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

« 1 2»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Daniel,

    Nobody here is suggesting that we form the fat police. Being mostly libertarian myself, I’d never advocate state interference in what people do to their bodies as long as it doesn’t somehow harm someone else.

    That said, we can’t say we truly care about people who go well beyond simple “enjoyment” of life and go full bore into gluttony. First of all, it’s sometimes the sign of deeper issues and secondly, there’s nothing offensive or coercive about trying to express our love for each other on a human level than in telling each other when we’re in trouble.

    To get back on subject a little, that’s all I felt the movie was doing.

    Do we still ultimately have the individual right to be wrong? Absolutely. I think we all recognize the need to honor free will. But we can still care, and express that concern, right?

  2. I meant to say there:

    That said, we can’t say we truly care about people who go well beyond simple “enjoyment” of life and go full bore into gluttony – if we say nothing.

  3. Hey, Vic,

    Next time the site upgrades, can we get an “edit” feature for these things? ;)

  4. There was nothing wrong with the food at school just because it wasn’t all healthy doesn’t mean you had to take out the “unhealthy” food just add more healthy. Way take away all the other options ? Fruit is fine, but some times I want a soda and a pizza most schools in California don’t offer that anymore.

    I think attempting to police people is exactly what you are trying to do. Like it or not pretend that your not doing anything wrong but at the end of they day you are telling grown adults that they can’t eat the food they like because looking at them and being near them makes you uncomfortable.

  5. JC I think that in the world today true compassion is seen as being intrusive in other peoples lives. It’s probably more due to the fact that if you bring a real concern you have about someone to that person (whether it be obesity, alcoholism, etc..)it makes them have to stop and think about what you are saying and that can make most people very uncomfortable and defensive when what is true concern is mistaken as a personal attack…

  6. Now that Pixar is a part of Disney, expect more of these GLOBAL messages in their films.

    I recall reading comments (on Screen Rant) about how Disney had changed, and that their acquistion of Pixar was great news for the medium.

    Now see the change. Its subtile to some glaring to others.

    Interesting times.

  7. Daniel,

    At some point, it becomes self-abuse. This is not a case of the occasional indulgence. The people who eat themselves into morbid obesity are abusing their bodies. It’s their right to make that decision for themselves, but people have the right to free speech as well, and that includes telling people you care about them enough to tell them when they’re killing themselves in a slow, painful, and debilitating way.

    You keep using language like “policing” when nobody here is talking about using civil authority to get the desired result. You’re telling us we can’t even use polite, non-coercive persuasion to help anyone.

  8. 790,

    This film has been in development for four years, and the idea itself was generated at the same time as Monster’s Inc. and Finding Nemo – well before Disney bought Pixar, and it’s in their agreement that Disney stays out of Pixar’s creative development process anyway. It was the primary condition for the sale.

    If Disney exerted any pressure at all, a film like this would never have gotten made. This is somewhat hard, post-apocalyptic sci-fi story, reminiscent of the classics from the 70′s done as a cute robot romance with an upbeat ending. Disney’s simply too “safe” and image conscious for that to originate out of their minds, and I’m sure the execs were apoplectic until this weekend’s returns came in.

  9. (IMO)
    Obesity is an addiction that this culture enables people to have…
    Just like movies and popcorn.

    (Butter on that? or would you like that Super Sized?)

  10. Well Jersycajun, I find it strange that Wall-E has all the same global adgenda messages that Disney propagates.

    Odd coinsidence I guess ???

    Guess will have to compare notes on the next Pixar film.

  11. What global agenda messages were there in Wall-E?

    I interpret “global agenda” as implying a coordinating authority, law or treaty binding the behavior of individuals through some kind of international law. Simply asking people through persuasion to their better natures not to value their stuff, consumption and routine over personal relationships is no more a global agenda than the message to parents that they can’t protect their kids from the risks that enrich life that was the message in Finding Nemo.

