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WALL-E
An Aventure Beyond The Ordinar-E

Director
Andrew Stanton

Starring
Ben Burtt
Elissa Knight
John Ratzenberger
Kathy Najimy
Fred Willard

I'm starting to believe that Pixar are simply incapable of making a poor film. Give it twenty years and we'll all be screaming that they've sold out and the golden age is dead but while the current team is in place, they are without flaw.

The basic story of Wall-E can be summed up with 13 words: lonely robot meets girl, falls in love, follows her home, brings about revolution. And yet it is so much more. Set in the year 2815, the Earth has been abandoned. United under one monopoly (BuyNLarge), the corporations have finally taken over, replaced Government and completely trashed the place. The immense task of cleaning up our world has been entrusted to divisions of Waste Allocation Load Lifters - Earth Class [WALL-E for those stupid enough not to notice]. Over the centuries, the robots have slowly broken down until only one remains. Similarly, the years of isolation have eaten away Wall-E's circuits and he has 'developed' a childlike intrigue and passionate curiosity. His existence seems fairly rewarding but through short clips of Hello, Dolly! - a sixties musical that I hate - we learn that he is fully aware of his loneliness. *cue a wave of emphatic sighs from the audience* One fateful day, a ship lands and jettisons an iPod-like search probe, named EVE - naturally Wall-E instantly and helplessly falls for her. On presenting his newfound friend with a gift, EVE swallows the plant and seemingly shuts down. Wall-E proceeds to nervously care for the sealed egg until the ship returns to retrieve her. Affectionately concerned, Wall-E gives chase and follows EVE to the Axiom - a mass haven, chock-full of overweight, mind-numbed, gelatinous blobs careening about in self-serving hovering recliners.

Wall-E is a deceptively simplistic story told largely through evocative visual imagery, harnessing similar methods of visual chemistry used in silent films. More importantly than that, this film provides the perfect depiction of young love - scary, intimidating girl meets lonely innocent guy, who proceeds to charm and impress his love while working through his internal nerves and jitters. But it's not disgustingly saccharine or cutesy it's done very tastefully and at times can be truly beautiful. This film will probably go down well with kids and adults but most importantly, it's a prime example of how the art-form of cinema can be pushed and that, if you trust and challenge mainstream audiences (rather than lowering the tone and pandering to their baser instincts), you can create something truly spectacular.

I don't really have anything negative to say about this film, just a few issues to highlight. This is Pixar's first use of live-action (for those scratching their heads, it means filming real human persons instead of computer-generated people) and although I have no issue or complaint with it, I just wanted to bring it up. That's right, I intend to make a point but not fully address or analyse it. I'm comfortable with that situation and you should be too. Wall-E also offers a subtle green, tree-hugging, Earth-happy side-order message without force feeding it to you; which is a refreshing change. And finally, there were a few scenes that tugged a little too strongly on the heart strings and possibly lagged a little but these are really only minor complaints.

At the end of the day, Wall-E is more than a CGI family film about a robot, it's a re-imagining of a timeless love story about two 'people' from very different walks of life.

Release Date:
18th July 2008

The Scene To Look Out For:
The introduction to the Axiom was brilliant; it reminded me of the giggling fits I was afflicted with whilst watching (the unfortunately dumbed-down) Idiocracy. Just watching the fat humans blind to everything around them because technology has catered for everything was poignantly vindicating, I suppose. As a scrawny, London-Irish intellectual who refuses to bring his outdated mobile phone anywhere with him, I felt a smug sense of superiority - which entertained me. And of course, the child and soft, girly part of me (THAT FEW SEE AND THOSE WHO MENTION IT GENERALLY REGRET IT!) deeply enjoyed Wall-E's attempts to nurture EVE in her sealed, egg form.

Notable Characters:
I have no intention of talking about Wall-E or EVE. There. Let's just deal with that for a moment. The Captain (voiced by Jeff Garlin who actually sort of resembles his animated counterpart). Let's take another moment to deal with that. Yep, Captain B McCrea or whatever his name was. I thought he was great and as much as Wall-E and EVE's various interactions were brilliants, I loved the Captian's repartee with the ship's autopilot and his general enthusiasm for all things base and trivial about our species and common survival. That's as much justification as I'm willing to give kids. Deal with it.

Highlighted Quote:
"Time for lunch... in a cup!"

In A Few Words:
"Yet another hopelessly wonderful family film; Pixar are the new Disney"

Total Score:
9/10


Matthew Stogdon