Monday, June 30, 2008


Movie: WALL-E

MPAA Rating: [G]

Mod-Blog Rating: 5 out of 5

The Short Version:

Pixar's newest film stars the last robot on an abandoned Earth, who is given the chance to find love, friendship, and the path to save the very human race. The film is well-made with amazing visuals and a strong story. But it is really the characters which make this film work, especially WALL-E himself. The film is strongly reminiscent of Forrest Gump in its central theme that if you put love, loyalty, and sweetness first, you don't need great intelligence to do the right thing and make a big difference. The only downside of this film for some may be its implied environmental and poiltical messages, which I did not find problematic at all. Highly recommended and safe for children of all ages.

The Long Version.

Pixar took a BIG chance with their newest movie WALL-E, by creating a film where the first 1/2 hour to 45 minutes has almost no dialogue in any normal sense of the word. WALL-E is the last robot of a fleet of them designed to clean up a garbage-strewn Earth, in order to prepare it for the return of the human race. Having been alone for eons, the little robot has exceeded his original programming and grown a personality... a personality which is desperately lonely. The long stretches without music or words could have been grating in a lesser film - I am reminded of some of the Benji films from my childhood - but works well because of strong character work on the part of WALL-E. The trailers and teasers you have probably seen are excellent but still don't really scratch the surface of how adorable and captivating this little droid is.

The first act ends when WALL-E is visited by a probe from long-lost humanity out in space. The probe itself - a far more advanced droid named EVE - shows a little personality of her own, and soon WALL-E is following her all over trying to establish a connection... a friendship. Strong emotions on the part of both are shown clearly without words, mouths, or even human eyes to work with, showing the depth of Pixar's animation skill. And when EVE leaves the planet to race back to humanity with important news, WALL-E tags along on a voyage of exploration, danger, and discovery where he eventually saves the human race.

I was most stricken by the fact that WALL-E's closest cousin movie-wise has to be Forrest Gump, which is the story of a man of severely low intelligence who manages to make himself great thru upholding simple values. One of WALL-E's messages is clearly the same. WALL-E is not a profound thinker - he barely understands the larger world around him. But he has a fundamental core of love, loyalty, and sweetness which carries him thru the plot in a logical way. Even his final act of heroism is done not out of a sense of dedication to a higher ideal, but for the love of EVE.

This is a film that I think everyone in the family can enjoy. It has a sweet innocence for the kids and higher concepts for the adults. In fact, an underlying political message about the environment and our couch potato culture are the only things which some may find grating. But the story is not preachy and thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended.

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