Eden Reborn: Wall-E - The Movie: A Review
Pixar's newest animated movie, WALL-E, opened today to nearly universally great reviews. "One for the ages," one reviewer exulted. "Charming, audacious, timely," raved another. "Grown ups will want to see it many times." "Ninety-three minutes of wonderful animation." "Puts the extra back into extraterrestrial" said one hard-working wordsmith.
Actually, it is very good. It's a post-apocalyptic tale of an Earth as wasteland, the scene of an ecological disaster from which humankind has fled, barren of all life forms save for a cockroach who shares the planet with one other semi-sentient creature, a battered robot named WALL-E (for Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-Class). The little robot toodles around dutifully, humming a tune from "Hello, Dolly," compacting and stacking the waste products of the departed race who escaped 700 years earlier. WALL-E and his insect pet live in his lonely guy pad, a dumpster lighted by mismatched strings of Christmas lights, and cluttered with his collection of funky human artifacts--a rubric cube, Zippo lighters, and spare parts cannibalized from other broken-down WALL-E's with which he keeps himself running. Into this haven one day WALL-E brings a green seedling which he discovers on his rounds, amazingly growing in the desolate landscape.
At this point a mysterious space probe lands and disgorges a sleek, egg-shaped bot named EVE (for Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) with which, after a quick robotic "cute meet," WALL-E becomes totally enamored. When he offers the new-found plant to EVE as a token of his devotion, her directive from her creators takes her immediately off into space to report this sign of life on Earth. The smitten WALL-E stows away and follows her to the giant space cruiser in which the expatriate humans have existed since Earth became uninhabitable.
EVE and WALL-E inspire a rogue robot revolution aboard ship, complete with humorous chase scenes, pursuit by an obsessive-compulsive cleaning robot, and the final triumph of the ship's captain over its evil autopilot. At last the hugely overfed and almost immobile humans realize that they can indeed return to their homeland, not just to "survive" but "to live." All's well as the reunited EVE and WALL-E and the revitalized remnant of humankind return to make the Earth bloom and to rebuild civilization on their home planet. Earth, it seems, is the right place for love.
Rated G, WALL-E does have something for everyone. WALL-E is an unlikely but undeniably appealing hero, and there is humor for all ages, from slapstick to irony to satire. Pixar has another winner which may be with us still, like WALL-E's beloved video cassette of "Hello, Dolly," for the next 700 years.