Film review: WALL·E (2008), directed by Andrew Stanton
In the future, humans have deserted the Earth in giant, luxury star cruisers, because it was too polluted and full of garbage everywhere to support life. This we learn through some B&L brand commercials that come on occasionally, which feature the only non-animated character in the whole film (played by Fred Willard). Behind them, humans left a crew of WALL·E robots, to tidy the place up a bit, so that in five year’s time, humans can return to a much nicer environment.
Five years turned into 700, and the only robot still left out there, is WALL·E (“voiced” by Ben Burtt), who is still hard at work. His only companion, and the only sign of life, is a cockroach. One day, a space ship lands, and deposits a shiny, sleek, white robot, who flies around scanning the environment, and occasionally shooting at anything that moves. She calls herself EVE (voiced by Elissa Knight), and she absolutely won’t hold hands with the old rust bucket of a droid that is WALL·E, but he persists.
He even takes her back to his place, where he shows her his most recent treasure – a little, green plant. EVE grabs the plant and shoves it inside a compartment, and goes into complete lockdown mode with only the symbol of a green leaf blinking on her, leaving WALL·E perplexed. When the spaceship returns for her, he tags along and finds himself with a whole number of other robots, as well as the humans … who are busy sitting in hover chairs watching TV all day every day and have forgotten pretty much everything else.
Can WALL·E rescue EVE, from whatever she needs rescuing from? Why is the plant so significant? And will the humans ever get off their back sides and return to Earth?
Also stars the voice talents of Jeff Garlin as the Captain, John Ratzenberger as John, Kathy Najimy as Mary and Sigourney Weaver as the ship’s computer.
Yesterday, I reviewed Logan’s Run, in which humanity have locked themselves inside a bio dome in the 23rd Century and live there blissfully unaware of everything else … much like humanity in this Disney/Pixar animated film, except you won’t see Logan’s Run hailed on IMDb as the 55th best film ever made. There’s a reason for that. Logan’s Run isn’t a particularly good film, whereas WALL·E is nothing short of amazing.
Not only is a great story of friendship and love, but also one of corruption, of keeping the mindless public ignorant, of fighting for what’s right and all the while carrying an important environmental message. To accomplish this with what is mainly just a load of beeps and whistles is impressive. The only truly spoken words are those in the B&L ads, until the two robots come aboard the space cruiser.
It’s a heartwarming and very touching film, and I really hope we don’t end up messing up the planet in the way humanity did in the film, although you do wish that people would switch off their television sets every once in a while and go outside and smell a flower and enjoy the sunshine and the sound of chirping birds.
We can argue about anthropomorphic robots that fall in love are highly implausible and all that, but let’s not bother. It’s meant to be cute, not necessarily realistic, and it works. Oh, how well it works. As you’d expect from Disney and Pixar, it has funny moments, but the humour is not the important thing here, it’s more of a nice by-product.
Absolutely brilliant piece of film. 5 out of 5 lido decks.