Synopsis: In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.
For more info and to watch the trailer, click here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910970/
Who chose it: Both of us
Why we chose it:
Leah: I love Pixar movies- and this was one of the few I hadn’t seen.
Brent: I definitely picked it because it was time that I got around to seeing this. Probably past time, honestly.
“WALL-E” is a cleaning robot left behind on Earth to clean up the obscene amount of garbage that has ravaged Earth. While cleaning, WALL-E finds a small plant, which is the first sign of life since humans left Earth centuries ago. After an exploration robot, EVE, comes to Earth – just long enough to WALL-E to fall madly in love with her, mind you – the plot is thrust in motion as she takes the plant back to the ship that humans have called home after Earth in order to show this new sign of life.
The ship’s name is the Axiom and it is in this middle act that “WALL-E” departs so markedly from most Pixar films that come before (and after). Unlike the happy-go-lucky Pixar titans (“Toy Story”, “Incredibles”, “Monsters Inc.”), “WALL-E” shows a vision of the future that is an indictment of American consumerism. The Axiom is a space resort where humans have so accustomed themselves to utilizing their electric hoverchairs that every human is morbidly obese and physically unable to walk. They eat their foods in liquid form, served exclusively in supersized fast food cups. In one scene, WALL-E accidentally bumps a human and disables the virtual tablet display that distracted her from seeing the little robot. Her response? “I didn’t know we had a pool!”
This satire is, of course, merely the backdrop for an adorable love story. WALL-E’s time alone on Earth has given him ample opportunities to learn the concept of love from artifacts left behind by humans. One such artifact is a film reel from “Hello, Dolly” in which WALL-E observes dancing and the significance of holding hands, two tropes revisited time and again throughout the film. I simply cannot put it another way: the romance between WALL-E and EVE is one of the cutest of any film I can think of (even more than Carl and Ellie from “Up”, my favorite Pixar film).
“WALL-E” is also adventurous for an animated film. The film’s first sequence – running over ten minutes – takes place entirely without dialogue. We are introduced to the characters and this world primarily through their actions, a technique rarely used in films aimed at children. The film’s director – Andrew Stanton – publicly stated that Charlie Chaplin’s films were a large influence on “WALL-E”, which is obvious both in technique and tone.
My favorite scene is easily the beautiful “space dance” sequence between WALL-E and EVE. It’s easily a top 5 Pixar scene for me and, I think, a fitting analogy for the film itself. On its surface, it’s a love story. But if you dig deeper, you will find biting social commentary. Watching both play out beautifully is something of an impressive dance.
As an aside, the Academy expanded the number of films that could be nominated for Best Picture from 5 to 10 in 2009, just a year after both “WALL-E” and “The Dark Knight” received serious Best Picture buzz, but failed to garner nominations. Something to ponder…
There are two factors that (in my opinion) contribute to a well-made children’s movie. The first is how well it stands up to the test of time. Not only should the film still resonate and be enjoyable five, ten, twenty or more years down the road for generations of children– but for adults as well. The second factor is the movie’s intelligence. It is my belief that children don’t need a movie full of cheap jokes and bathroom humor to be entertained. Children are quite capable of watching a smart and engaging film and actually getting something out of it.
Like most Pixar films, “WALL-E” contains both of these qualities. Pixar has a knack for making films which (for the most part) appeal to those of a young age, but are smart and accessible enough for any age group. “WALL-E” has cute characters, an interesting story and enough adventure to make it an engaging watch. But Pixar doesn’t feel the need to dumb it down like other family films- I think this is one of the reasons why the studio has been so successful.
“WALL-E” is unique in the fact that it has little dialogue. Its main characters, WALL-E and EVE (who are robots) don’t say much beyond a few words and beeps. The first sequence of the film has almost no spoken lines- but somehow, it is able to capture and keep its audience’s attention with the combination of a well-crafted soundtrack and WALL-E’s hilariously adorable antics.
Some have criticized “WALL-E” for being too preachy when it comes to its overt messages about the reliance on technology and its potential hazards on the environment as well as the human race. I personally think Pixar did a great job of not hitting the audience over the head with this message, but rather presenting it in a way to get the viewer thinking (something 2012’s “The Lorax”, failed to do) and instilling the idea of caring for ourselves, others, and the planet we live on.
Pixar is known for its extremely heartfelt stories- the kind that make you ugly cry (think “Up”, “Inside Out”, “Toy Story 3”). I wasn’t expecting a movie about robots (even cute robots) to make me get so emotional. But, once again, this is something that that “WALL-E” is able to do brilliantly. Whether it’s the unrequited love and unspoken words between WALL-E and EVE or the fact that WALL-E has a soft spot for musical numbers and Rubik’s cubes- these are the things that make the characters in “WALL-E” resonate with us even though we are human and they are not.
“WALL-E” is a wonderful family film that will make you laugh, make you cry, and everything in between. What it truly captures is the indescribable, unspoken enchantment of love and the beauty we can find all around us if we just look close enough.
Up next: We’ll be watching the movie of all movies. A film that has been called the best of all time… “Citizen Kane”.
Peace out, kids.