WallE: a review

You can certainly check out the reviews in today’s Register and LA Times, but WallE from Disney and Pixar is not your standard Pixar summer flick.  I suspect our friends on the right wing side of the aisle will soundly criticize the movie on a number of fronts.

The film is set 700 years in earth’s future.  The globe is awash in waste and rubbish and the planet is no longer inhabited by humans who are all on a massive spacestation cruise ship.  WallE, a small robot that compacts and stacks trash, is working to clean up a dirty world.  Sine we’re led to believe that WallE has been working for 700 years (solar batteries and lots of broken WallE’s around for replacement parts) and the city he toils in is still filthy.  The humans, who were supposed to be in space for five years while a giant corporation (think Halliburton) cleans up the planent for their safe return, have been is space for several centuries and simply don’t know what “Earth” is anymore.

But the clean up goes badly and the planet abandoned with no sign of organic life.  Somehow, the company forgot to shut WallE off, and WallE collects items in the trash and brings them back to his “home” where he watches old videos of “Hello Dolly” and clearly longs for humanity beyond his machine shell.  Enter EVE, a probe from the mothership seeking signs of organic life on Earth.  WallE is smitten and shares with her a plant he has discovered growing in the trash.  The plant becomes a critical element in the film as it is proof that the Earth can be inhabited again.

I’m going to leave it there, because I’d hate to spoil the rest of the flick for you.  But there are many moments that are light hearted, warm and funny. WallE displayed considerable humanity in his robotic shell and his love for EVE opens her programming to a new level of caring in an artificial intelligence-based machine. 

The movie is dark.  Its depressing to think this could be the fate of our planet. There’s a powerful environmental message and a powerful anti-ignorance to education message that knocks the pro-consumption society the future holds. 

The first view of the space ship’s massive shopping malls reminded me of President Bush’s post 9/11 urging of Americans to “keep shopping.” The Humans have grown fat, lazy and have chronic ADD.  I’m sure you’ll read some particularly negative reviews from the right wing on WallE.

In spite of its darkness, I think its one of the most powerful films to be made from Pixar and Disney.  I saw it Saturday; nearly a whole week later, I’m still thinking pf the message behind the film.  My 8 year old got it immediately.  “We need to save the planet,” she said.

  18 comments for “WallE: a review

  1. June 27, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for posting this Dan, I probably wouldn’t have gone to see this otherwise, but now will definitely try.

  2. June 27, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    This plot would be more interesting if:

    1. Al Gore didn’t inspire it.

    2. They didn’t rip off the concept and appearance of ‘Number 5′ concept from the movie ‘Short Circuit.’

    3. They didn’t rip off the humanity of Robin William’s robot-to-human character in ‘Bicentennial Man,’ which of course ripped off Data from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’

    Wall-E may be a cute movie for kids that may not be ready to see these other movies and shows, but really, it’s been done to death.

    SMS

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    June 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    1. He didn’t.
    2. Much smaller robot; designed for a different purpose
    3. This is a completely different concept than that awful movie

    I disagree; this was a very different movie with a message. I left out a lot of the plot to not give spoilers.

  4. June 27, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Dan -

    I’ll take your word for it. Like I said, it does look adorable.

    I hope you’re not saying that Bicentennial Man was an awful movie. I thought it was incredibly thought-provoking – almost esoteric in nature, much like another Williams flick ‘What Dreams May Come.’

    ‘Short Circuit’ on the other hand is a matter of taste. I thought it was cute when I was kid.

    SMS

  5. June 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I’m so looking forward to seeing this. Charlotte, my daughter and Marie, my mother are taking me to see this on my birthday on Tuesday. Charlotte told Grandma that “Mommy is taking me to see Wall-E, you can take me to see Kung Fu Panda”. Oh that little girl.

  6. Steve Williams
    June 28, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I wonder.. did Sarah actually see the movie?
    I saw it.. twice. I thought it was great, so did the kids.
    You know, there are only 12 notes in the musical scale, and one could argue every single piece of music from the 1600s on is just a copy of another one. Even if it is a copy (which it is NOT) Wall-E was leaps and bounds better than anything like it before. I notice on Rotten Tomatoes site, out of 127 reviews, only 5 are negative, and of those 5 negative ones, only one seems to be a legit one, by someone of any standing. The others seem to be right-wingers (like the Moonie-owned Washington Times) bent on bashing anything that doesn’t fall in line with their political agenda (or even hint that there might be another way).

