its face as an average action film. My final film on my list is “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”. Yes, I know the first one wasn’t that good. But, like Snow White, the marketing has been very good. And this looks like it could be a lot of popcorn action flick fun. Besides, The Rock helped save the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

After the surprising huge opening of “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”, the second weekend in March sees “John Carter”, “Silent House” and “A Thousand Words”. Which one will take the top spot of the new movies?

“John Carter” based on the classic novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs has all the makings of a blockbuster. Aliens, special effects, action, good looking actors and the potential to start a franchise. The novels helped inspire everything from “Star Wars” to “Avatar”. And yet, the film, which stars Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), Willem Dafoe, Thomas Hayden Church and Lynn Collins, doesn’t have much buzz around it. Despite being directed by Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) I just don’t sense that people are excited for this film (I am, for the record). That being said, with mixed reviews, its unlikely to build any quick buzz outside of guys looking for an action flick.

Opening weekend: $38-40 million.

Total box office gross: $110-115 million.

“Silent House”, which stars Elizabeth Olsen is looking to continue the trend of movies opening well without big name stars in it. However, its got a moderate theater count and the reviews have been mixed as well (At the time of this writing, its score on Rotten Tomatoes is the same as “John Carter’s”). Horror films can do well without any star power (See “Saw” and “Paranormal Activity’s” box office grosses) and horror fans will check this out. But, I doubt anyone else will rush out to see it.

Opening weekend: $12-14 million.

Total: $35-40 million.

“A Thousand Words” stars Eddie Murphy. That is all you should need to hear. Since “Dream Girls” and “Norbit”, Murphy has starred in such films as “Imagine That” and “Meet Dave”. Yes, those movies were actually released.

Opening weekend: $4-6 million.

Total: $12-17 million.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

My Valentines Day movie list

Yes, I know. Valentines Day is here again (ugh). The holiday that we’re supposed to be romantic as if a person did a romantic gesture at any other time of the year it’s not as valid. However, I digress. It’s also a good opportunity to spend time with a significant other. And what better way than to sit down after a nice dinner and watch a romantic movie? Here are my picks.

NOTE: I am, for the most part, leaving off films like Valentines Day, or The Notebook. Why? Because I didn’t particularly like them. These are films that I think both sexes can enjoy equally.

Once

What can I say about this film? One of my favorites…ever. It’s sweet without being over the top. It’s romantic without all the cliches. It’s the most realistic “musical” you’ll ever see.  Once is not just one of the best musicals you’ll see. I’ll wager it’s one of the best films bar none.

When Harry Met Sally

Of course everyone remembers the diner scene. But, When Harry Met Sally is a clever, smart, extremely funny look into how people view relationships. Billy Crystal’s performance is spot on. It’s hilarious, heart warming and rises above most romantic comedies.

40 Year Old Virgin

You can’t go wrong with this blockbuster comedy that propelled Steve Carell into super stardom. It’s also a refreshingly vulgar film that has heart. It also goes to show that just cause someone does or does not talk like a sailor, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a soft side to them.

Across the Universe

The film that split critics when it came out. The musical, set to Beatles songs, is visually very interesting. At it’s core, it’s also a love story between Lucy and Jude (Jim Sturgess). A lot of people I talked to loved it or hated it. I thought it was quite charming, the music, of course, was very good and you know what? A love story set to Beatles songs is never a bad track to follow in my book.

Wall-E

So… let’s not forget one thing. At it’s core, Wall-E is about a romance between Wall-E and Eve. I mean, all Wall-E really wanted was to hold Eve’s hand if you think about it. This is one of Pixar’s finest efforts. It’s animation is top-notch. The story works with minimal dialogue. And, Wall-E is one of its cutest creations to date.

Casablanca

Well…I don’t really think I need to say too much about this one. It’s a masterpiece. And, if you or your significant other hasn’t seen this one… do it. Now.

An Affair To Remember

In continuing with my old classics, see the 1939 version, not the 1994 remake. Two people meet on a ship. And, they engage in an affair (obviously). They fall in love, but decide to test it by returning to the people that they are engaged with. What happens next? I won’t spoil it for you. But, it’s definitely worth taking the time to see it.

Moulin Rouge

The third (and final) musical on my list. Baz Lurhman’s extravagant film starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor is one heck of a ride. It’s catchy, fun, emotional and just a blast to watch.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten other films that I would have added had I thought about this list longer than I did. But, here it is. What movies would you guys put on here?

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.