Written and Directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Toy Story 2), Wall-E is the sixth animated film released by Pixar and Walt Disney Studios.
Over 700 years into the future, Earth has been abandoned by Humanity after the planet has become uninhabitable after Humans have polluted the planet so much with toxic gases and garbage. While Humanity waits it out onboard luxury spacecrafts they’ve left the job of cleaning up the Earth to robots, and now only one such robot remains, an adorable little guy named Wall-E (which stands for Waste-Allocated-Load-Lifter-Earth class) , who has developed one minor glitch in his isolation on Earth; he’s developed a personality. While spending his days fulfilling his duties as a trash remover and compactor, Wall-E also finds little trinkets left behind by Humans that spark his curiosity. In particular, Wall-E seems to have developed a taste for old romance films and seems to long for companionship. Then, one day Humans sends a robot to scan the soil of the Earth for evidence of plant-life, which would signal the ability for Humans to return home to Earth. Wall-E is immediately captivated with EVE (which stands for Extraterrestrial-Vegetation-Evaluator), and attempts to win her over, but when Wall-E shows her the plant sample he recently found, EVE goes into auto-mode and is returned to her ship. Wall-E, believing she is danger, follows her on an intergalactic adventure and wackyness ensues.
Filled with delightful moments, humor and spectacular visuals, Wall-E is just as exciting and entertaining as the previous five gems that Pixar has released. The amazing level of detail in the film is what will stand out the most while watching it, especially in the gloomy opening of the movie, which establishes the apocalyptic atmosphere of Earth and that of Wall-E’s daily activities trying to clean things up. He has litterally been at this for hundreds of years, and has stacked compacted trash cubes so high that he has equaled the height of the remaining skyscrapers. We see clues as to what happened, that a global corporation named Buy and Large more or less took over everything and helped spiral humanity into a sea of needless spending, waste and enivtably to rendering the planet useless. You can’t help but feel sad and depressed at what you’re seeing, because let’s face it, it’s a real possibility with the way things are going in the world today.
Accompanying Wall-E on his daily routine is a humerous cockroache, who more than once is hilariously almost run over by Wall-E. It’s a humerous nod to the old jokes about nuclear war and about the end of time, that the only things left on the planet are cockroache’s and the Twinkie snack-cakes Wall-E feeds him early on. That’s not the only wink and nod to pop-culture or classic Sci-Fi films however, the film is litterally filled with references and homages to the great films of yesteryear. Look closely (and often not that closely at all) and you’ll see references to “The Matrix”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “E.T.”, “Silent Running” and a few others as well. Homages aside, Wall-E is a tremendous treat and wonderful film to just sit back and experience. There is a child-like innocence to Wall-E and his curiosity is what makes him so compelling and (let’s face it) human. Perhaps the greatest statement that could be made about the film is the fact that 70% of it has no dialogue, just the stellar and outstanding sound effects by “Star Wars” sound editor Ben Burtt, who lent his genius to create the lovable R2-D2 and many others in those films. Burtt’s amazing sound effects, coupled with an amazing musical score and great details, serve to pull the audience in for an amazing ride, and we go along willingly and are caught up in the spectacle, even if an occassional scene seems a tad slow.
The overall themes and message of the movie is like a punch to the gut. Anyone who doesn’t feel a bit queasy after seeing this movie and thinking about how realistic its possible outcome is just doesn’t have an ounze of humanity within them. It’s ironic and somewhat depressing to witness the whole of the human race literally stuck in a mindless routine, caught up in the ruthless machine of blind consumerism, litterally sitting around doing nothing and expecting robots to fullfil there every need and wim. Humanity is literally a slave to its own creations, and has become a race of mindless, soulless, jaded and self-centered sloths who are barely aware of the world (or ship) around them. Yet, there are still robots who run around with a natural curiosity about them, a childlike innocence that the humans in the film lack. Indeed, its telling that we identify with Wall-E and many of the other robots more than we do the humans in the film. Which is saying something when you recall how little dialogue exists between the robots. It’s there actions, body-language and subtle communication that makes us love them. Who can help but love adorable little M-O when he obessevely runs around trying to clean up Wall-E’s tracks?
Wall-E may not be the greatest animated film ever produced, nor even the best Pixar film, but it reminds us that sometimes going to the movies can be (and should be) nothing more than just an enjoyable and relaxed event, one that also helps us remember what it was like to see these types of movies with the eyes of our childhood. Movies shouldn’t be these items we ceaselessly evaluate and disect, sometimes we can just be entertained. Wall-E speaks to the inner child in all of us, curious and longing for more.