In Theaters. Rated G. Written and Directed by Andrew Stanton. With Fred Willard and the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy & Sigourney Weaver.
At this point, I would go to see any movie Pixar makes without any idea of what it’s about (and judging by the fact that all their movies have made boatloads of money, I’m far from the only one). They’ve raised the stakes with the last two, as movies about a rat chef or a robot living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland don’t seem particularly commercial. And though Wall-E isn’t quite as good as Ratatouille, it’s another strong showing in the impressive Pixar portfolio.
Wall-E is a story about the last working robot on Earth hundreds of years after humans have abandoned it, going about his work compacting the trash we’ve left behind. However, Wall-E has taken it upon himself to collect artifacts he’s interested in, and along with his cockroach buddy, has managed to make a nice living space. He is particularly taken with a tape of Hello, Dolly! (which I had to look up, I did not recognize it at all) and the idea of finding someone to hold hands with. Hey, it’s a kid’s movie, what do you want?
His world all changes when a spaceship lands, dropping off another robot, Eve, whose directive is “classified.” Wall-E follows her around trying to ingratiate himself, and when she goes back home, he follows on a quest that takes him to a spaceship where humans are now living.
As you might be able to tell, it’s definitely much more of a kids’ movie (despite the sort of adult theme of a barren Earth) than Brad Bird’s two entries, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. Stanton is responsible for Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. and this fits in the same type of mold, though with a romantic theme. As a result, though I really liked it and enjoyed watching it, it doesn’t carry the same resonance as Bird’s.
What does make Wall-Edifferent from any of the other Pixar films is the opening sequence, which is almost entirely visual, and that the two main characters have barely any dialogue. Up until the final act, there’s very little dialogue overall (hence the lack of a quote above the picture), and there aren’t many action sequences. Despite this I was never bored and I felt like the movie breezed by.
Wall-E is such a great main character and it’s amazing how they can make a rusty box robot into a lovable cute character. It just proves that it’s all in the eyes — and Wall-E has wonderfully expressive eyes. Eve looks kind of like an egg-shaped IPod or something else slick Apple would make but Stanton eventually gives her enough of a personality that you root for Wall-E to end up with her.
I wasn’t a huge fan of using live-action in the movie (all in video form) — I thought it was a little out of place. Also, the secondary conflict which drove the plot and created the antagonists wasn’t too interesting and took away from the Wall-E/Eve storyline which was far superior. Not to mention, the scenes with all the fat people were not particularly appealing.
Wall-E is a very cute movie and up to the usual Pixar production standards. It’s a great family or date movie, but I certainly wouldn’t go see it with my guy friends. It’s just not that type of movie at all, which I guess I could say for all the non-Brad Bird Pixar films. Just for the hell of it, here’s a off-the-cuff ranking of all the Pixar movies…the #1 is well above the rest and the bottom 2 are a level below the middle 6, though I like all of them.
1. The Incredibles
3. Toy Story
4. Monsters, Inc.
6. Finding Nemo
7. Toy Story 2
9. A Bug’s Life