Wall-E (9/10)

Wall-E is an instant classic. The minimal dialogue, grand musical score, and script that consists, for the most part, of mechanical bloops and whirrs is very reminiscent of a silent film, and you could probably watch Wall-E with only the sound effects and music playing and still get an incredibly joyous experience out of it. In their flawless manner of delivering excellent storytelling with eye-popping digital animation, Pixar has scored another homerun.

Wall-E is a small little square-robot who putters around on the Earth’s surface cleaning up garbage everywhere. The entire planet has become a deserted wasteland, and as far as we can tell, Wall-E and a little cockroach friend he meets along the way are the only two moving things that exist aside from the occasional violent dust storm that forces Wall-E to hide away in his giant bulldozing machine late at night, where he collects various and sundry treasures every day from his journeys. Pixar’s genius is attested to in the simple little gestures that endear Wall-E and make him shockingly human – such as when he finds a spork and hesitates between a fork pile and a spoon pile – unsure of where to place his newfound treasure.

Apparently humans have wasted away all the Earth’s resources and been forced to relocate to giant intergalactic ships called “Axioms” which float around while some machinery does most of the clean-up on the Earth. Wall-E is the last cleanup robot left, however, and one day a vessel arrives from outer space housing an investigatory (and apparently kind of attractive) robot named Eve, with whom Wall-E is instantly smitten. Once the robot finds a budding plant on the surface, she takes it back to Axiom, but not before a small stowaway by the name of Wall-E comes along for the ride.

At once epic and incredibly personal, Wall-E is engaging and intense, and can instantly transport you to another world merely through the visuals, yet still powerfully center you in the story around the antics of a two-foot tall rusty metal robotic box, and succeed brilliantly. The animation surrounding Wall-E is astounding – the masters at Pixar have once again managed to manipulate their visual artistry to make a tin can literally come alive, but not too obviously – Wall-E is still clearly a machine the entire time, without any cartoon eyes or appendages and only composed of glass, plastic, and metal. But Pixar’s incredible mechanics make Wall-E a modern cinematic marvel.

The story of Wall-E is fairly strong, too, but not as well scripted as last year’s Ratatouille, and that is its one big flaw. Sometimes the political commentary, though timely, is a little too heavy-handed, and even features some unrelated jabbing at the current administration, such as when a presidential figure says, “Stay the course.” Halfway through the film a conflict also seemingly erupts out of nowhere, as if the filmmakers realized they only had about an hour of film and needed to add a bunch of conflict and excitement to make it more interesting. The most powerful moments of the movie exist between Wall-E and his futuristic counterpart Eve, and when the script veers from that it suffers slightly.

Andrew Stanton, the director, also helmed Pixar’s other instant classic, Finding Nemo, and you can bet Wall-E will enjoy the same kind of fame, if not on a more heightened level. It also seems to mark a trend in their latest films, what with The Incredibles and Ratatouille, of leaning towards more mature story-telling that is designed more for the parents than for the kids. Think about it – the entire premise of the film is based around the end of the world, and yet it still manages to be incredibly uplifting, enjoyable, and positive, while remaining powerful, simple, and real. Wall-E is a wonderful achievement, and a must-see for everyone this summer.

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One Response to “Wall-E (9/10)”

  1. Wall-E totally looks like the robot from “Short Circuit”… minus the cheesy 80’s style of course

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