    Do you see a political angle in the film?

    As for Pixar’s next film: “Up”, it’s about a widowed man who never was able to fulfill a promise he made to his wife and goes on a Don Quixote style adventure with a young scout.

  12. See the film, you’ve got to be kidding.
    (790 hates Pixar).

    Naw I’m just going by the comments I’m reading here and on other sites.

  13. I’ve seen the film, and I don’t see the politics, unless the mere suggestion of the environment or conservation have become inherently political just by invoking them as backdrops.

    I’ve read lots of people’s impressions, and the one thing I’ve gleaned from the whole bunch is that those that see politics in the movie end up only revealing their own politics.

    Truth is, you can read into the movie any political agenda you’re partial for or against. Though “Buy ‘N Large” is a corporation in name, it’s also a global monopoly on – well seemingly everything making it a de-facto government going so far as to emulate the Seal of the U.S. on the podium of the CEO. So you can see it that way, or just see the title “corporation” and read it as an indictment of corporatism. The ship’s computer is authoritarian in it’s devotion to it’s protocol, so there’s an anti-authoritarian angle if that’s how you want to look at it. Wall-E and EVE break free of their programming, so there’s a strong individualist streak there if that’s what you’re inclined to see.

    The message of the film was best put by the director himself when he said that irrational love defeats life’s programming. The humans let themselves get ‘programmed’ by their routine and their stuff. Wall-E defeats his own programming by studying a copy of “Hello Dolly” (irrational love).

    Such activities as cleaning up after ourselves and keeping healthy are things our families should teach us; not the movies. Political issues should be kept in the debate halls. After seeing the movie, I do not think I exaggerate Disney/Pixar’s political involvement.


  15. I find it odd that so many conservatives in this case are conflating the social with the political. The inability to separate the two has traditionally been a symptom of socialists, ironically.

    The movie isn’t pushing carbon credits or lobbying the people to push for adopting the Kyoto protocol.

    I agree that families are absolutely the first and most important teachers we’ll ever have, but they’re not the only ways to learn. When so many families aren’t doing this (and I live in a part of the country where many adults seemed to never have learned about not throwing trash just anywhere), and I certainly don’t want government to take on this responsibility, then we are left to social institutions like our communities of faith, educators, the arts and humanities to be secondary leaders.

    Are we forbidden to pick on our fallibilities within our arts? Is social satire taboo?

  16. Parents are our first and most important teachers, but not the only ones. Satire is a valuable tool within culture to poke fun at our fallibility. Considering that so many, even out in the farm country where I live now, seem to never have learned that the side of the road on other people’s property is not the proper place to deposit your soda cans, burger wrappers, big gulps and other assorted garbage. It seems to indicate that some social satire aimed in their direction couldn’t hurt.

    I find it odd that it’s conservatives having a hard time separating the social from the political in this case, considering that inability has often been a criticism of socialists.

    The movie isn’t pushing us to buy carbon credits or push our representatives to acquiesce to the Kyoto protocol.

  17. Parents are our first and most important teachers, but not the only ones. Satire is a valuable tool within culture to poke fun at our fallibility. Considering that so many, even out in the farm country where I live now, seem to never have learned that the side of the road on other people’s property is not the proper place to deposit your soda cans, burger wrappers, big gulps and other assorted garbage. It seems to indicate that some social satire aimed in their direction couldn’t hurt.

    I find it odd that it’s conservatives having a hard time separating the social from the political in this case, considering that inability has often been a criticism of socialists.

    The movie isn’t pushing us to buy carbon credits or push our representatives to acquiesce to the Kyoto protocol. Just trying to encourage use to prioritize in more meaningful ways.

  18. Apologies for the repeat posts.

    They weren’t showing up after hitting the submit button.

    Guess there was a few hours delay?

  19. Jersey, the spam filter is getting overzealous. It’s an external app so I don’t have as much control over it as I’d like.

