Anthony's Film Review

WALL-E (2008)

WALL-E explores a new frontier and still maintains the charm of Pixar...

At this point, Pixar Animation has established an excellent track record with its computer-animated films. It's no surprise that WALL-E is another excellent addition to their library. If you are a filmmaker with a formula that works every time, it's natural to keep delivering it. Ever since Toy Story, Pixar has given us lovable characters who explore universal themes and make us laugh, cry, or do both. Still, you need a little originality to surprise us. WALL-E succeeds with both the basic Pixar formula and a few new steps.

WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth-Class) is a trash-compacting robot on an unpopulated waste-filled Earth. The human race has moved to the Axiom, a spaceship that sustains life and provides everything they need to be happy. Back on the ground, WALL-E's job is to compress trash into cubes and build new skyscrapers. WALL-E is actually one of many WALL-E units made by a corporation called BnL (Buy N Large), whose mission is to clean up the Earth and to keep the Axiom running.

This is the kind of situation I think of as I've become more environmentally conscious: have a robot clean up the trash so we don't have to. That's assuming the robot blindly follows all orders. But WALL-E isn't like that. He is a curious little robot, examining the objects he picks up and collecting them for his little home. One of his favorite possessions is a copy of the 1969 film Hello, Dolly!, which he watches frequently for a specific song and dance scene. Then we see that WALL-E is a lonesome robot. (By the way, Hello, Dolly! is presented as real live-action footage, a first for Pixar. You will also see live-action mixed with CGI in two scenes with Fred Willard as Shelby Forthright, the CEO of BnL.)

Then a ship lands, and a shiny robot named Eve comes out. WALL-E falls in love with Eve, although she does have a deadly ray gun. Then it becomes our turn to be curious. We wonder why Eve has come down to Earth and what her purpose is. It takes quite a while before we find out. Our curiosity of the humans in the movie is also satisfied when WALL-E makes his way up to the Axiom. There, we see that everyone is transported entirely by automated chairs and has every need provided by servant robots. You might think this is heaven, but if you consider our real-life environmentally destructive, sedentary, indulgent lifestyle, this is actually a vision of what we may become.

This is where the movie also steps into new territory. Prior to WALL-E, Pixar's films have explored timeless themes, relevant to people now and people living two centuries from now. This time, we have a Pixar film that is released in light of concerns for global warming and obesity. Whether the kids care about this is not important, because even if you ignore these issues, the movie is still quite heartwarming with the romance between WALL-E and Eve and the changes that the humans make to their lives. It's not one of those funny Pixar movies, but the charm is there.

But if there is one thing that makes WALL-E a winner, it's the main lesson underlying the robot romance and the environmental message. If you want happiness, you don't need to look far. It's all around us, even in the most simple things in life.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about WALL-E, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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