Movie Review: WALL*E

Can Pixar keep batting 1000? Or will WALL*E fail to meet…oh who are we kidding?

WALL*E

Written & Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring

Ben Burtt as WALL*E/M-O
Elissa Knight as Eve
Jeff Garlin as Captain
Fred Willard as Shelby Forthright
John Ratzenberger as John
Kathy Najimy as Mary
Sigourney Weaver as Ship’s Computer

Full IMDB Listing

Buy Soundtrack from Amazon.comBuy Soundtrack from Amazon.ca

Summary

What if mankind had to leave Earth, and somebody forgot to turn the last robot off? After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL*E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realize that WALL*E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL*E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets an adventure into motion. Joining WALL*E on his journey across the universe is a cast of characters including a pet cockroach and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots.

Review

WALL*E. You’ve seen him advertised everywhere. Is he as fun for a full length feature as he is in commercials? Definitely.

The latest offering from Pixar goes where no Pixar film has gone before, outer space. And you’ll love just about every minute of it (and your kids will as well). At times, it lacks subtlety, but it has a good message at its heart. The robots are far more entertaining than the humans, thankfully they get the lion’s share of screen time. WALL*E is definitely a character for the ages. Charming and lovable.

High Points

  • Space ballet (yeah, I’m a hopeless romantic)
  • The Misfit Robots
  • WALL*E exploring trash
  • WALL*E’s collection
  • WALL*E rescuing…Oh hell. Every scene that little trash compactor is in.

Low Point

  • Has all the subtly of a tactical nuke.
  • The beginning is incredibly bleak. A lot of kids were shifting around in their seats waiting for the movie to “get underway.”

The Scores

Originality: The story feels borrowed from about a half-dozen other sources, but still remains fresh and inviting. That, and WALL*E has an uncanny resemblence to a certain 80’s robot. 5

Effects: Um. It’s Pixar. Anyone not going with full marks is a stunning moron. This movie looks great. All the time. 6

Story: The boy chases girl plot is funny and interesting, but the whole humanity has lost its humanity bit wasn’t. I guess maybe I lack the sympathy for people like that in real life, let alone fiction. 4

Acting: Ben Burtt is a genius. He does for WALL*E what he did for R2-D2. That, combined with some superb animation pulls every little emotion out of that hunk of junk. The voice acting is good, but pales compared to the robots. I love the sick little in-joke about having Sigourney Weaver as the Ship’s Computer. 5

Emotional Response: The movie is touching and when it comes down to WALL*E and EVE (and the other robots). He’s a genuinely lovable character. The remainder of the cast (ie humans) aren’t nearly as enjoyable or lovable. In fact, you’re really hard-pressed to feel any empathy at all. 4

Production: Um, yeah. Pixar. Remember? 6

Overall: It’s a great movie and another home run for Pixar. 5

Total: 35 out of 42

Honorable Mention

Pixar brings back the animated short before their feature film. The latest is Presto and it’s insanely funny. Harkens back to the old Warner Brothers cartoons.

12 replies on “Movie Review: WALL*E”

  1. chad says:

    Fast
    Thanks for getting this review posted quickly.

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  2. lunadude says:

    Pixar’s Shorts
    The Pixar shorts are the new "Warner Brothers" cartoons. Funny stuff, and with no dialog! I think I saw Jay Ward as consultant on this.

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: Pixar’s Shorts

      The Pixar shorts are the new "Warner Brothers" cartoons. Funny stuff, and with no dialog! I think I saw Jay Ward as consultant on this.

      Presto was awesome!!! You’re right they absolutely nailed the feel and timing of the classic Looney Toons!!

  3. gyvrix says:

    Sigourney Weaver joke
    What’s the in-joke about Sigourney Weaver? I know she voiced Planet Express Ship once and mirrored the computer in Galaxy Quest, but I don’t get the "sick" part.

    • theangrymob says:

      Re: Sigourney Weaver joke

      What’s the in-joke about Sigourney Weaver? I know she voiced Planet Express Ship once and mirrored the computer in Galaxy Quest, but I don’t get the "sick" part.

      Go watch Alien. Sigourney’s character has a few issues with the ship’s computer, Mother.

  4. rickyjames says:

    The Future of Live Action Is Bleak
    WALL*E is an amazing, amazing film. One of these days real soon now Pixar is going to try their hand at a "regular" movie with "normal" human actors and create S1m0ne for real, and it won’t be a crappy second-rate flop with Al Pacino either. That is going to be an interesting time for Hollywood.

    As for this film, holy cow, instant classic all the more amazing because it is G rated. How interesting that the key to making this classic was to leave all cynicism behind (the elements of which is how you ultimately get a PG or PG-13 or R rating, after all) to create something so moving that as you say has all the subtlety of a tactical nuke.

