It’s almost now a given that every successive film that Pixar releases will be bigger in scope, look better, and advance the field of 3D computer graphics by another stride – they are so far ahead of the competition, you only have their other films to compare against.
So, in a weird way, when I went to the Popcorn Taxi event for Wall-E last week, I was simultaneously blown away AND blase about the film. It was spectacular, but deep down, without really knowing much about the film beforehand, I knew it would be.
They’ve succeeded on every level – Wall-E has the usual sweet, “universal appeal” story that Pixar usually blend up, but it also has a slightly frightening message about where we’re headed as a civilisation that offsets the gooeyness nicely. It also looks absolutely beautiful.
The director of the film, Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and sound designer Ben Burtt (inventor of iconic sounds such as the lightsabre and Darth Vader’s rasp, now the voice of Wall-E himself) were there to discuss the production process, from the story development, animation, all the way through to post-production.
I was particularly interested in the idea that Stanton wanted to create a film that looked like the science fiction films of the 70’s – the use of anamorphic lenses (a type of wide-angle lens which stretches the width of the image but not the height, creating a widescreen aspect ratio), and incorporating real-world camera properties such as optical breathing and barrel distortion.
Film geek heaven.