Short version: Technically Wall-E is the best film Pixar has made – it’s funny and heartwarming, but it’s also the preachiest.
Screen Rant’s Wall-E review
We haven’t given Wall-E as much coverage as some other movie sites, but nonetheless I’d been looking forward to seeing it ever since I saw a panel for the film last summer at the San Diego Comic-Con. In my mind there was no doubt that Pixar would knock another one out of the park with their quality approach to both story and the animation itself.
Well, they certainly succeeded as far as the animation goes – the film surpasses everything Pixar has done to date. Overall I enjoyed the film, but a few things kept it from being Pixar’s best work.
Pixar films have always had a message: Friendship, loyalty, teamwork, the importance of family and helping others – but I’ve never felt the message delivered with a heavy hand… until now. Wall-E (the movie, not the character) is the latest film to jump on the “we’re destroying the Earth” bandwagon – but it also warns against the dangers of sloth, gluttony and Instant Messaging.
Wall-E (the character) is a quirky little robot whose lonely job it is to compress, collect and organize the trash/junk left behind on Earth, which is now deserted by humans. Apparently there was an army of little robots just like our intrepid hero left behind to clean up the Earth after we had literally trashed it to where it was no longer habitable. Apparently it’s been a very long time since we left because he is the only robot left functioning. Somehow (and it is never explained how) he has acquired a personality. I don’t imagine that a trash collecting robot would need to be designed to have a personality to do its menial job.
Wall-E is very cute and we see much of the funny bits that have already been shown in trailers and commercials. We also meet his little buddy – a cockroach which I have to say is very cute, if you can say that about a roach. Wall-E is a collector of odds and ends and has shelves full of not only replacement parts (explaining how he’s managed to survive so long) but a large variety of all kinds of stuff he found interesting including hand mixers, light bulbs, butane lighters, and his favorite: a videotape that contains a scene from an old musical movie (sorry I don’t know which) that shows a dance number and ends with a couple holding hands romantically. This is where we see how lonely he is.
I have to mention right here that the CGI animation in this movie is phenomenal – especially within his “home” I would say that if it was shown outside the context of a CGI movie there is no way I’d be able to tell that it wasn’t an actual movie set populated with real objects. Truly amazing detail and lighting in the rendering. But in this same scene we see for the first time (although it is on a TV screen) actual live actors in a Pixar animated film. While my knee jerk reaction was that I didn’t like seeing them and it pulled me out of the magic of the film, I was prepared to accept it – but what happens later in the film made it make even less sense. I’ll get to that later.
Anyway, one day a giant spaceship arrives (which looked like a cool update of the classic rocket ships from 50’s sci-fi movies). From it comes a super-sleek, egg-shaped robot who we come to know as Eve. She is exploring and scanning the area, and for some reason seems highly paranoid for a robot exploring an abandoned planet, using a powerful weapon to blow the heck out of anything that startles her. She and Wall-E get off to a bit of a rough start but eventually they find a connection, with Wall-E having developed a crush on her.