Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by: Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon
Starring: Ben Burtt, Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver
He might be one of most lovable animated movie characters of all-time. Sorry Simba, Dori and Shrek, but this bot was built to love.
Wall-E is a classic animated tale with a different, more mindful approach, telling the story of a lone robot performing the selfless duty of cleaning up the mess on Earth while the human population is away on a 700 or so year cruise. The first 30 minutes of the film are silent and all the talking is left to the amazing animated work done by the Pixar team. It’s all an ode to the silent, comical works of Charlie Chapin, add fantastic color palettes and unique imagery which make this one film that doesn’t need 3D to be a visual masterpiece.
The beauty in what’s-left-unsaid soon ends when Eve arrives, a sort of iPod whose duty it is to find new life on Earth and return it to the ship where the humans now hail. It might be that Wall-E has been alone so long, aside his adorable pet cockroach, that Wall-E falls so fastly in love with Eve, who is oblivious to his affection. The chemistry may not be there so much as the charm is, mostly on Wall-E’s part for stalking Eve to fulfill his 50’s musical love fantasies while Eve avoids his company to perform her job. Their brief time on Earth highlights the comedy in the film and continues the beauty despite such a grotesque Earth as a backdrop.
When Eve finds something that sends her back to the human ship, Wall-E follows his love on a mission out of this world, literally. He travels to the station where humanity is once again in his hands to save. It is up to Wall-E to stand up for what humans will not, consumerism, laziness and mass culture which are rotting their own existence, a large task for a small robot.
In a way, Wall-E is taking on some large topics, and relevant ones at that, taking stabs at environmentalism and consumerism. But if that is the message it is trying to make, it does a poor job. Because in the end mankind’s fate is not controlled by their responsibility or irresponsibility, but by the heart of tin robot looking a lot like E.T. If only we could be so lucky.
Children’s films have a long history of teaching lessons to our kids. Usually they are moral lessons, about telling the truth, working hard or obeying your parents, but global consumer responsibility is a first here. Going into it any further would have really lost audiences and the story has a enough satire and comedy to really put a little fear in children for irresponsible lifestyles such as eating fast food, buying in excess, not exercising and letting technology do your work for you. Ambitious for an animated film.
Luckily, for the sake of the audience, the narrative remains strong enough to keep them engaged. There is the love story with Wall-E and Eve which is in tribute to Wall-E’s favorite 50’s films, yet to Pixar’s credit, changes the nature of the relationship to a more modern take, making Eve a powerful, career driven figure instead of the hopeless damsel in need of love to save her. It’s actually the other way around. Reserve any parallels to the Clintons.
There isn’t much to worry about. Though it is progressive and mindful, its not all that preachy, in fact it’s a pretty quiet film. Again, literally. The movie is mostly silent and lets the technically beauty do all the talking, along with Wall-E’s squeaks, skwaks and drooping binocular eyes that even without his laser for a nose, manages to melt your heart just like the story.