Monday, June 30, 2008

Wall-E Movie Review

First off, I want to admit that I am a Pixar fanboy. I have seen every Pixar film but Ratatouille, which I plan on seeing, I just have to get my hands on a copy of it. Anyhow, I actually first fell in love with the movie when I first saw a preview in the theater. It was a Pixar movie, I was excited.

Since the movie has come out, I have seen it twice now, and I'm probably going to see it again this week.
The first thing that kind of strikes me about this movie is that the main characters don't really talk all that much. I mean, Pixar movies involve things that talk, talking toys, talking bugs, talking fish, talking cars, talking rats, here's a movie where the stuff doesn't talk much. The first 20 minutes of the movie are completly without dialogue, if you don't count the "Hello Dolly!" scenes. There's also a couple funny Apple references in this part of the movie. When Wall-E goes home to his crate to unwind after a hard day at work, he puts in a old VHS of "Hello Dolly!" which plays on a 2nd Generation iPod, which he magnifies with a refractive sheet. (which, BTW, took some serious iPod hacking skills, since he'd have to get the input to the iPod, get the iPod to play video, and somehow get a color screen for it too!) Secondly, when he recharges himself in the morning with his solar panels, he makes the iconic Apple boot up chime. Awesome.

So the basic premise of this movie is that Wall-E is the last of a series of garbage cleaning robots, and after hundreds of years of being lonely, he has developed quirks and habits and a personality. His only friend, at this point, is an unnamed cockroach. Again, side note, as much as I hate cockroaches, Pixar has somehow managed to make one cute and endearing as a minor character.
One day Wall-E's routine is turned upside down when a spaceship lands in the wastes and drops off another robot. Where Wall-E is clunky and boxy, Eve is smooth and sleek. Perhaps this is another Apple reference, but she kinda looks like a cross between an egg and an iPod. The technology that goes into Eve is obviously much more advanced than Wall-E, as she flies around without legs, and moving parts like her head and arms stay in place, though physically disconnected from the body. There are also several nice details that make her more interesting to look at than a plain, smooth, white exterior.

In any case, either due to being alone for so long, or due to the grace of Eve, Wall-E immediately falls in love. Unfortunately for him, as he works up the courage to indroduce himself to the new robot, he becomes aquainted with her trigger happy mentality. Personally, I think it's a bad idea to program an exploration robot to shoot at anything that moves, but you know, it works. Anyhow, I'm going to try to be a bit vague, since not everyone has seen this movie yet, but Eve is on a mission, and she has a job to do. When she finds her objective, she aquires it and shuts down. Sleep mode or something. This is where the story begins to get sweet, as Wall-E stays with her all the time. This part is mildly like "Castaway" where the guy builds this friendship with a soccer ball and takes it everywhere. Anyhow, one day he goes off to work and leaves Eve in the sun, where she's been for who knows how long. That also happens to be the day that the spaceship comes back to retrive Eve. Wall-E runs after the spaceship, and manages to get on before it blasts off.

Some really goregeous scenery follows, and Wall-E ends up on the Axiom, which is a human ship. This is where we start to get some more characters. One of my favorite characters is a little cleaning droid called M-O, who spends nearly the entire movie chasing after Wall-E to clean up the tracks and dirt he leaves behind. Other interesting characters introduced are the misfit droids from the repair center, and the autopilot, OTTO, who is apparently voiced by Sigourney Weaver, though her voice is so processed it could have been Alvin the Chipmunk for all we know. Oh, also the ship is populated with fat people. Anyhow, the ending was a bit tense, and there's about five minutes in the end where you think, "if it ends like this I'm gonna kill someone."

The voice of Wall-E was put together by Ben Burtt, who perhaps is best known for voicing everyone's favorite droid, R2-D2. I don't know if he synthesized it or literally voiced it. Eve, on the other hand, was actually voiced by a woman named Elissa Knight, who must be a Pixar employee, because the only other thing IMDB says she did was a role in Cars. Anyhow, as a result of the way they do this, Wall-E's voice carries a lot of character, whereas Eve's voice holds more emotion, which is an intersting thing I noticed.

In the end, I found it to be cute and enjoyable throughout. There are a few statements made in this movie, more than in most Pixar movies, about ecology and society, but they are pretty tame. I mean, the opening scenes are shots of piles of garbage, with wind farm windmills poking out of them, and garbage surrounding a nuclear power plant, as if to say that clean energy like that won't stop us from junking stuff, and of course, the fat people, as if to say that if we don't get off our butts and do something, we'll end up like them, but they are tolerable because the movie isn't about that. Movies like "The Day After Tomorrow", and "An Inconvenient (ed: Un)Truth" were about those things, but not this one. This movie is, plain and simple, about Wall-E, and how he falls in love, and sacrifices everything for the one he loves. And about Eve, who learns that there are more important things in life than directives. This is much much more a sweet romantic comedy than a political platform.

This is something all the kids will love, and most any adult as well. This is a must see movie for the family.


Sarah said...

Very well thought out review. Besides your one political bias that leaked through at one point it was all in all a very fair review for a fan boy. ;-)

Chaos Incarnate said...

Hey, everyone's got to have SOME bias, right?

Deviant Anomaly said...

Actually, Sigorney Weaver provided the voice of the Axiom's computer who taught The Captain about Earth. An Apple program was the voice of AUTO (short for "autopilot"). Hence the heavily computerized sound he had.

Did you notice AUTO's eye resembles another mutanous robot in a famous Stanley Kubric film? :)

Chaos Incarnate said...

Really? I could have sworn I saw her credited as OTTO. But I can definitely see the ship's computer as making more sense.

I also noticed that visual similarity. :D