Animated
 

WALL·E

Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            Ever since seeing the previews and conducting the research for the soundtrack review, I have had a desire to see WALL·E from Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios.  The main character itself is simply adorable and the message behind the film is quite poignant for a Disney·Pixar film.  Thus, on my last outing to the video rental store, I decided to rent the animated film called WALL·E.

            In WALL·E, Earth has become uninhabitable thanks to the wasteful ways of its humans.  Buy n Large, a mega corporation, has devised a way to allow humans to live off planet while they attempt to clean up the situation using Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class (WALL·E) droids.  While humans live on huge space yachts with every amenity thinkable, the clean-up process on Earth is slow going and the planet is becoming more toxic every day.  The executives at Buy n Large soon realize that they have failed and decide to abandon their project, leaving the humans living on space yachts blissfully unaware of the failure.

            On Earth, all of the WALL·E units sent to rid Earth of its mounds of garbage eventually seize up due to various problems.  All of them, that is, except one quirky and particularly resourceful WALL·E droid (Ben Burtt).  Continuing to perform his assignment daily, this WALL·E unit has definitely developed a few kinks in his programming.  For one thing, WALL·E is a collector.  If he discovers an interesting piece of trash among his pile, like a Rubik’s cube or a Frisbee, he saves it, adding to his ever-growing collection kept at his headquarters/home.  For another, he enjoys musicals, specifically a VHS cassette recording of Hello Dolly where he learns human traits and customs such as dancing and holding hands.  Thirdly, WALL·E has managed to stave off loneliness thus far by making friends with the last surviving species on Earth…a cockroach.

            One day, WALL·E’s seemingly mundane existence is shaken up by the arrival of an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (EVE), a droid sent to discover whether there is any sign of sustainable life on Earth.  WALL·E exerts every effort to become friends with the newcomer who is rather set on achieving her objective.  Still, EVE (Elissa Knight) is intrigued by WALL·E and resolves to learn a bit about him.  When WALL·E presents EVE with plant life he has found sprouting inside an abandoned refrigerator, EVE is ecstatic - her objective has been achieved.  Storing the plant within her unit, she shuts down awaiting the arrival of her ship so she can turn over this new finding to the Commander of the Axiom, one of the space yachts awaiting the moment sustainable life is discovered on Earth.

            WALL·E, reluctant to part with his new friend and believing her to have been abducted rather than retrieved, sets off to rescue EVE, leaving Earth behind.  Taken aboard the Axiom, WALL·E finds himself surrounded by hi-tech robots who wait on humans hand and foot…humans who have become a lazy race completely dependent upon computers performing every task for them while they lounge in hover chairs all day, forsaking the pools and exercise rooms in preference of computers, virtual reality and fast food.

            When EVE attempts to present her evidence of sustainable life to Captain B. McCrae (Jeff Garlin), she is thwarted by the very systems she has sworn allegiance to.  Can WALL·E and EVE find a way to present their evidence to McCrae or will Earth’s inhabitants be doomed to a useless life in space, never to learn from the mistakes of their forefathers that led to the destruction of Earth in the first place?

            Besides the cute love story between an adorably quirky robot and a sleek modern droid, WALL·E has a great deal to offer.  The first lesson taught is that we, as a society, must become less wasteful.  Our habit of tossing aside old things in preference for new and more exciting things is already causing our garbage rates to rise dramatically.  At this rate, there will be more garbage than our dumps and landfills can handle and, eventually, if this keeps up, we will end up destroying Earth just like the humans in this film.  Recycling and re-using items to their fullest are the lessons WALL·E teaches through his collecting.  Nothing is wasted in WALL·E home. 

            Another lesson taught by this film is that we must learn to rely on computers and machines less.  Our reliance on these devices to perform average daily tasks has allowed us to become a society without conscious thought - an obese society that can’t even appreciate the beauty of the world because they prefer to be hooked up to the internet over experiencing life outdoors.  In researching all the things his forefathers left behind, Captain McCrae developed a love for Earth and taught his passengers and crew to give back to their planet and marvel in agricultural growth.  In his mind, a little hard work and dedication can go a long way toward returning Earth to its former beauty.

            Such poignant messages presented in such an adorable package.  Amazing that it should take two robots to show humans how to embrace life and the world they left behind.

            The DVD version of WALL·E includes the animated short that was originally presented with the film in theaters.  Presto is about a hungry rabbit and a magician adept in pulling things out of his hat.  All the rabbit wants is his carrot, but the magician must complete his magic show.  The war of wills begins, making for a hilarious five minute cartoon short perfectly modeled after the shorts of old - very little or no dialogue and lots of laughter. There are also some documentaries regarding the making of the film and a couple of deleted scenes in addition to audio commentary by the movie’s director Andrew Stanton.

            I can’t recommend this movie enough.  This is definitely a must see for kids and adults alike, for it is this generation of humans that can stop the destruction of the Earth as we know it by taking to heart the lessons WALL·E has to teach.  A thoroughly entertaining film with some very poignant messages, WALL·E is the perfect addition to anyone’s movie collection.

 

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