Plot: In the distant future, Earth is no longer able to sustain life and the planet is abandoned with only a few garbage collecting robots left behind. Wall-E is one such robot. Having spent the last 700 years alone, Wall-E is more than a little lonely, with his only companionship coming from a cockroach, and an old videocassette copy of the film HELLO DOLLY! One day, Wall-E spots a probe robot named Eve, who’s been sent to the surface to collect soil samples. Wall-E becomes infatuated with Eve, and eventually the two fall in love. When Eve’s mission is accomplished, she’s recalled to her home base, which is a giant spaceship housing the remnants of the human race. Determined to rescue his lady love, Wall-E hitches a ride with Eve’s ship, and embarks on an adventure which may lead to the salvation of mankind.
Review: Ladies and gentlemen: believe the buzz! WALL-E is a bona-fide, all out masterpiece. While I expected the film to be good (Pixar studios has never really produced a bad film), I had no idea that I’d be watching probably the most profound sci-fi film to come out since 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Yes folks, it’s that good!
The trailers for the film, while cute, don’t even scratch the surface of this surprisingly complex film. The first forty minutes of the film are very Chaplin-esque, with Wall-E acting as kind of a robotic “little tramp” character using very little dialogue. While I adored the first part of the film, for me it really kicked into high gear once Wall-E ends up on Eve’s spaceship. While there he encounters humans for the first time, and this is where the social critique, and more complex part of the film begins. Humans of the future have basically de-evolved into morbidly obese, chronically lazy, life forms due to over-reliance on machines to carry out even the simplest of tasks. In the future, people don’t even walk. They float around on little levitating beds with built in computers. Basically the rampant materialism and consumerism of mankind leads to it's downfall. The film presents a pretty frightening view of the future, and really hammers home the fact that as a culture- we need to be more active, and less focused on comfort.
Of all the humans- Jeff Garlin has the most substantial role, as the slovenly captain of Eve’s ship who gradually comes to acknowledge the shallowness of mankind’s existence in the future. Compared to them Wall-E & Eve are the true individuals, and their love story is surprisingly touching. It also has to be said that Wall-E is one seriously cute robot and every time he did something cute or tried to talk, girls in the theatre would coo “awwww”, or “he’s soooooo cute!”. At one point in the film, Wall-E gets hurt, and I could hear people in the theatre (adults, not children) sobbing uncontrollably. I honestly haven’t heard this many people sob since I saw THE NOTEBOOK.
Social critique aside, Wall-E despite its surprisingly heavy subject matter, is still an incredibly fun, and touching film. It’s perfect family entertainment as it’s one of the few films that I’ve seen recently that truly has something for everyone. Kids (and many adults) will like the cute gags, while more serious audience members will appreciate the deeper aspects of the film’s story line.
It’s also worth noting that WALL-E is also quite visually stunning and if at all possible, try to catch it projected digitally. You’ve really got to hand it to the folks at Pixar. They put together a damn good product and WALL-E is destined to be a classic. I wouldn’t be surprised if the film gets an Oscar nod for best picture; it’s certainly worthy.
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