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WALL-E by Andrew Stanton (Director/Writer)
Review by Drew Bittner
Disney-Pixar  
Date: 29 June 2008 / Show Official Info /

Nearly 800 years from now, a lonely robot keeps plugging away at his one task: cleaning up mountains of garbage left on Earth after mankind has departed. His one companion is a cockroach, his one source of entertainment the videotape of a cheerfully upbeat musical.

Until one day...

CAST:
    Ben Burtt / WALL•E, M-O (voice)
    Elissa Knight / EVE (voice)
    Jeff Garlin / Captain McCrea (voice)
    Fred Willard / Shelby Forthright, BnL CEO
    John Ratzenberger / John (voice)
    Kathy Najimy / Mary (voice)
    Sigourney Weaver / Ship's Computer (voice)
WALL-E, Disney-Pixar's newest release, chronicles the solitary existence of a robot -- a Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth class (WALL-E, voiced by Ben Burtt, who gave auditory life to R2-D2) -- who's still doing his job, centuries after everyone else is gone. He compacts cubes of trash and builds skyscrapers of refuse, studies odd bits of junk and befriends a cockroach. At night, he watches scenes from a videotape of Hello, Dolly, recording his favorite audio bits for playback while he works, and then powers down to repeat his routine the next day.

But one day, a massive spaceship arrives and deposits a white egg-like robot. WALL-E follows, avoiding this newcomer's trigger-happy energy blast as he tries to figure out how to make contact safely. Eventually WALL-E learns that the newcomer is EVE (voiced by Elissa Knight). Her job is finding something important -- and when WALL-E shows her one of his discoveries, the trouble begins.

EVE is recovered by the spaceship, on which WALL-E hitches a ride; he refuses to lose the one friend he's made -- besides the cockroach -- in 700 years. The ship takes him to the Axiom, a star-going pleasure ship holding the refugee population of Earth. Smitten with EVE, WALL-E puts his existence on the line over and over again; he comes through in heroic style, but it will take lots of help to make right something that went wrong long ago.

Like all of Pixar's films, this movie is very strong on heart and characterization. WALL-E is a terrific character. Hardworking and diligent by day, he indulges in flights of fantasy built around a single musical. His binocular-shaped eyes are amazingly expressive, particularly when he is in pursuit of EVE, and his increasing desperation to help her leads to comedic heights.

EVE is a cool, rounded egg whose features are far less expressive, but Knight's vocalizations, especially a girlish giggle EVE develops, reveal her heart.

Amid the chases, explosions and general wackiness inherent in a Pixar production, the Captain stands out as a man whose comfortable existence is challenged and expanded by WALL-E's find.

It must be said that WALL-E is also one of the most beautiful movies of the summer, with its lush starscapes and its vision of Earth as not so much post-apocalyptic as post-biological. The landscapes are empty and sterile, with the robots toiling in or flying over cities clogged by trash and broken WALL-E units. It's quietly tragic, the beauty of the art underscoring the fact that this is a world humanity used up and then abandoned.

WALL-E is very much a movie about finding your destiny and discovering the power to achieve it. There are moments of hilarity, heartbreak and happiness -- but above all, it's a love story. And a great one at that.

Strongly recommended.


Our Readers Respond

From: Sam Lubell
    Despite being Disney (well adopted through Pixar) and animated, it's not really a kid's movie. I went with my nieces (ages 4 and 8) and most of it went right over their heads. But as a science fiction movie for adults, it's really really good.

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