WALL • E (2008)
Reviewed on 2008 November 19
I didn’t think someone could make a “green” movie without driving me nuts — isn’t it all we’ve heard about for the past couple years? — but then, this is Pixar. They actually made a cockroach lovable.
The movie starts with a panoramic view of an abandoned, trash-strangled earth, an upbeat pop song playing incongrously as we see crumbling freeways and mountains of rubbish. A small figure rolls through, scooping up garbage and compacting it, one load at a time. It’s a bit like moving a beach with a pair of tweezers, but WALL•E (voiced by Ben Burtt) cheerfully continues his job, even though it’s apparent the people left long ago. The little guy seems content enough, making a nest of some of the more interesting human artifacts and watching an old VHS of Hello, Dolly! to pass the hours. He’s not completely alone: he has a cockroach buddy that enjoys accompanying him and relaxing in a Twinkie® when WALL•E quits for the night. (The roach didn’t have a name or a credit, but archy wasn’t this charming.)
One day, a probe lands on what’s left of the city and shocks WALL•E by releasing another robot. She’s much slicker than the little waste disposal unit, zooming around the planet looking for something. The adventure starts when she takes something in WALL•E’s collection.
I think what made this movie stand out was the fact that besides some beeps and coos from WALL•E, there’s not really any dialogue for about the first quarter of the movie, and yet you’re still engrossed in what happens to the little robot. They also turned the green concept (we get it, enough already!) into a plot device instead of just 98 minutes of nagging. Fast Food Nation was an irritating screed. This was funny.
Three chocolate morsels.