WALL-E, 4.5/5

Rated G. Click here to view the trailer.

Single Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth class (WALL-E) robot seeks single egg-shaped robot to join journey through universe. Interests should include trash compacting, collecting Zippo lighters, horticulture, sharp shooting, hand holding and reenacting scenes from Hello Dolly.

How on earth can the movie described in this personal ad work? I don’t know, but since WALL-E is a Pixar-Disney effort, you can bet your sweet bippy with works and that it works well. If you come out of a viewing of WALL-E and your face isn’t sore from grinning, you officially have a heart of cold, hardened stone. You’re probably a jerk, too.

WALL-E is the inexplicably cute and amazingly expressive star of our robot tale of literal star-crossed lovers. He looks like cross between E.T. (only not scary) and Johnny #5 from Short Circuit. He can’t communicate beyond R2D2-like beeps and boops, and yet the audience instantly falls in love with him. The character design team at Pixar was on their A-game. WALL-E lives 700 years in the future sorting out the garbage mankind left behind after we loaded up into a massive inter-galactic Carnival Cruiseliner. He’s a plucky and curious little guy and he collects relics of mankind (alas, no snarfblats or dinglehoppers). He has two treasures in particular: a tiny sprout of a plant growing out of a boot and an old VHS tape of Hello Dolly. Whether WALL-E knows it or not, he’s lonely (his only friend is a cock roach who eats – what else? – Twinkies).

Enter EVE (which stands for… something), an iPod-looking egg of a probe sent to Earth to see if it is safe for humans to return. Unlike WALL-E who is a rather mechanical, treaded robot, EVE is a sleek, digital, super-sonic wonder who is also a crack shot with a laser. Our two heroes briefly “date” until a spaceship returns for EVE and shimmies her back to the Mother Ship. Once there, the ship’s autopilot tries to keep the surviving humans (who are now extremely obese and ride around in hover La-Z-Boys) from finding out EVE’s secret and destroy her and WALL-E’s relationship.

Whoever gave this movie the green light probably had reservations, because, well, a story featuring two robots that can’t talk and don’t lend themselves to plush toy tie-ins doesn’t sound too promising. Even though humans do eventually show up, there isn’t any actual dialog until a good 45 minutes in. To be sure, this isn’t the next Finding Nemo, but it is a very sweet, quiet tale of unlikely love between two lovable characters. It’s very hard to explain but despite no speech and (thankfully) no anatomy, WALL-E is inexplicably a dude and EVE is obviously a woman. I am admittedly a hopeless romantic, so it’s no surprise that the shots of WALL-E trying to hold EVE’s hand made my smile even broader.

Despite some rumors I’ve heard, it’s not going to win the Oscar for Best Picture. But man oh man does it beat the crap out of Kung Fu Panda.

Note: As my parents and I stood in line waiting to purchase our tickets, a preacher friend of my father’s walked by and told us he’d seen the movie and it was crammed full of socialist global warming propaganda. Sure, the movie shows what might happen if humans continue to litter and eat nothing but French fries, but there’s nothing inherently wrong about the movie or its message. As certified listener of Rush Limbaugh and card-carrying member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy who is ready to denounce (or at least question) anything touting global warming or socialist propaganda, I can confidently say that the aforementioned preacher not only has a cold heart of stone, but is also a Grade-A jerk.

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