My WALL•E experience

The movie came out last week, so I think I can finally talk about it. In case you haven’t been paying attention, I saw WALL•E two weeks before it was released up at Pixar’s headquarters in Emeryville. As a condition of this pre-release screening, I agreed to keep my comments about the film confidential until after release.

Here’s my quick review:

Pixar’s Campus
Awesome. It’s not in the greatest area, but behind those gates is a green and clean paradise. It reminded me of going to Johns Hopkins where the campus was like an island in the sea of Baltimore. They have references to their films all over the place, and it’s obvious they’re really proud of their work. There’s a Cars logo in the driveway, visitor badges make a reference to “a stanger from the outside,” and they even have a huge version of Luxo Jr. outside (with its ball) which lights up at night.

Inside, the building is very clean and modern, jazzed up with plenty of art. It had a feel similar to Apple’s campus. I wasn’t allowed to go into most areas, but from what I could see, it looks like a fun place to work. In one corner, they had a display of WALL•E merchandise, which was set up as Nelson’s dream bedroom. Other fun features included a large model of Sulley and various physical props.

The theater at Pixar was the reason I went there in the first place after searching for digital screenings of the film. The room itself was spotless with comfortable red seats as you’d expect, and the digital projection and sound produced an ideal presentation of the movie. I noticed a computer station in the middle of the theater which wasn’t used for the screening, so I assume that it’s for cases where an animator wants to pop in and see something on the big screen without having to run back into the booth. Besides the technical quality of the equipment, my favorite part of the theater was the lighting. When the lights were first turned off for the show, stars (I’m assuming fiber optic) appeared on the ceiling with the sound of crickets. And then to top things off, there were some shooting stars for those who watched carefully. After that, the stars faded out and there were no lights in sight. The curtain rose and the film began right on cue.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll keep this short. I liked it. Everyone has their own taste in movies, but I personally consider WALL•E as my favorite Pixar feature so far. Monsters, Inc. is now in second place, followed by Toy Story. WALL•E is like a robot version of Nelson, and I mean this in a good way. That’s all I’m going to say. I’ll be away this weekend, so maybe I’ll try and get out after work sometime this week to see it again in a regular theater.

Oh, and enjoy Presto, the short before the feature. It had us all laughing out loud.

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