Wall-E

Written by: Andrew Stanton
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Ben Burtt, Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Garlin

Pixar has one again delivered a classic, which really, is not a surprise. This, however, does not mean Wall-E isn’t surprising. The film pushes the boundaries of Western mainstream animation with an admirable amount of gusto. What we have here may be the greatest animated film in American history (I, as a critic, can’t help but remain partial to Ratatouille). I’m not certain that by the end of 2008, Wall-E will stand as the best movie of the year, but I’ll bet it’s the most special, and maybe even most important. This is a family movie that doesn’t know it’s a family movie. Yes, it’s rated “G” in the USA and Canada but so was 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I have no problem naming the two films in the same sentence, which in my opinion, is the largest of compliments. It doesn’t need swearing or adult-only themes to work. We have a science fiction story that has a lot to say about where were going, and please do not just write it off as another global warming movie. Yes, global warming and how we treat our planet is the main concern here, but the film is remarkably effective then when you leave the theater, you will notice the first tree or plant you see and be filled with regret. I believe Wall-E to first and foremost be a science fiction film, but that’s certainly not all.

It is roughly 700 years in the future, we left earth some time ago when it became a barren wasteland. The first time we see Wall-E, the one robot left behind to pick up our trash, he is compressing garbage and making gigantic junk piles that resemble skyscrapers. The first time we are presented with the image of earth in this way, Wall-E working away on one of many piles, the title of the film fills the screen. We quickly realize this isn’t the standard kid’s flick. The image is so unexpectedly haunting, definitely one of the most effective visions of our planet’s future. Wall-E appears to be alone on earth except for a cockroach that tends to follow him around. Wall-E should stick to his task, but he has developed a personality, and a winning one at that. He collects objects that peak his interest, such as a Rubik’s cube and a light bulb. The item that has captured his artificial imagination most effectively is a VHS copy of Hello Dolly which he routinely watches. As he watches, two characters on screen hold hands, Wall-E simultaneously interlocks his own robotic hands. He has developed longing. Soon, his simple life is interrupted by the arrival of a spaceship bearing a female robot, EVE, sent to locate some sign of life. Wall-E is at once obsessed and does not leave EVE alone. The unlikeliest of romances begins, and what a memorable one it is. By the end, the strength of the romance is enough to love the picture. Once EVE finds what she needs, she blasts into orbit, Wall-E tags along.

They end up at Axiom, a space station, our advanced civilization. People, it seems, have changed. Everyone is obese and exerts little to no effort in their daily lives. Computers and robots control everything. Even the human man leading the people ultimately answers to a robot (a robot with an ominous red eye much like HAL from 2001, an homage to a great inspiration but perhaps even an equal) No one walks anymore, they float around in chairs with a projected TV screen. They have forgotten how to live. The poignancy only increases. I could keep going on about the brilliant vision of the future but to be surprised is better.

I mentioned that Wall-E primarily works as Sci-Fi, and secondly as a romance, thirdly comes comedy. I don’t know if I could go as far as to actually call it a comedy, but there are hearty laughs abound. Wall-E’s curiosity is charming and often leads to a pleasantly hard to predict and hilarious result. The gags should please the young, old, and in between alike, but I’m not quite sure how young kids will react to this movie as a whole.

The opening 30 minutes is practically dialog free. We eventually gain some minor human characters who speak a little, but speech is very minimal nonetheless. The visuals are stunning and captivating, and in the right mood, a young child may be engrossed. I wouldn’t be surprised though, if a child might fidget and lose interest, at least for part of it. The more patient, thoughtful viewer will be in paradise the entire time.

Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) has crafted a masterpiece. An animated film that is not afraid to please adults first. Filled with dark undertones as well as a large dose of hope, one can experience a range of emotions during Wall-E. I was moved and haunted to an extent few movies can accomplish. Pixar has really outdone themselves by bringing us an American animated movie as thoughtful as a Miyazaki film (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke), to me that is the highest of accolades. Wall-E is, without a doubt, one of the greatest animated films of all time and perhaps one of the best Sci-Fi films as well. Go see Wall-E, it’s flawless.

