Tuesday, January 1, 2013

WALL-E Review by Briana Alessio


This heartwarming, lovable film from 2008 stars a garbage compactor named Wall-E who lives on a destroyed planet called Earth.  We realize he is a living product of the megastore BnL (Buy N Large).  His days are spent cleaning up portions of the area he lives in.  He is always finding objects which are interesting to him including a woman’s bra which he proceeds to place over his eyes.  He even finds a ping pong ball/racket amongst the trash.  As he begins to play with this, he accidentally and repeatedly hits himself in the eye with the ball.  

After his compacting, he retreats to his “house” with his cockroach companion to watch scenes from Hello Dolly, wishing for a love to call his own.  You feel pain in your own heart watching his sad eyes gaze upon the lovers in the musical.  At one point, he looks down at his little robotic hands (if you will) and links his fingers together.  He has recorded the song on a tape he keeps near his chest, which seems symbolic of what his heart tells him.  He rolls outside and looks up at the sky while playing the song from Hello Dolly.

One day while cleaning up Earth, he sees a moving red dot and decides to follow it.  We soon after see many red dots which appear to be a UFO of sorts in the sky.  It drops off a shiny white robot and leaves the area.  He almost immediately falls in love with this unknown robot, despite knowing nothing about it, and also despite the fact that it keeps shooting in Wall-E’s direction.  They eventually meet and after a couple of repeated attempts, he builds up the nerve to begin talking.  She introduces herself as EVE although he pronounces it as Eva, which she seems to love.

During an escape mission from a cloud of dangerous dust and who knows what else, Wall-E brings EVE to his place.  This is a fantastic scene as he shows her everything he has collected over the years.  He enthusiastically brings his items over to her, and she quickly figures out what each item is for.  She solves a Rubik’s cube and turns on a light bulb.  An absolutely hysterical scene gives us Wall-E handing EVE a cassette, which she pulls the string almost completely out of.  Wall-E puts his arms over his head in distress and screams, as he grabs the tape from her and puts it back together. 

We soon find out that her “directive” is to find a species from planet Earth and return it to her residence.  Wall-E had found a beautiful green plant in a boot which he had decided to keep.  As soon as she saw this, her senses kicked in and a laser popped out, grabbing the plant as her eyes and soul disappeared.  This film manages to make the following scene both heart wrenching and humorous as we see Wall-E trying to encourage her to come back to life while protecting her.

From here, we see many antics taking place as Wall-E hops aboard a space ship to find out where EVE is from and to save her.  Without giving much more of the film away, the plant is the saving grace.  As long as they have the plant in the capsule, they will know that life can exist on Earth.  Every scene which follows is a captivating and wonderful one, as you quickly find yourself emotionally attached to each of the characters…except maybe AUTO, an evil computer who tries to take over the Captain’s duties to prevent the inhabitants from returning to Earth. 

The voice cast is brilliant.  Wall-E and M-O are voiced by Ben Burtt who has directed a few documentaries and worked in the sound department for many films including this year’s Lincoln and five of the six Star Wars films (Star Wars connection right there for ya, people).  The lovely but temperamental EVE is voiced by Elissa Knight who also gave us Tia in the 2006 hit Cars.  The determined captain is played by Jeff Garlin who has appeared in many television shows and films including this year’s ParaNorman and voicing Buttercup in 2010’s Toy Story 3.  John Ratzenberger makes his annual appearance in the Disney/Pixar film as the appropriately named human John.  The lady who John meets and is immediately attracted to is Mary, voiced by Kathy Najimy (remember Hocus Pocus?).  Fred Willard portrays the CEO of BnL known as Shelby Forthright and Sigourney Weaver voices the ship’s computer. 

Wall-E is directed by Andrew Stanton.  Stanton has directed for Finding Nemo and John Carter among others, and is currently in the middle of filming for Finding Nemo 2.  The film was written by Stanton, Pete Docter, and Jim Reardon.  Docter has directed for Up and Monsters Inc.  Reardon wrote for this year’s hit Wreck-It Ralph.  The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful infusing a couple of delightful songs from Hello Dolly which are “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” and “It Only Takes A Moment.”  We also hear the beautiful rendition of “La Vie En Rose” by Louis Armstrong.  The BnL song is even a ton of fun, but my favorite off the soundtrack plays during the credits which is “Down To Earth” by Peter Gabriel. 

FIVE FACTS:
1.)  Ben Burtt voiced most of the robots in the film.  Therefore, when Andrew Stanton met with Ben Burtt originally, he told him “I need you to be 80% of my cast!” 
2.)  This was the first Disney/Pixar film to be nominated for six Academy Awards.  The only other animated film to earn that many nods would be Disney’s 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast.
3.)  The working title for Wall-E was Trash Planet.
4.)  AUTO’s secret directive is A113, which is an inside joke of the animation department.  We see this code during every Disney/Pixar film, as well as a large number of Disney films.
5.)  Wall-E’s eyes were inspired by a pair of binoculars given to Andrew Stanton while he was watching an Athletics vs. Red Sox game.  He missed the entire first inning due to being distracted by these binoculars.

So I understand the message they are trying to get across to people in this film.  However, there is one issue which I have.  Did you notice that all of the people are overweight and panic if they fall out of their portable chairs?  I guess they couldn’t have made all of the inhabitants skinny but I don’t think the message of obesity had to come across the screen as strongly and as often as it did.  However, I was willing to overlook this flaw due to my love of every other aspect of the film.

My favorite scene is hard to choose because they are all so endearing.  My choice would likely be when EVE and Wall-E are “dancing” out in space while John and Mary excitedly watch.  I also love that Wall-E introduces himself to everyone, even when he is in pain.  It is rare that my favorite character of a film is the main star, but that is absolutely the case in this one.  Wall-E tugs at my heartstrings and melts my soul.  He is one of my favorite Disney characters in general right up there with Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Maximus from Tangled.

Wall-E is beautiful and sheer enjoyment.  Kids will enjoy the characters and adults will enjoy the storyline and depth of the characters’ feelings.  Personally, this is one of my favorite Disney/Pixar collaborations.  This is sheer gold and I hope they continue to release films of brilliance and genius such as this one.


My Rating:  5/5

Eeeeeee…va?

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