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Wall-E: Post-Apocalyptic Robot Love

If there's one thing that's important to know about Wall-E, it's that it's not just a cartoon. Granted, Pixar has been making movies for a while now that are more than "just" cartoons: Last Summer's Ratatouille was as much about art and family as it was about cute rats cooking, and even Finding Nemo — written and directed by Andrew Stanton, who's also the man behind Wall-E — was a story about fatherhood that just happened to have some funny fish. But Wall-E takes that to another level. It's not an animated film — it's just a film. A wonderful, devastating, and ultimately uplifting film.

Flash ahead to 700 years in the future. Humans have evacuated Earth and are living a life of leisure on a luxurious spaceship while their former home wastes away under heaps of garbage. Left alone to clean it up is one final Waste Allocation Load Lifter — Earth Class, or Wall-E. Wall-E's mission is to scoop, compact, and stack the trash, building skyscrapers of waste. But over the years, he's developed a personality, including an affinity for Hello Dolly and a collection of treasures from the past, which he places carefully in his red Coleman cooler. His only companion is a Twinkie-eating cockroach — until the ship sends a visitor to scope out the situation.

That would be Eve, a brilliant little bot with a quick laser arm who's the instant target of Wall-E's affections. Eve is rather unimpressed with Wall-E's attempts to woo her — until he hands her a plant he found inside an old refrigerator. That clicks Eve into action: The plant signals to the spaceship above that life has returned to Earth and humans should make their way back, too. When a shuttle comes to take Eve back to the mothership, Wall-E goes along for the ride. From there, the movie branches out into several different stories: the choice the ship's captain must make to stay aloft or return to Earth; the evolution (or devolution) of humans into chair-sitting, screen-watching lumps; and, most of all, the sweet and moving romance between Wall-E and Eve. It's an ambitious film, but it works on every level. To see what I mean, just

.

Wall-E himself is a mix between E.T., Johnny Five, and Buster Keaton, and that's not a bad metaphor for the movie as a whole. There's a pointed critique of consumer culture, some sci-fi tropes, and a boatload of adorable slapstick moments. Wall-E starts bleak, with its shots of a ruined planet, its apocalyptic dust storms, and its near-wordless interactions between Wall-E and Eve, who communicate mostly in sighs and bleeps. But while Wall-E doesn't shy away from its darker portrayals of what Earth could become, it doesn't wallow in sadness, either. It may sound a warning — but the engine driving the film is a love story.

As always, Pixar gets the little details right. When Wall-E is fully charged, he lets off the same "bliiiiiing!" noise that Apple computers make upon startup. The spaceship's captain is a doofus of a character (imagine Family Guy's Peter Griffin, lazier but more well-intentioned) who's fascinated by this far-off Earth, asking his high-tech computer to define words that have become lost in 700 years in space — "soil," for one, and "dancing." One robot aboard the ship gets frustrated with having to wash away Wall-E's tire tracks; when they finally shake hands, the little bot scrubs off Wall-E's claw first.

But talking about Wall-E in segmented parts is almost beside the point. The true delight of the film is the way it sweeps you into its world with an almost frenetic energy, especially in its second half: Wall-E and Eve have to be together! Earth has to be saved! Wall-E flirts with a tragic ending, but the film rights itself and sends us away happy (especially if you stay through the credits, which continue the story in a particularly creative way). The enduring image is of Wall-E and Eve holding hands, a classic gesture that has rarely seemed so sweet.

