Totall-E Awesome!…WALL-E Review

WALL-E – Starring Ben Burtt, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Garlin and Fred Willard. Directed by Andrew Stanton. Rated G. 98 mins.

WALL-E has not met another human being in his 700 years of existence. He has spent his days tottering around an abandoned planet Earth, cleaning up the skyscraper-tall piles of garbage left behind. Humanity, whose consumption grew to a level that could not be sustained on the once green planet, threw up their hands and shouted ‘we give up!’ They embarked on a five-year space voyage, during which time robots were left behind to clean up. It seems five years was a little too optimistic.

The latest entry in the Pixar stable is a modern classic – both an animated thrill ride, and a chilling tale of lost humanity. It takes the regular Pixar formula (although to call it a formula is an insult to their ingenuity), and amps it up beyond our wildest expectations. Let’s face it: each of their films have grossed around half a billion dollars. They didn’t need to challenge themselves. Thank God they did.

WALL-E is the single most adorable character that’s probably ever been on film (‘voiced’ amazingly by legendary sound engineer Ben Burtt). He’s just a simple, trash-compacting little robot whose one directive is to clean up the garbage on Earth. But even a robot can tell that not everything is garbage. Some of this stuff meant something to someone, even if it was a long time ago. So he goes about collecting treasures like lighters, Christmas decorations and even cutlery. His prized possession is an old copy of Hello Dolly, which he watches repeatedly; particularly entranced by the action of human’s holding hands. Of course, he’s all alone. He can only hold his own.

His solitary existence is finally interrupted by a sleek, iPod looking robot named EVE. Sent to Earth to find out if it can sustain life, she has little time for the swooning WALL-E’s romantic gestures. However, even she finds it hard to resist his awkward charm, and he’s soon showing her his booty (relax, I’m talking about his treasures. Geez, grow up.) Amongst them is a solitary plant, proof that Earth may be ready to welcome back humans. But are humans the same after 700 years in space?

The first half of WALL-E is some of the most amazing cinema I’ve ever seen. The opening shots of the desolate Earth are heart-stopping, and heart-breaking. This is not the kind of abandoned-Earth you would imagine in a kid’s film. WALL-E shows a more terrifying Earth than I Am Legend and Beyond Thunderdome combined. Famed cinematographer Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James) was an advisor here, and it shows. You have to see this at the cinema.

Director Andrew Stanton really shows his chops in the second half of the film, when WALL-E and EVE head to The Axiom – the spaceship that is now home to humanity. People have de-volved into fatally obese automatons. Everyone has their own floating couch, which provides them with food, drink, and I can only assume, umm, love. This is the result of the merger of corporations and government. The CEO of Buy N Large (read: Walmart) has become a President of sorts, and humanity’s existence is the result of every need and want being met to the nth degree. It’s a particularly chilling vision of the future, mainly because it’s not so crazy. On a time line of 700 years? Yeah, in fact, that seems like a pretty realistic hypothesis.

I only hope people enjoy WALL-E as much as I did. It’s the most intelligent film I’ve seen all year, and one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. Most impressive is the portrayal of the humans – they aren’t stupid, just happy their most base needs are being met. What’s most confronting about this film (yes, WALL-E is confronting), is that it is ourselves who are to blame for this futuristic hellscape. There is no big villain responsible for all this horror – it was us. Thankfully, the film doesn’t patronise us like certain other environmentally-concerned animations (cough Happy Feet cough). It’s not a condemnation of mankind – it’s a reminder of everything worth holding onto.

I’m not going to lie here, I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion during the film. Even later the same evening, when writing notes about it, I felt the same tears begin to well up again. There are images and moments in this film I will never forget, and some I wish I could carry around with me all the time, just like WALL-E and his Hello, Dolly recordings. To call this the best film of the year is a pretty big deal. To call it the best Pixar movie is even bigger. But really, that isn’t even an accurate scale to grade this film. It’s bigger than all of that. This is a work of art that is both about the importance of humanity, and PROOF of the importance of humanity.

Before I finish up, I’ve got to address a major pet peeve of my own: robot’s with feelings. It was my one apprehension before heading to see WALL-E. However, the idea of a robot developing a personality based on the ‘garbage’ of humanity is so beautiful. WALL-E represents what is most important about Earth – and exactly what was left behind. Hard-work, creativity, friendship, romance. In the end, amongst all the drama, and action, and adventure on the way to bringing people back to Earth – WALL-E is the only one who appreciates the simple pleasures. He just want’s to hold EVE’s hand.

5/5.

Check the trailer out here.

6 Responses to “Totall-E Awesome!…WALL-E Review”

  1. Not quite as good as our striped orange fish, but WALL-E comes VERY close. Nice write up. This is a brilliant movie and easily the best animated film in a decent length of time.

  2. Very well said, Simon. On my part, I desperately wanted WALL.E and EVE to talk to each other, instead of just “WALL.E!” and “Eeeeeevaaaa” Perhaps there might be deeper emotions and richer humour had the robots been able to speak.

  3. wlcvgvI have see it with my 2 sons, one of them likedit and one did not to certain degrie. I of them thought ni=t was boring in some stages, not enough action to keep i him occupayed. I personaly though it was ver well well made, you do get a few laugh’s out of it. Overall well made.

  4. yeh, i definitely understand kids enjoying it less than say, Kung Fu Panda, which has more action. but, i really encourage parents to force their children to see Wall-E, even if they don’t want to. they should set them up in the cinema like Alex from a Clockwork Orange – eyes forced open with eye drops adminstered regularly. In response to Patrick – my girlfriend felt the same way about the robots dialogue – she thought they should’ve said more.but I don’t know, I kind of liked the whole poetry of them communicating mostly with body language. made it feel a bit more real.

  5. By having them speak less it gives more imapct to what they do say and how they say it. The body language speaks volumes. It also let’s the amazing scenery and graphics do their job as part of the film. My older kids and I absolutely loved it. I can see how it would fail to appeal to the younger kids, but it’s one they’ll enjoy in time.And good call on the Happy Feet comment.

  6. I was lucky and received free tickets to see Wall E – I took my son twice – He is 4 and was totally entranced the whole way through – and I did not mind seeing it again – it was sad to see what we could and probably are doing to our planet and hopeful at the end with the recolonization going ahead. Wall-E and Eve did not need words to express themselves – words would have been too much and it would have degenerated into mush! All in all I thought the film was genius!!Thanks Pixar!

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