    I repeat here for compare-and-contrast purposes my last comment in the New Classics discussion from a few days ago, about Snow Crash:

    "Rorty’s Achieving Our Country uses Snow Crash as an example of modern culture that "express the loss of what he [Rorty] calls "national hope"…the problem with Snow Crash is not that it isn’t true – after all, it’s a story – but that it isn’t inspirational." This lack of inspiration is offset by something else Snow Crash and other works like it offer: "These books produce in their readers the "state of soul" that Rorty calls "knowingness," which he glosses as a "preference for knowledge over hope"; this preference for knowledge "contribute to a more fundamental failure to appreciate the value of inspiration – and hence of literature – itself."

    If hope and inspiration is the key to literature, WALL*E is justifiably right there beside Shakespeare. Great movie. Go see it today.

    • vanyel says:

      Re: The Future of Live Action Is Bleak

      How interesting that the key to making this classic was to leave all cynicism behind

      The view of humans of the future wasn’t cynical???

      Another high point for me was the use of The Blue Danube and the look of Auto (an almost certainly deliberate attempt to mimic a certain other Computer Gone Bad Because He Got Conflicting Instructions), but I have to confess, even I started to feel the lag at the beginning, even though I liked it…

      • Fez says:

        Re: The Future of Live Action Is Bleak

        How interesting that the key to making this classic was to leave all cynicism behind

        The view of humans of the future wasn’t cynical???

        Another high point for me was the use of The Blue Danube and the look of Auto (an almost certainly deliberate attempt to mimic a certain other Computer Gone Bad Because He Got Conflicting Instructions), but I have to confess, even I started to feel the lag at the beginning, even though I liked it…

        Aside from resembling the obvious one you mention, and looking rather obviously like a classic ship’s wheel, I thought it also bore a resemblance to "Max", the ship’s computer in Flight of the Navigator (Closest I could find to a picture of it on short notice was here)

      • J_W_W says:

        Re: The Future of Live Action Is Bleak

        Another high point for me was the use of The Blue Danube and the look of Auto (an almost certainly deliberate attempt to mimic a certain other Computer Gone Bad Because He Got Conflicting Instructions), but I have to confess, even I started to feel the lag at the beginning, even though I liked it…

        I was so waiting for "Daisy…. Daisy…" when Auto was finally switched off.

  5. Fez says:

    Classic Indeed
    My wife and I took our 3 year old (almost 4) son to see this yesterday as his first trip to the movies. Aside from missing several minutes due to potty breaks, and him deciding he wanted to go home an hour into the movie, we enjoyed it.

    In the review you mentioned that the first part was bleak and it seemed like kids wanted the movie to get underway, but for whatever reason my son was most interested in that part. Perhaps because his attention span isn’t really all that long yet.

    I think what struck me most about the experience is that the theater was filled to the brim with kids of all ages, yet none of them were yelling, screaming, fussing, etc. They all seemed to be firmy fixed on the movie. We went into the matinee half-expecting chaos, but it was very calm.

  6. Timeshredder says:

    Good, highly entertaining film…

    …and "Presto" shows what filmmakers can still do with a good concept.

    I also liked the art-history closing credits, which are worth viewing.

    USELESS TRIVIA ALERT: WALL-E watches Hello, Dolly in a post-apocalyptic setting. The sets for Hello, Dolly were cannibalized to create the post-apocalyptic setting for Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

    Hey, I said it was Useless Trivia.

  7. Trekkie says:

    Liked it.
    We took my six year old daughter and four year old son to this.

    The sad part for me was this was my first movie since I took my daughter to Alvin and the Chipmunks. Yeah. I’ve not seen Indiana Jones, Iron Man, nothing.

    Anyway.

    I loved it. My daughter loved it. My son, who is usually a pixar aficionado was pissed he got pulled away from watching the incredibles at first but warmed up enough to sit through it short of one potty break.

    The jabs at big corporate were there, which is rather ironic considering who distributed the film. However it was pretty cool.

    The two humans that got kicked out of their chairs suddenly realizing they had a pool was pretty funny, and in general, this was a great film.

    hadn’t made the Flight of the Navigator reference with Otto, but that certainly is quite apt. One of my favorite live action Disney movies of the last few decades have not seen that in a while. I need to show my daughter that one.

    When we got home, my daughter suddenly wanted to build a generator out of a cup of water, a lid, and a bobby pin. Not sure what she has going there but if she discovers cold fusion that certainly would be interesting.

    Now, if they were smart, there would be a new LEGO Mindstorm kit that came out that made him.

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