Photos courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures


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rabidmoon rabidmoon 7 years
I have read nothing but good things about Wall-E and really look forward to seeing it. From a humour and charm perspective it sounds like it has it in spades, but it also has the more serious elements that make a movie more arresting to me. The movie plays with the paradox of humans reduced to nearly "inhuman" stuff-face-and-tv automatons while the robots turn out to be the "human" ones, with spirit and character. Its a compelling idea, and a somewhat dark one, as I hear the humans on the ship do not even chew their own food, and the "tv" they watch is endless commercials. In Wall-E, humanity has become that passive, obese and passive receptacles for consumer ends, and nothing more. Dark stuff, and food for thought, cute stories aside. Really looking forward to it.
kristyrk kristyrk 7 years
I loved every second of this movie!
juliegal juliegal 7 years
i gotta be honest, stemming from the hype and reviews i expected more. it was cute, but i was disappointed. and this is coming from a major cartoon lover and major pixar enthusiast. ratatouille, and the incredibles...those were movies that in my opinion were really something amazing. this was good and all and i'm proud of what they accomplished, but i just didn't "love" it...
raieven raieven 7 years
i loved it!! i can't wait to see it again, it was amazing! i love the little cleaning robot!
verily verily 7 years
I adored this film. I think it has displaced Toy Story as my favorite Pixar movie.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 7 years
Saw it, loved it! It truly IS unlike any other film. It's not a cartoon, I agree, but a thought provoking film, that happens to have stuff in it kids will like.
marcella marcella 7 years
Saw this movie this weekend. It was perhaps the best new film I've seen in a LONG time! It was just beautiful. Go see it now!!
haydee haydee 7 years
just saw it this morning, love it! I love the theme song Down to Earth too, I will definitely get the OST.
aistea311 aistea311 7 years
I thought the movie was amazing. As a geek I loved the small concepts like the apple "ding" and the binary keyboard when he was following Eve into the diagnostics lab. The funny thing was right when the movie was about to end, the power cut and the screen went black. I was so pissed and you know what? Over the speakers was the sound of a windows computer turning back on. My friend and I who love mac started cracking up that a windows movie system crashed:) The movie was super cute and the chemistry between Wall-e and everyone was (sorry for the cliche) out of this world. This is seriously my favorite Pixar movie following Toy Story. The movie is intended to be different from other pixar movies. You cant always have just humans and animals in the eyes of disney. You need diversity.
Aphrosette Aphrosette 7 years
I saw this movie last night and loved it. The movie absolutely had everyone captivated considering the significant lack of dialogue that is a pretty big feat! Even the many little kids in the theatre were quiet and respectful of the movie with the occasional gasp here or there. We did stay through the ENTIRE credits though and I have to say I wasn't nearly as impressed with the continuation as Buzz was. I was anticipating the "after credit scene" that seems to be a trend for movies - but it never came! I would watch some of the credits, they were cute, but you don't have to sit through all 10 min of them!
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
We went to see it last night, and it was adorable! Another great Pixar movie.
fsofield fsofield 7 years
A truly great film, Disney might get their second Oscar nod for Best Picture. And I'd even go as far to say they have a good chance of winning.
halfbakedjake halfbakedjake 7 years
Saw it. Loved it. Truly unlike anything Pixar - or few others - has done before.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 7 years
I just got back from seeing the movie...it was SOOO good.
suzpuz suzpuz 7 years
Just saw this movie and I absolutely LOVED it!!!!!!! It's so funny and yet adorable. I didn't even notice the fact that there aren't many words. I seriously might consider seeing it again! I don't remember the last time I loved a movie so much in the theater!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 7 years
Great review, Buzz. I wasn't planning on seeing this, but I may have to change my mind!
teagirl teagirl 7 years
I just saw this today! IT WAS GREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAT! I adored this film and I think people of all ages will truly enjoy it. I think i might have to go see it again! :)
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 7 years
I wasn't excited about this movie (I don't usually like wordless films or post-apocalyptic scenarios) but there are so many good reviews of this films so I think I may see it tonight. Then again, Ratatouille got amazing reviews and I thought it was just okay.
reesiecup reesiecup 7 years
it was really cute--definitely lacked the dialogue that pixar films usually have. my little brother and mom loved it too. i would recommend it as a great family film for the weekend :)
darlene darlene 7 years
Seems like a good movie
sunny1intucson sunny1intucson 7 years
This looks really good - I may just pay full price to see it!
Jessamae22 Jessamae22 7 years
this looks so cute!
stephley stephley 7 years
Please convince me Buzz - the icon is fun, but a whole movie... :makeup:
Entertainment Entertainment 7 years
Haha, stephley, that cracked me up. Don't worry, it's coming! :)
yadiet yadiet 7 years
stephley i l o v e your icon!!!!!
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New on DVD, November 18, 2008

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