Wall-E Review

Published 7 years ago by , Updated September 4th, 2012 at 8:37 am,

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.


Our Rating:

4 out of 5

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  1. well i will certainly see it ,
    but i normally dont like preachiness
    at least in abundance.
    so, thanks for the warning.
    I will just screen out the preaching and enjoy the rest of it .

  2. Brad Bird has often said that animation can do any genre because animation itself is only the medium – the choice of paint over charcoal or pencil drawings.

    I think this is fundamentally true, so I also think that just like live action movies do social satire, so too can animated films.

    Regarding the heavy-handed-ness of the film, I was almost specifically looking to see if they would fall into the trap, but the way they dealt with it in the movie seemed to balance the criticism with much more hope than scores of other dystopian sci-fi flicks. Think of how “Planet of the Apes” or “Soylent Green” ended. There’s such an air of pessimism in the genre, it’s refreshing to see it end on what is essentially *spoiler* a “second Renaissance” for mankind. *end spoiler*

    I look forward to (hopefully) the day when we see animated westerns, dramas and other genres, themes and attitudes not traditionally associated with animation to be taken up by not only Pixar but other studios.

    Such a versatile medium is finally being pried open to take better advantage of its capabilities, and I for one find it very exciting.

    If I have any criticisms of Wall-E as a film at first glance, I would have to say that the story seems to lose focus for a bit while on the ship, but it regains it’s focus before too long. Of course, since the plot is primarily visually communicated instead of verbally I might have lost track of some visual cues somewhere that would fill me in on the necessity of those scenes. I mentioned this elsewhere, but I think this really deserves a second viewing. I left the theater somewhat in a blur from the experience.

  3. You know what would be really cool ?
    here is a plot for you:
    members of an enviromentalist group
    place themselves in suspended animation
    because they cant stand to watch humanity destroy the earth.
    but when they wake up everything is PERFECT!
    humanity has evolved into a race of highly intelligent superbeings,
    and they are taking such good care of the planet its going to last for another 100 billion years!
    which means the newly awakened enviromentalists have NOTHING to Protest!
    so they end up HATING the future!
    just an idea
    for a movie making fun of “the earth is dying” genre .

  4. Gary, I think you just described Star Trek, lol.


  5. Just a thought on preachy-ness in general.

    For me, it’s the line between being persuaded to buy into the film’s ideas and being talked down to.

    As it applies to this movie, I never got the feeling I was being talked down to.

  6. I didn’t feel I was talked down to… I just thought it was too “in your face.”


  7. Gary,

    That is a great idea for a movie. If it would ever get made.

  8. Personally I prefer live actors. East coast chef.

    Vic, nice review, I think the message was put into the film by the Disney people. That would fit their M.O.

    Should see more of this in future Pixar films as well.


  9. Umm, Where do I even start? Were the critics watching the same movie I was or what? The film is pretty to look at as we have all come to expect from everything Pixar makes but the pleasantries end there. At times the plot is mindnumbingly dull and at others it is insulting. Basically, Disney has given us a movie that calls all white Americans fat, lazy and wasteful people that destroyed the earth with garbage. Wow. How shocking and original. This message is old and it has reached the point of being anooying. I’ve got an idea for Hollywood. Why don’t they use their power and influence to promote changes in government and industry that might actually make a difference. Instead they have chosen to insult the very people that buy tickets to the garbage they have been pumping out lately. How sweet of them to remind us of the powerlessness of it all. But wait! there is hope at the end where just one fat lazy guy stands up and makes a difference. Oh Disney, if only it were that simple. Frankly, they should have saved the money it cost to make Wall-E (and they could even spare us their next ten films for that matter) and donate the money to research for better fuel sources. Preaching to the middle class that just wasted $100 to bring their family to see this is swindling us almost as bad as the oil companies do and the government that lets it happen.

  10. While I thought it was very aesthetically pleasing and a beautifully designed film, I too, found it somewhat boring. Cute? Yes. Funny? Periodically. Preachy? Definitely. Maybe because I had just seen The Happening but all this “humans are destroying the Earth” crap is getting annoying. We go see movies to escape life’s so-called problems, not to go to environmental church. I’d give it a 3 out of 5 just for the animation but I won’t be buying this one on DVD.

  11. The movie was really cool and fun for the first half-hour but then when it went to the Axiom and the human element, the movie really lost its appeal.

    The textures and animation on the humans was very poor compared to wall-E and all the in-movie videos featuring actual human actors, it didnt make sense. And it took away the feel of the film it created prior to these scenes.

    More importantly, the movie never once delved into why Wall-E is the only survivor and why he has emotions and a personality…or why any of the random bots on the ship do either.

    I’d say it was good but not great, I was actually bored at some moments.

  12. I’m not quite sure I understand the somewhat automatic response I see some people have towards messages that indicate we’re flawed, when they’re balanced with humanity’s noble side.

    Some of the greatest science fiction out there satirizes human fallibility (just seems to be a natural vehicle for such themes), and few are as well balanced in that respect as this one. It’s not guilt-inducing or misanthropic. It’s not laying blame, just recognizing that we’re subject to temptations and showing us that hope exists in spite of the times when we succumb to them. That’s what I got out of it, at least.

  13. This is a movie I will have to download. Doesn’t seem worth my money at all. I hate movies with an in your face message especially about Obesity or Environmentalism. Personally I’m not a environmentalist and never will be and while it’s not my choice I have no problem with people who become obese I think telling people what they should look like is just wrong on so many lvl’s.

  14. Ok, I know I’m going to step in it here, but my issue with obesity is that it’s incredibly unhealthy. Not only is this bad for the person, but instead of tackling the problem with proper nutrition and exercise the issue continues to get worse requiring medication and surgery for things like heart disease and diabetes.

