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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > WALL-E

MOVIE REVIEWS

WALL-E (2008)

Starring Fred Willard and the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy and Sigourney Weaver.

Screenplay by Andrew Stanton.

Directed by Andrew Stanton.

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.  97 minutes.  Rated G.

WALL-E

Pixar films are well known for taking hard looks at adult concerns in the guise of a children's movie and WALL-E takes this juggling act to new levels.  What is WALL-E?  Is it a love story between a funny looking older robot and a sleek newfangled one?  Is it a look at the effect of loneliness on a being?  Is it a green-friendly critique of human ability for waste?  Is it a call for physical and mental fitness?  Is it a diatribe against reliance on modern technology?

WALL-E is all of the above.

It's rather brave, but also just a tiny bit patronizing, to expect people to watch your movie - one which lectures them for sitting around watching movies when they could be exercising.  Yes, the American public (and the world at large) is becoming way too comfortable with the idea of being couch potatoes, and yes, it is a huge concern, but WALL-E is just by nature also part of the problem when it is trying to be part of the cure.  I wonder how the middle-class suburban families who are supposed to be WALL-E's demographic are going to feel about being portrayed as obese, lazy sheep.  True or not, it may cause some ill-will towards a movie that is otherwise charming and rather sophisticated.

And it has cute robots.

Technically, WALL-E is a marvel (which is again kind of ironic, in a film that decries technology gone wild).  It is beautiful, sweet, worrisome and intelligent.  It is some very deep science fiction for an audience that is used to surface level treatment.

WALL-E takes place on the Earth - nearly eight centuries after it was pretty much used up and abandoned by humans.  The title character is a robot whose only job is picking up the garbage left behind, compacting it and building it into giant towers of garbage.  WALL-E seems to be the last of his kind still running, but daily he goes back to his endless job and toils away.

Despite the fact that he is a robot, WALL-E has been doing the same thing for generations and has become horribly lonesome.  He befriends some cockroaches - the only beings still living on Earth - and periodically will stash away some treasure he finds in his trash rounds, like old hubcaps, jewelry boxes, wires and VHS tapes.  Then he goes home, obsessively watches Hello Dolly on video, powers down and goes back to work the next morning.

One day finally, something different happens.  WALL-E finds a little plant growing amongst the waste and WALL-E puts it aside for his personal collection.  Also, a new, gleaming probe robot named EVE comes down to Earth looking for signs of life on Earth. 

WALL-E falls in love with the sleek beauty of EVE and soon they become friends.  However, when he shows her the plant he has found, she has to alert the humans who are in a giant ship that the Earth is again able to sustain life. 

Over the years, the humans have had all their needs taken care of on the giant starship.  They have become morbidly obese and use hover crafts rather than walking.  The question becomes, will they want to return to Earth now?

It's kind of heady stuff for a kids' movie.  Also, most of the first half of the film is nearly dialogue-free, which surprisingly did not make the children I was with antsy.

WALL-E is an interesting story - occasionally a little over obvious but otherwise sweet and spectacular.  As seems to be the regular progression, Pixar's visuals get even better with each progressive film (though they still can't really make humans look the least bit realistic). 

And it has cute robots.

There are worse ways to spend a summer afternoon.  Just go out and exercise when you're done.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: June 27, 2008.

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Copyright 2008   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: June 27, 2008.

 

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