The good news: The young generation that consumes all sorts of entertainment via iPods and the internet is doing more than anyone else to keep the big-screen experience alive. Rather than undermine the movie industry, these “third-screen” technologies are actually supporting it.
The bad news: Theatres are increasingly catering to this generation by creating “rowdier, text-friendly auditoriums” that encourage this generation to do all sorts of rude but increasingly common things like chatting and sending text messages while the movie is still in progress.
I am vaguely reminded of how, at the Wanted screening I attended a couple weeks back, a guy sitting across the aisle and a few rows down from me pulled out his cell phone and lit up its screen, and a security guard came up to him and asked him to turn it off. “But it’s silent,” the guy replied, as though that were the point. Never mind that the phosphorescent glow of his cell-phone screen was taking my eyes and many other people’s eyes off of the movie that we were all there supposedly to watch.
See also this recent comment by my CT Movies colleague Todd Hertz.
I’ve been meaning to post something about WALL•E for a while now — and I will post something, I hope, in the near future — but life has been busy and the mountain of WALL•E commentary to sift through has grown impossibly large.
In the meantime, however, I commend to you this piece by Noah Millman, who lists many of the flaws with this film that had occurred to me already as well as many that hadn’t, before concluding:
I may be grading WALL•E too hard, measuring it by the apparent scale of its ambitions rather than rating it against other kiddie flicks of the season, but that’s what higher ambitions will get you: more serious critical attention. And WALL•E, while it has wonderful things about it – just for having brought back the silent movie, it deserves high praise – just didn’t impress me as the work of art it’s being praised as.
There is some interesting discussion in the comments, too.
I am also somewhat relieved to find that as esteemed an animation expert as Jerry Beck seems to share my mild reaction to the film, acknowledging that there is much to “admire” in the film, as there usually is in a Pixar movie, but that it also left him “a little cold” and “a little disappointed”.
Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.
Cruising Bar 2 — CDN $1,150,000 — N.AM $1,150,000 — 100%
The Love Guru CDN $3,410,000 — N.AM $29,331,000 — 11.6%
Sex and the City — CDN $15,450,000 — N.AM $144,864,000 — 10.7%
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — CDN $26,360,000 — N.AM $306,590,000 — 8.6%
Wanted — CDN $7,300,000 — N.AM $90,775,000 — 8.0%
Get Smart — CDN $7,850,000 — N.AM $98,115,000 — 8.0%
Kung Fu Panda — CDN $14,480,000 — N.AM $193,395,000 — 7.5%
The Incredible Hulk — CDN $9,070,000 — N.AM $124,917,000 — 7.3%
Hancock — CDN $6,830,000 — N.AM $107,321,000 — 6.4%
WALL*E — CDN $7,860,000 — N.AM $128,132,000 — 6.1%
A couple of discrepancies: The Love Guru and Cruising Bar 2 were #9 and #10 on the Canadian chart, respectively (the former film was #11 in North America as a whole, and the latter film does not appear on the North American chart at all), while Kit Kittredge: An American Girl and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan were #8 and #10 on the North American chart, respectively (they were #13 and #11 in Canada).