    What does this do? It increases the cost of health care for me and my family even though we take care of ourselves. The diseases brought on by obesity are preventable.

    And we have an epidemic of adult-onset diabetes in children in the U.S., which sickens me because it’s TOTALLY preventable. When I see a parent giving a one year old an ice cream cone or giving a three year old a can of soda or a power drink, I want to walk up to that parent and slap them upside the head.


  15. “When I see a parent giving a one year old an ice cream cone or giving a three year old a can of soda or a power drink, I want to walk up to that parent and slap them upside the head.”

    Now there’s an in-your-face message ;)

  16. “When I see a parent giving a one year old an ice cream cone or giving a three year old a can of soda or a power drink, I want to walk up to that parent and slap them upside the head.”

    I think thats taking it a little bit too far. Soda or ice cream once in a while is ok, especially if its just a day where the family can go out. Feeding them junk every single day might deserve a slap or two though : ) Anyways kids that little dont usually finish the whole thing, just half and their happy lol

  17. Hey Oscar,

    Of course it’s ok once in a while but notice I specified a particular age range. You don’t give ice cream to a child that barely even knows how to walk yet. And do you know why? Because once they get a taste of concentrated sugar/high fructose corn syrup, good luck trying to get the them to eat anything healthy that doesn’t have that intense taste.

    As far as soda, are you aware that one can of soda has 12 teaspoons of sugar? Can you imagine adding that much sugar to a cup of coffee? Now give that to a 3-4 year old and then in 30 minutes get mad at him because he’s acting “hyper.”


  18. I know its bad, thats why i said if its an everyday thing, they do deserve a slap from Vic lol. I meant once in a while like on a trip or a family outing. And i dont see anything bad if they are that young, again, as long as it doesnt become a habit. Hopefully they dont start making ice cream flavored Gerber. lol or soda flavored Pediasure.

  19. Funny story: I was out and about one day and a mom or dad (don’t recall which) was holding what looked like a maybe a 6-8 month old in their arms. They gave them a taste of an ice cream cone and the look on the kids face was worthy of a youtube video. He got this look of wide-eyed shock on his face, and then he desperately tried to get his hands on the ice cream cone.

    Looked like he just tried freaking heroine for the first time.

    Don’t. Give. Infants. Sweets.


  20. Come to think of it, it kinda is like crack. lol Anyways, congrats on the website. This website to me is like ice cream to a baby. Its addictive. I make sure i check it atleast once every 4 hours lol.

  21. Oh and i liked the part where they used real actors, maybe it was a pun on real life, how movies are becoming more and more CGI. Sad to say but one day they might not need real actors anymore :( lets pray that never happens.

  22. The musical scene was from the movie, “Hello, Dolly!” (1969) with Walter Matthau, Barbara Streisand, and Michael Crawford. My girlfriend picked up on it almost immediately (she works in, on, and around Broadway).

  23. Ah, thanks! I’m not a huge fan of musicals but I prefer the older ones with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.


  24. Wow Vic I thought that the movie was gonna be preachy. Don’t get me wrong I agree with you on the kids parents need to take better care of their children. However, we should never take away the freedom from and adult to decide how they look. Also who decides what’s obese people generally have a vastly different opinion from one another. For instance some people consider a person 5’10 and 200 pounds to be obese while others think 5’10 and 300 is when you hit obese. It’s really hard to mark it down. Hell even doctors can’t agree on that.

    As far as your wallet argument that’s not the persons fault that has to do with the many flaws in the medical system I mean it could be worse this could be Canada.

    My main problem is you call it taking care of your self I call it enjoying life. People should be able to eat what they want when they want as long as they are an adult. With one exception don’t eat me and I’m happy.

  25. “Wow Vic I thought that the movie was gonna be preachy.”

    So you saw the movie then? What did you think?

  26. “Enjoying life?” Uh, yeah, ok. I understand enjoying a fine meal or an awesome dessert once in a while, but that’s a hell of a leap from pigging out constantly.



  27. It really is about enjoying life though. If you like to eat that kind of stuff on a regular basis and aren’t big on exercise good for you. WE HAVE NO RIGHT to police how people eat or exercise. Where does it stop. This anti obese movement has gone to far as it is. When I was in High School I was an athelete I plaid sports I was very active and in good shape. However, I still enjoyed sada, pizza and all that great tasting stuff.

    Now the vast majority of schools ONLY serve health food. This would be a terrible time period to grow up in and go to school. So many kids use to look forward to lunch now what do you look forward to?

  28. Man I hate when I let myself be dragged off topic, but you are so off base it’s not even funny. School food is JUNK. Mac and cheese, burgers and fries, etc. plus junk food and soda machines everywhere. It’s only recently that trend has started to be reversed.

    I don’t police anyone but when it starts affecting me directly I get my back up. If I buy a ticket for a flight and I have to lean sideways in a seat for 5 hours because the guy next to me takes up a seat and a half or two, that affects me directly. When they have to start redesigning ambulances to accomodate people who otherwise wouldn’t fit in a standard ambulance that’s not a good thing.

    Hell, by your definition, being addicted to porn is just a natural extension of admiring a pretty girl who walks by on the street, and that’s just “enjoying life.” Someone being a heroin addict, although it might not affect me directly, is also just “enjoying life,” right?

    Anything taken to an extreme can be very bad.

    I highly recommend you go rent Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me.

    That’s my final comment on the matter.


  29. Wow,, Vic that link is graphic…Yikes, I’ve been mentally scarred… ;-)

    Warning super fat people !!