Director: Andrew Stanton
Voice cast: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver, John Ratzenberger
When it comes to Pixar, no one does animation better than they do. They never seem to fail in creating a product that excels in visual and storyline. It's little wonder that Pixar films are the yardstick for animated fanfare.
This year, Pixar tries their hand at creating an adventure that is quite different from what they had done before. It's not about bugs, toys, fish or cars that talk, nor about rats that cook or superheroes that bicker. This time, it's a robot that doesn't really talk.
WALL-E is set in the very distant future, where earth is now empty, with no living creature in sight, just a whole lot of trash. It is here where we meet a little robot called WALL-E, which stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth class. WALL-E has spent the last 700 years cleaning up the planet. We see his daily routine i.e. charging his power cells, picking up trash, compacting it into little cubes and stacking them up as high as skyscrapers. However, WALL-E isn't just an ordinary robot with a directive to collect garbage. He actually has curiousity and emotion. WALL-E takes the time to examine some of the stuff he finds, and keeps some of them, such as a lighter, Rubik's cube, cutlery and whatever he finds fascinating. In his spare time he watches Hello Dolly on video. The only companion he has is a cockroach that follows him everywhere.
All is fine and dull for WALL-E until one day when a spaceship touches down from the sky and releases a robot probe named EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). EVE is a highly advanced robot programmed to find signs of plant life on earth. WALL-E is curious about his new guest and takes a liking to her. He shows EVE around and the things he found, but when he gives her a little stalk plant he had just picked up a few days before, EVE takes it and goes into sleep mode.
WALL-E tries his best but is unable to wake EVE, and then her spaceship returns to pick her up. WALL-E hitches a ride on board the vessel, determined to follow EVE wherever she goes, and discovers a whole new adventure, as well as where all the humans have been all this time.
Director Andrew Stanton has done it again. The guy who brought us Finding Nemo gives us a character that is not only adorable, but charming as well. You'd think that a robot that sounds and moves like R2D2 couldn't possibly carry a whole film by itself, but Stanton somehow pulls it off. For the better part of the first half, WALL-E is seen going about his business on an empty planet of trash, and even by not talking, WALL-E makes his daily activity most entertaining. It's a lot like Will Smith in I Am Legend, except here there are no monsters.
In the second half, Stanton shows us what mankind has become: lazy, obese and unable to do anything themselves. Every activity is assisted by machines and computers, and it gives the audience a stark reminder of what the future would be like if we carried on being so complacent. But this isn't the focus of the film. The film is more on the love story between WALL-E and EVE, as they risk their own safety in order to save each other and do the right thing as well.
A big compliment goes out to sound designer Ben Burtt, who created the voice for WALL-E. Burtt also made the sounds for R2D2, and here he proves again why he is the best man for the job. Kudos also to Jeff Garlin and Sigourney Weaver for their contributions as ship captain and computer voice respectively, and of course the obligatory voice of John Ratzenberger is also here.
WALL-E is a great movie for people of all ages. It has everything you'd want in a film: love, action, adventure, comedy and drama too. And all this from a pair of robots? Amazing indeed. (4/5)