Rather than dealing with all the garbage our consumer society is amassing, imagine if we decided to just give up and set up shop on intergalactic cruise ships instead? We could sail the galaxy, play virtual golf, and have our every whim catered to by a fleet of adorable robots. We could eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and second dinner out of slurpy cups. Our constant need for socialization could be satisfied through video chatting, conveniently placed on eye-level screens attached to our hovering lay-z-boys. Life would be nothing but relaxation and gossip. Would we forget independence? Probably. Would we get fat? Most definitely. But who cares? It’s paradise! Welcome to the world WALL-E rolls into when he follows the love of his life, EVE (Elissa Knight), into space.
The Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class, or WALL-Es, are tasked with cleaning up a planet buried under so much trash it makes a hoarder’s den look like a vegan’s cheese drawer. The trash is piled higher than skyscrapers and wider than city blocks. In fact, there’s so much of it, most of the WALL-Es died on duty. What keeps our WALL-E going, aside from a strict daily routine, is the chance of finding treasures in the trash, whether they’re Rubik’s cubes, garden gnomes, or egg-beaters. What turns WALL-E’s life around is the day EVE (the Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) comes to Earth on a classified mission. She and WALL-E cross paths, he is totally smitten, and he proceeds to woo EVE as best he can. His trump card is showing off his vast collection of items, one of which is a rare, living, plant. As soon as EVE sees the plant, however, her programming takes over, she snatches it into her chest compartment, and she goes into a sort of robot-coma, much to WALL-E’s distress. It isn’t too long before an automated ship returns to collect EVE (and WALL-E the castaway) and return her to the humans in space. The discovery of life on Earth means it is safe for the humans to go home. The question is will they want to? After 700 years of lounging pool-side, are they ready for a non-automated lifestyle?
Aside from being a blaringly obvious warning against consumerism and our Siri-addicted lifestyles, WALL-E is just too cute for words. Really – no words. The ‘voice’ of WALL-E is like the ‘voice’ of Star Wars’ R2-D2, and in fact was designed by the same Ben Burtt. This isn’t a movie you can follow as it plays in the background because it’s mostly sound effects, one-word dialogue, and musical accompaniment. Putting it on and walking away will leave you listening to a plot of beeps, violins, and electric-motors. Still, the lack of dialogue doesn’t make the movie any less captivating. It’s incredible how Pixar can give a box of metal so many emotions. WALL-E has personality, feelings, a singing voice, and is useless before his morning pick-me-up. He is curious, simple, and adorably innocent. The humans’ mission is to re-colonize Earth. WALL-E’s mission is to hold EVE’s hand. Awwwwww.
The animation is clean, colourful, and very… well… animated. Since there’s hardly any dialogue, the plot needs to be driven by visuals, and yet it never drags, you’re never confused about what the robots are ‘feeling’, and there are even moments when you can almost smell the garbage dumb that is Earth. The Pixar team has done it again..
There is a strong message here to get up, be proactive, and embrace the unconventional. WALL-E teaches the viewer to look away from their screens every now and then (ironically conveying said message through our screens) and embrace the hard work that makes life worth living. The Captain (Jeff Garlin) takes a page out of Braveheart, saying, “I don’t want to survive! I want to LIVE!” He encourages his overweight, lazy crew to stand on their own two chubby feet (quite a challenge indeed) and fight against their clueless, dependent society. It’s inspirational, it’s comedic, and it’s satirical. WALL-E is as charming as it is enlightening, and it’s perfectly deserving of an 8/10.
Watch the trailer.