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    June 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Steve – she likes to argue with me. Idon’t think she saw it when she wrote her comment unless she hit a matinee. But while I liked WallE, it is much darker than other Pixar films. Al Gore didn’t inspire it as the Earth is awash in garbage. No mention of global warming. I found it amazing how an animated robot could project so much humanity with so little dialog

  8. Paul Lucas
    June 28, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Sounds like some elements of Silent Running. The emotion conveyed by those robots was done with all sounds and lights.

  9. June 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    No, I didn’t see the movie and I didn’t need to in order to just point out that the plot has been done and so has the robot. Of course, I also said that I will see it. Maybe you boys need to scroll up.

    SMS

  10. June 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Sarah,

    Sorry, but I did scroll up and read and re-read your posts. I didn’t see anything that said you will see it. The closest I got was “I’ll take your word for it.” which seems to imply that you had not seen it, but does not imply that you *will* see it. Please show me what I missed.

    Thanks,
    Gary

    P.S. I liked Bicentennial Man as well.

  11. plato
    June 29, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Sara it’s pretty lame to criticize (or say as the best ever) a movie you have never seen.

    It would be like me calling you extremely beautiful our a fat hairy toothless beast.

  12. just...asking?
    June 29, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Dan,

    I took 4 kids to see this movie and we all enjoyed it very much. Pixar does a great job of giving human characteristics to characters. They did a good job again with this movie.

    The message was a bit lost on the younger kids (under 7) but hit home with 12 year olds. My daughter thought B & L reminded her of COSTCO but I explained it was more in the vane of WalMart.

    Talked to the kids after the movie and the things they remembered was the relationship between the robots, they thought they behaved more human. The thing that scared them was the out of shape humans.

    The harm to the environment message was picked on up by the adults, but seemed so very obvious to the kids (thankfully).

    Of all th Pixar movies we found this to be the darkest and a bit lacking in action, that said we still liked it and so did the rest in our sold out screening.

  13. Juan Carlo
    June 29, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Not to be a complete geek, but Bicentennial Man the movie is based on a novella of the same name, by Isaac Asimov. Data from Star Trek is an *homage* to Asimov’s robot stories — eg, Data had a ‘Positronic Brain’.

    I thought WallE was great. It had me thinking of ‘Silent Running’, also. I guess I don’t get the Al Gore connection, and I thought the movie was apolitical.

    I would recommend staying through the credits…

  14. Derrick
    June 30, 2008 at 1:04 am

    I loved the movie and thought it was very intelligent and moving. but i would like to clear one thing up. this reviewer puts all right-wingers into the same category of hating the environment. I personally am a “right winger” and I think that conservation and eco-friendly technology is the way of the future and i fully embrace it. but i think most conservatives have a misconception that liberals want to stop progress for the sake of the environment. and that most liberals have the misconception that conservatives all hate the environment, and only care about money and big business. i think it would be to our advantage to give each other the benefit of the doubt. I live in a green built home, i recycle, i buy organic foods and consumables, i dont drive a hybrid but i get about 35mpg. but i usually bike or walk for shorter trips. i think that conservatives need to realize that the environment is in need of help, and i think that liberals need to realize its still fixable.

  15. Leftisim
    July 1, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Wall-E was a bunch of regurgitated liberal diarrhea spewed forth from the leftist media juggernaut. Cleverly disguised propoganda, yet ironic in the fact that they show infants beeing spoon fed the exact same propaganda in the film, yet pixar remains oblivious to the fact that they are doing exactly what they portray as a evil deed. A complete waste of money and time.

  16. Rose Ann Taht
    July 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Shame on you Pixar and Disney for your depiction of overweight people in such a negative way. The movie suggested to me that they are the reason for trash pile up. How about you? Who lives in Mcmansions? Who drives the biggest SUVs? Who is responsible for throwing away very good usable items? It is usually the wealthy not overweight people! Somehow you needed to make a film that does not denegrate particular people. Perhaps this was not your intention but that is what I got out of it. Overweight people suffer enough in this society of perfection! I am sure you think I am overweight but I am as skinny as they come but think the world is cruel to people who don’t follow the so called “society norm.” What about kids who see this film who are overweight! Again shame on you!
    Rose Ann Taht

  17. Dan Chmielewski
    July 1, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    actually Rose, if you recal the scene showing the succession of the ship’s captains, you would notice that the weight gain happened over centuries largely due to human inactivity. An omission in the story is the human race was promised a return to earth in year 5; so by year 6, 7 or 8, there should have been some good old fashioned outrage. That never came through in the story

  18. Rose Ann Taht
    July 1, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Dan,
    All that will be lost on kids! Overweight people are discriminated against terribly! Lets be honest about that. This movie has joined that forum.
    Rose Ann

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