    Anytime you submit a post and it doesn’t show up, rest assured it’s in the system somewhere – it’s either flagged for moderation or is caught as a false positive for spam.


  20. Thanks Vic!

    Making a mental note of it now…

  21. I don’t mind the messages that are being conveyed here. It does not bother me in the slightest if a movie has a political message. In fact I welcome it. My point was earlier that the movie was nothing but pointed. A poke in the eye, if you will. There was nothing funny or entertaining in it. Finding Nemo had its messages, Monsters Inc., had its soft and gushy side, The Incredibles dealt with real issues. But the thing they all had in common was that they were light and funny and entertaining. In these troubled times with everything costing more and people barely getting by, the last thing they want from a movie is to be lectured to, especially from a cartoon. Cartoons are absolutely supposed to have messages. Any cartoon that is half way decent will contain several of them and will throw them at you in a series of light hearted zingers. there was really very few messages in Wall-E and they lingered around and kept hitting you like a lead balloon. Worst of all, the messages are old ones that at this point require less talk and more action. Most of us are already environmentally concious at this point so stop preaching to the choir.

  22. The environment was a backdrop. There’s one overarching theme and it was that irrational love conquers life’s programming. i.e.: focus on love for one another and the rest (respect for our bodies, our minds, our lives, and our environment) will follow. It’s when we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we start to cut corners on all the other stuff. That’s a message you certainly don’t see every day.

    How many movies that have environmental subtext are also nuanced enough to relate it to, or rather, make it dependent upon love for each other? I mean, this is still primarily a love story first and foremost.

  23. We are going to need a lot of Wall-Es…

  24. Green,

    Glad you agree with me, but to steer this back on topic a little more, would you elaborate on your thoughts of the movie a little more?

  25. The hypocritical green adgenda.
    (One example/-case and point).

    The Feds want everyone to use flouresant lightbulbs to save energy. They say “go green so we can save the earth for the children.”

    Meanwhile these new flouresant lightbulbs contain a mercury catalyist. Mercury poisoning cannot be taken out of the human body, or the ground water.
    There’s no warning on the lightbulbs so if one breaks near an infant and its inhaled , well what about that kids future?
    Also when these bulbs go bad they get thrown into the garbage where they are crushed and taken to a landfill. Mercury is a substance so toxic that hazmat teams are called when there’s an accident involing mercury.
    Landfills are prohibited by law to knowingly except Mercury, yet this situation continues to this day.

    Green adgenda trumps logic. Most people don’t polute anywhere near the scope of the Military or big Coporations.
    Sheesh Disney itself buys products from China and Mexico all the time. There’s no EPA down there. Their polluting those countries like its the norm.

    (These are just a few examples of the BS green adgenda). Its a big buSINess and a marketing buzzword nothing more.

  26. 790,

    I agree with that, but how does that apply or relate to the movie, or diminish it’s point?

  27. Jersey

    I loved the interaction between Eve and Wall-E especially the dance sequence…I still think Pixar is showing off and have been since Cars…I’m just baffled how a film that can be “preachy” about obesity and how wasteful we are as a society is being mega-promoted by the Disney marketing monsters…Disney is one of the world’s largest purveyors of non-physical “interactive entertainment” I think the adults in the movie were like infants in that they never knew how to behave or interact with the real world and they never actually had to. This speaks volumes about how technology is really spoiling us and making us lazy and obese…Play video games, watch movies & TV, surf the web but God forbid don’t interact with the real world…We have become complacent as a society and there is no need to change because as a whole our society acts like since we have everything great why rock the boat and start doing the really tough things that it will take to turn it around for our planet…I REALLY DID LIKE HOW WALL-E WAS A FORCE EVERYWHERE HE WENT…It was an homage to the fact that one person can make a difference… but it still wasn’t the tour de force I thought it could have been…It just left me wanting something more and I can’t really put my finger on it…


  28. Just making a point. I won’t go there anymore, sorry bout that. ;-)