Rated G; Directed by Andrew Stanton; Starring voice talents of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy
How does Pixar do it? They can take the most unlikeliest concept and make something so enchanting and delightful with it. Remember Finding Nemo? A story about a fish frantically looking for his son? Who would want to go see that? Well, a lot of us did. It turned out be a clever and sweet film. Now Pixar has come up with a tale about a robot living on a post-apocalyptic Earth with only a cockroach for a friend. Excuse me? Oh, that should leave ‘em rolling in the aisles. And yes, it does. WALL-E is the cleverest, most delightful, and funniest film this year.
The story takes place on a future, people-less Earth covered in trash. WALL-E is the last robot of his kind, assigned to pile up trash in an orderly fashion. He enjoys his job, finding interest in what he discovers among the trash. Fascinated with an old video of Hello Dolly, he listens, and dances along, to the music. It also leads him to wish for the opportunity of holding “hands” with another. Then one day it happens, another robot arrives from a space ship. It takes some false starts, but WALL-E is soon robotically entranced with EVE. He’s so entranced that when the space ship reappears and takes EVE back to where she came from he finds a way to join her.
Writer and director, Andrew Stanton, bravely goes for the challenge of starting a movie with no dialogue for the first 30 minutes. He and the animators succeed brilliantly with this challenge. WALL-E’s character is firmly established, and his loneliness comes through. Later when the robot ends up among humans and other robots his plucky and charming demeanor begins to make a difference to the space colony.
There are few big name voice talents. Sigourney Weaver voices the ship computer, John Ratzenberger and Kathy Najimy are two people affected by WALL-E’s behavior. Fred Willard makes a few appearances as CEO of BnL (Buy n Large), the major corporation that helped create Earth’s fate.
The animation is gorgeous. The music is especially used well. It all works. The robots all have personalities that shine through and the future humans even have some charm. There are lots of laughs along with some touching scenes. If only live-action movies could achieve this humanity and charm. WALL-E is a wonderful movie and shouldn’t be missed.