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Wall-E Movie Review

- 14 December 2008, 07:12

Trash and Treasure
by Betty Jo Tucker

WALL E Movie Review

WALL E Movie Review

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so the old saying goes. In WALLE, the same holds true for robots. This Pixar animated movie depicts a dismal time in the future of our home planet. But it does so with humor and heart. After being left alone — with the exception of a pesky cockroach – for hundreds of years, WALL•E, a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class unit, spends his time compacting trash and collecting objects of value to him. When a sleek search robot named EVE enters WALL•E’s world to investigate signs of plant life, these two form a whimsical relationship and end up on a wild sci-fi adventure which takes them across the galaxy. Surprisingly, WALL•E and EVE project more humanity and genuine emotion here than most human characters I’ve seen in films lately.

“We wanted the audience to believe they were witnessing a machine that has come to life,” director/co-writer Andrew Stanton explains. “The more they believe it’s a machine, the more appealing the story becomes.”

Appealing is right! The mere sight of a lonely little robot doing his work without anyone to appreciate him got to me immediately. Yes, WALL•E looks rusty and ugly – but he’s so darn determined and resourceful. While watching him sort through the trash and find objects for his collection of valuables, it’s impossible not to fall under WALL•E’s spell, mostly because of the very unusual things he decides to keep. And each time he views a romantic musical number from the 1969 movie version of Hello Dolly! on his primitive TV set, I could almost feel his enchantment.

Happily, the romance between WALL•E and EVE comes across as both delightful and amusing. They make the perfect odd couple. EVE sports a very futuristic exterior; WALL•E is clunky and dirty. WALL•E falls for EVE quicker than you can say “Space Odyssey.” EVE takes her time discovering WALL•E’s splendid attributes. When the two finally hold hands (in their own way, of course), it’s very touching indeed. Use of Jerry Herman’s song, “It Only Takes a Moment,” adds to the emotional impact of this wonderful scene. There’s no dialogue, so it’s a bit like revisiting a classic Charlie Chaplin silent film and being awed all over again.

“I was hooked and seduced by the idea of a machine falling in love with another machine,” Stanton admits. “And especially with the backdrop of a universe that has lost the understanding of the point of living.”

SPOILER ALERT

If WALLE had maintained the charm of its first half during the entire film, I would be raving about a cinematic masterpiece in this review. However, as soon as the human characters are introduced, the movie loses some of its glow. Traveling in a space ship and waiting for Earth to be habitable again, the humans are depicted as overweight, lazy, spoiled and obsessed with their gadgets. As the screen bulges with these uninspiring specimens of humanity, we can’t help feeling preached at rather than entertained. Thankfully, WALL•E saves the day, and his efforts result in a second chance for the human race. “The little robot actually teaches humanity how to be human again,” declares co-producer Lindsey Collins.

Walt Disney and Pixar deserve kudos for taking on an ambitious project like this one. WALLE excels not only in storytelling and character development but also in music, cinematography and CG animation. After seeing so much trash on the big screen recently, we finally have a treasure to savor.

(Released by Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar and rated “G” as suitable for all ages.)

For more information about this movie, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or the Rotten Tomatoes site.

Betty Jo Tucker is a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS). She  teaches an online class, “The Reel Deal: Writing about Movies” for the LSS School of Writing and has published three movie-related books including CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, an amusing memoir about her life at the movies. Betty Jo serves as the editor/lead film critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosts a weekly radio show, “Movie Addict Headquarters,” for BlogTalkRadio. She also writes monthly film commentary for the Colorado Senior Beacon.  For more information, please go to www.BettyJoTucker.com


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