Wall-E and Tropic Thunder: Disappointing

November 25, 2008

What these movies have in common is that they didn’t live up to my expectations.

Wall-E was cute in its way, but it wasn’t terrific. Why did I expect terrific? Because I’m spoiled by the high quality animated films produced by Pixar, Dreamworks and others over the last decade. And I don’t mean box office totals or animation techniques. I mean good stories. Ones that don’t insult the intelligence of adults or children. Ones that have solid character development and interesting plots. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the plot Wall-E finds himself embroiled in (a fat, stupid, lazy and space-faring humanity waiting generations for signs of vegetation in order to reclaim a garbage-strewn earth) seemed somehow insulting, joyless, and–worst of all–boring. It wasn’t a bad movie. I think I just went into it with higher expectations.

Tropic Thunder simply wasn’t that funny. I’ll admit that there was some amusement in watching Tom Cruise play an influential Hollywood asshole (what a stretch that must have been!). And I’ll further admit that Robert Downey Jr. as a white man playing a black man was probably worth the rental fee all by itself. No, the problem here wasn’t Downey, Cruise or Jack Black–it was Ben Stiller.

I don’t like Stiller, that’s no secret. But he not only starred in this film, he directed it and even has a writing credit! I honestly believe that it was his “professionally annoying” shtick ruining the film on several levels. Plus, there were plot holes big enough to drive a HumVee through. (A guy with no hands and a movie director are able to single-handedly saturate with remote movie cameras a vast area of jungle that only hours later is too filled with armed drug thugs for our heroes to navigate without risking life and limb. Yeah, I’ll buy that.)


No comments yet

  1. This was one of Stiller’s worst performances. I liked him in Zoolander, Something About Mary, and Meet the Parents (but not Meet The Fockers). I also saw him on the stage in New York along side Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Peet in a play called This Is How It Goes where I though he did very well. But most of his other efforts are pretty lame

    Robert Downey Jr., as usual, stole the show. I’ve loved him since Weird Science.

    Wall-E was weird but entertaining enough – having watched it after a few beers and a snifter of cognac.

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