Stories Of Nerdy Adventures (Now With 100% More Cetaceans)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Pixar can't seem to make a bad movie (so far). Once again they've come up with a moving and delightfully cute tale; this time with a trash-collecting robot. Wall-E is the movie's titular protagonist, one of a series of garbage-disposal robots that's been doing his job for over 700 years. The story takes place in the future where Earth has been overrun by garbage, and all the humans have long since left in spaceships.
Wall-E seems to be the only robot left still running, patiently cleaning up the mountains of garbage. He looks like a little worn-down cube with cutesy eyes and treads, and bears an uncanny resemblance to Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. He gets his power from solar panels which charges him up daily, and he gets replacement parts from other Wall-E units long since shut down across the trash-filed landscape of Earth.
Over the centuries Wall-E has developed a personality, and a sense of curiosity. During his garbage-collection duties, he sometimes finds trinkets which he likes, and he takes them back to his little hideout where he keeps his little treasures. His only companion is a little roach sidekick who lives with him and accompanies him to work. One day, a probe robot lands on Earth, a girl bot named EVE whom Wall-E takes a liking to immediately. EVE looks like a shiny Apple product, with a badass arm-cannon that looks kind of like a USB stick. EVE and Wall-E strike up a friendship, and one of his treasures hold the key to EVE's quest and to humankind's return to Earth.
The first part of the movie is done almost entirely without dialogue. In fact, the robot protagonists hardly speak at all. It's great storytelling by Andrew Stanton, and this part of the film has been praised by every film critic. Wall-E's misadventures lead him into space along with EVE, and we get to see what humanity has turned into during the long voyage out in space. The humans have become bloated, helpless baby-like creatures entirely dependent on the spaceship's automation system to survive. Wall-E, EVE and the captain of the human starship must steer the spaceship back to Earth, and free humanity from the shackles of automation. It's harder than it sounds; the spaceship is run by an intelligent robot AI that has plans of its own.
The movie has an obvious (although not heavy-handed) ecological message, and warns us of the pitfalls of the excesses of consumerism. Wall-E is an intelligent, charming and thought-provoking movie that I'd highly recommend viewing.