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WALL-E Review


RATING:
(4 STARS)

Besides being one of my favorite animated films of all time, Pixar’s “WALL-E” also holds the distinction of being one of the best love stories in years. This sublime motion picture has it all—action, humor, emotion, great writing, beautiful animation, and a handful of scenes I’ll never forget. It’s just a joy to watch, and no matter how many times I see it, a big smile still comes across my face.

Hundreds of years in the future, Earth is void of organic life. Our titular hero (voice of Ben Burtt) is a robot whose job it is to dispose of the heaps of trash on our inhabitable planet. He’s all alone with the exception of an insect-like robot pet. He also collects much of the trash he sees. His home is populated with junk—spoons, boxes, trashcan lids, and an old “Hello Dolly” tape.

One day, a spaceship arrives and WALL-E encounters EVE (voice of Elissa Knight), a sleek, modern robot who is at first threatened by WALL-E. Eventually, the two strike up a conversation, and WALL-E immediately falls in love. He takes her back to his trailer, and they watch “Hello Dolly” together. But when he shows her a weed growing in an old shoe, EVE mysteriously shuts down. WALL-E tends to her, but her ship comes back to take her away. He secretly climbs aboard, unaware that he is about to embark on a journey to salvage the human race.

The first twenty minutes of the film are virtually without dialogue, but they are some of the best cinema I’ve seen in years. The rest of the film follows a more traditional adventure formula (but with more romance), and while I don’t want to take away from it, the introduction is phenomenal.

The film is a bit heavy-handed when it comes to its message. The humans are morbidly obese; they can’t even walk. And Earth is so polluted that life can’t survive. Moral of the story: Don’t pollute and exercise. The overbearing messages aren’t major problems, but more so than Pixar’s other films, I thought this one had a bit of an axe to grind.

The animation is unsurprisingly beautiful, possibly the best work Pixar has ever done in this category. Between the overwhelming browns of Earth to the bright, futuristic spaceship, it’s a very pleasant film to look at.

There’s not much to say about the film’s voice work because it’s two main characters speak with such a strong robotic twang, I’m not entirely sure how much of it is human and how much is special effects. The most recognizable human voice is that of Jeff Garlin, who voices the captain of the ship WALL-E and EVE find themselves on. And of course, Pixar regular John Ratzenburger pops up as a helpful passenger.

The reaction to “WALL-E” was more enthusiastic than any animated film since Pixar’s debut, “Toy Story.” Many cried out over its snub in the Best Picture category for 2008, and many others list this snub (in addition to the snub for “The Dark Knight”) as the reason the category expanded to ten nominees. I was among those frustrated with its exclusion as I thought “WALL-E” was one of the most magical films in years. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. But I definitely think history will smile warmly on “WALL-E.” It’s the kind of film audiences of all ages can fall in love with.

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