Waaalll-eee (A review of Disney/Pixar’s Wall-E)

Yesterday we took my daughter to see Wall-E. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a little intense for a 2 year old, so we watched a few of the trailers and vignettes of our robotic friend online before we left. My daughter was laughing and giggling throughout each one. By the time we got to the movie theater and claimed our free Wall-E watch (for being the first crazies to go to a movie at 10 in the morning?) she was saying “Waaalll-eeee” with the best of them.

Before the movie began, apart from the popcorn and the shock that the theater was full at 10am, I was ENTHRALLED with the the short cartoon before the feature presentation. It’s one of my favorite things about Pixar movies. But, I think this short might be the best yet. It was straight up old-school cartoon slapstick humor about a magician trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat. I’m giggling just thinking about it. (And that bunny might be one the cutest CGI characters I’ve ever seen.)

Then Wall-E began…First, let me say, I’ve never done a movie review before. I stick to tv recaps where I can gush about each and every line and scene. But when it comes to movies, I hate knowing the ending. I don’t even watch trailers because I don’t want to know ANYTHING about it. I love the surprise! That being said, I’ll try to give you a little something without spoiling it, ok?

The plot.
The world is trashed. Literally. So trashed that everyone has moved off the planet to a five-year intergalactic cruise until a group of robots called “wall-e” (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) has cleaned up the trash. Well, something went wrong and 700 years later, ala Gilligan, the world’s inhabitants are still cruising, the earth is still trashed and only one Wall-E remains. Our little Wall-E.

Wall-E is a cutie pie little robot who collects fun trash (rubix cubes, Christmas lights, Zippos and spare parts galore), loves Hello Dolly (he likes to watch it via his ipod and VCR) while continuing his directive of cleaning up earth. One day a huge spaceship lands and lets off one little information-gathering-robot named Eve. (Or as Wall-E says, “Eeevvaa.”)

I think Wall-E is instantly in love with our fact-finding-bot, but Eve is a little too concerned with her mission to start a relationship with this trash compactor on wheels. (Oh, I’m dying to tell you what happens!) So, when she completes her mission (whew!), she is transported back to the mother-ship, which just happens to be the Axiom, where our old earth inhabitants are living.

Our earthlings are apparently living it up—they have everything they need. They are now transported along by hover chairs, feasting on food in a cup and they experience everything via a virtual screen constantly in front of their eyes. They all look like giant dough boys and could care less about doing anything for themselves.

Wall-E hitches a ride on the spaceship to be with Eve and chaos ensues. Ahem. I think that’s all I can say. Except for the ending is happy.

The Characterization.
This is what makes Disney/Pixar so great. We love a cowboy doll, a colony of ants and a cooking rat because of their characters, not their computer animation (although, seriously, the CGI was amazing).

Here are my two favorites:

Wall-E was absolutely adorable. I immediately loved him. He was quirky, sweet and lovable. Even while being square dirty and unable to talk! When he was dancing along to Hello Dolly and using a trash can lid (or was it a hubcap?) as a hat, I could have eaten him with a spoon! Wall-E’s words were few (try about 2). The first half was simply Wall-E and Eve saying their names. But the lack of dialogue added to their charm.

The cleaning bot. He was the funniest, cutest little guy! At one point, he’s got the choice to get off his path and follow the dirt he needs to clean, or stay on his path and ignore the dirt. He agonizes over it! But for the rest of the movie, watch what he does! Hilarious!

The message.
Love the planet. Recycle. Keep it clean. Stop being a consumer. Get off your easy chair and DO SOMETHING.

It was a major statement about the environment. I usually don’t get into “statement” movies, but I thought this one was strong without being pushy. It didn’t seem political, just normal everyday don’t-be-a-litter-bug type stuff. (With the exception of the President; his company began with the letters BU and ended with RGE. Which they kept showing right by his head. Remind you of anything?)

The rest of the message was really about love. It was about giving up yourself and doing something for others and by default for the whole world. I thought it was perfect.

For the moms.
My two year old liked it. It wasn’t scary. There wasn’t really any violence. It was more intense–mostly explosions, like spaceships taking off and robots being exploded. The most risqué part was Wall-E finding a bra and putting it on his eyes like glasses. And Wall-E and Eve share a little electricity (you know, a kiss).

For the Pixar/Disney Fans.
I love when the animators throw in little easter eggs to the audience. I think Pixar is pretty notorious for doing it—well, so is Disney with all their Hidden Mickeys. I just KNEW there would be something in Wall-E’s trash stash, but just couldn’t find anything! I guess my eyes weren’t quick enough. But after scouring the internet, I saw that Rex and Ham from Toy Story make an appearance. So, look close for them.

Then, of course, the Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story was in a landfill that Eve scanned. I was excited when I noticed that one! Let me know in the comments if you found any others. (And yes, I did see the Mac shout-outs…)

Oh, and the credits! The first half was the epilogue! The second half was like watching an old video game. (Sorry, I’m not a geek enough to know the style…it just reminded me of the arcade games I played at the bowling alley when I was a kid!) And if you stay till the very very end, you’ll get one tiny little laugh. (It’s not an out-take, but still funny.)

In Conclusion.
I adored it. Disney/Pixar never disappoints but going in I wasn’t excited about a robot-sci-fi movie as I was about cowboy dolls or tropical fish. But little Wall-E won me over.

Just grab the whole family and go see it, you’ll be saying “Waaalll-eee” for the next week, I guarantee!

(& my blog, ohamanda.com)