Monday, June 30, 2008

My Thumb Waaaaaaaaay Up: WALL•E

Voices: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver
Co-Starring: Fred Willard, Cast of Hello Dolly

I expected to like this movie; I didn't expect to love it!

In the year 2800, all earthlings have gone on an extended vacation to escape the trashed (and I do mean trashed) planet Earth. Robots, including WALL•E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter • Earth Class) units, have been deployed to clean up the mess by the same money-hungry monolithic company that caused the problem in the first place. Our hero WALL•E, the last functioning one of its kind, is essentially a mercurial trash compactor with an indelible work ethic and a circuit board of gold.

Periodically, the humans send probes to Earth with EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) robots to determine if Earth has recovered enough for their return. The main story is environmental in nature but the back story, used to give depth and human characteristics to the robots, is a classic love story between blue-collar WALL•E and intelligent "uptown" EVE.

What I Liked
• It is absolutely amazing how the animators can convey emotions with gestures and subtle visual cues. The first third of the movie occurs with hardly any dialogue.
• Great character development — from the leads to the supporting cast.
• Imaginative story that flows smoothly without any gaps in the plot.
• The nod to the indestructability of cockroaches.
• The sound effect of WALL•E when he is fully charged.
• The environmental message, although it was a bit heavy handed at times.
• The social commentary.
• Looking at the human race from an outsider's view...the spork!
• The animation is amazing. In some outdoor scenes, I found myself looking to make sure it was still animation and not the WALL•E character superimposed on film footage.
• John Ratzenberger continues his streak as the only actor to have a voice in every Pixar movie.
• The animated short before the movie, featuring magic man Presto and his hungry rabbit sidekick Alec Azam, was incredibly inventive and enjoyable. I could watch a whole movie about them!

What I Didn't Like
• It was just a tad too long. As I thought this to myself, I noticed a boy several rows in front of me get up and start fidgeting. The movie was over about five minutes later so it is longer than optimal but not by much.
• Even though they are robots, WALL•E is clearly male and EVE is clearly female.

It is rated G so pick your viewing time carefully. You may wind up with a bunch of children in the theater like I did. Although in my case the kids were either well behaved or the movie did a wonderful job of keeping their attention. I'd guess the latter. It was the adult behind me that kept kicking my chair.

This is classic Pixar. If you've liked their previous efforts, you're going to love this one. Movies that I'd consider paying money to see again get my thumb waaaaaaaaay up!


bigislandjeepguy said...

cool. i definitely wanna go see this!

cb said...

You didn't like the fact that the robots were male and female? I think they HAD to be in order to achieve the sublte nod to "adam and eve" and the re "creation" of the earth.

Did you want it to be WALL-E and stEVE?


bigislandjeepguy said...

hahaha...wall-e and steve! love it!

Y | O | Y said...

cb---I was less bothered about male/female vs male/male than I was about ascribing any gender differences to robots. It was a mild criticism, more of an observation really, since I did note it while watching. I still loved the movie and couldn't recommend it more highly!