Something happens to Eve which effectively shuts her down and Wall-E watches after her for days until the return of the giant ship, where he hitches a ride to end up on what is basically a giant space-ark. On the ship we meet a big variety of robots, each with its own specific task – and it’s quite funny watching our hero outsmart them as he tries to make his way deeper into the ship in order to not lose Eve.
We finally meet the humans on board who turn out to be the personification of sloth and gluttony, whizzing around on hover-chairs with virtual screens floating in front of their faces as they have online conversations with other people, oblivious to those around them and their environment. The seem to be as they are not through laziness but because it’s all they know.
Eventually we find out exactly what Eve’s mission was and the captain of the ship activates a pre-recorded video by the CEO of mega-corporation B&L (Buy ‘n Large, or really, President Bush) played by Fred Willard explaining to the captain of the ship exactly what he’s supposed to do.
So what didn’t I like? Here’s one thing that bugged me: Why were the people in the old movie shown earlier and especially Fred Willard live actors while the current population is CGI? No, I’m not saying the characters on the ark should have been live, I’m saying that Willard’s character and those in the old video should have been CGI characters as well. I just didn’t see the logic. Fine, now everyone was grossly overweight – so have slim CGI characters from the past appear as ancestors of the current population. Also here you have these people who are so huge and with such atrophied muscles that they can’t even move on their own in the micro-gravity of the ship, yet when they get to earth they walk off the ship just fine. Yeah, fine – call me nitpicky, I don’t care.
The bang-you-over-the-head-ness of the overall message also bugged me. Yes, we need to be more environmentally conscious and personally I’ve got a big sore spot for the obesity problem in the U.S., but geez… this is a Pixar movie. If I want that level of social commentary I’ll go rent Idiocracy.
What was great? Everything else. The animation was really stunning – their ability to tell a story with so little dialog was very impressive, and it was awesome to finally see Pixar tackle the final frontier. There really were quite a few laughs to be had in the film, and plenty of heartwarming moments as well. Once again Pixar manages to deliver a film that both children and adults can enjoy without any fart jokes or “over the kids’ heads” sexual references, and I give them huge props for that.
Also there are many, many nods to science fiction films that we all know and love, most notably of course, Star Wars and 2001, but there was even a G-rated nod to my all time favorite film: Aliens.
However for me, it didn’t quite leave me with the same sense of magic that I usually get from Pixar films. It’s far better than Cars, but I have to say I prefer the Toy Story movies and The Incredibles to Wall-E in terms of story.