18 thoughts on “Wall-E”

  1. Hear hear! Your review is spot on…this movie was incredible. I saw it twice in one week, just because I couldn’t get it out of my head. The lack of dialogue was surprisingly not an issue at all, and I was very moved by the film as a whole. 5/5 stars from me as well!

  2. This is a good review. The movie was such a smart move in the sense of entertainment and reality. It definitely painted a good ‘potential’ picture of Earth in the future while adding a soft storyline into it. I agree this movie is a masterpiece!

  3. I have always enjoyed animated movies that not only entertained, but told stories as “normal” movies do. Wall-E is the perfect example of this, and deserves to be considered one of the best movies of all time. It tackles issues such as global warming and the obesity problem in America without throwing it in your face. Then turns around and tells a beautiful story about love and the human condition, most notably through robots. I enjoyed your review immensely.
    -Parker Longbaugh

  4. Excellent review. Wall-E can be enjoyed by kids and adults as well. It touches so many topics and on another level. From the first 10 minutes of the movie you begin to fall in love with this tiny litte “can do” robot. The movie is not only entertaining for kids, but educational. Hopefully it will teach our youth how we have to change our ways now so we can have a better future. Overall I think this movie is bang on 5/5.

  5. The first 30 minutes will leave you wondering whether the film will gain excitement. Wait a little and you’ll be glad you didn’t leave yet. The movie starts to pickup once Wall-E leave what was once earth. What I liked about this movie is how it emphasized the human character. They may be born without knowledge of the past, but their thinking power shows their concern for things that matter. They are not heartless after all. Give them a little knowledge and they’ll do the right thing. Most of their decisions are actually based on this little knowledge.

  6. I loved Wall-e. I agree with your entire review. I think Andrew Stanton is the greatest director at Pixar.

  7. Wall-E is definitely one of my favorite movies. And this review was just as great. I enjoyed reading it, and agree with every word whole-heartedly!

  8. I for one agree that people should not write this movie off as another global warming flick. It’s so much more than that. The animation was some of the best i have ever seen. All in all, a good review and a pleasant read, thank you.

  9. Yea I would have to agree with the reviewer because Wall-E is an incredible movie. I was reluctant to watch this movie because i thought the lack of dialog but it made the movie work.

  10. Thanks for that great review, Adam. You’ve made me want to rewatch Wall-E. I was so surprised the first time I watched it since I was not expecting it to be such a mature, mind blowing film.
    It really makes you think about how screwed up mankind can be. And you can really feel a sense of humanity in this adorable robotic creature. Besides, the visuals are great!

  11. I agree completely that Wall-E is an incredible movie. I have always loved the Disney/Pixar films and this one was no exception. However, it is much more exceptional than most movies in this genre. It is hands down one of the most emotionally stimulating and thought provoking movies geared towards children. Mind you, most Disney movies have their two sides . The action and silliness for the children and the jokes and dialogue for the adults. No matter what portion of the film you think about, it comes across as exceptional and is worth every second of your attention.

    The review however, is not that great. It desperately needs help with grammar and spelling. Perhaps it is a language barrier but this comes across as completely unprofessional and it is a shame that you did not proof-read better or have someone help you with the grammar and spelling. Most of the ideas expressed could have been put into a review half this length. This is more of a synopsis than a review.

  12. You have a wonderful way with words and I enjoyed your review tremendously. I would disagree with the view above that it comes across as totally unprofessional, although the grammar and spelling does need tightening and proof reading would be useful. However, it is a skill that comes over time and practice, and I am always caught out on such issues despite doing it for some of my living!
    I’m with you on Wall-E, the intertextuality and style makes it for me, and I think with the amount of horrendous rom-coms out there it’s marvelous that love can be better taught by two robots with no dialog than all of them combined.

  13. I agree with your review. I got this movie for my 4 year old son and he loves it. What surprised me that I watch it over and over again with him when normally I do not watch children’s movies. Wall-E was an excellent movie.

  14. Sometimes with animated films,(dry ones)I tend to have a lessening attention span 3/4 of the way through.I was with Wall-E the entire journey.Great review, great movie.Not to mention a great message, that we should all take to heart.

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