Kid Tested – Uncle Approved: “Wall-E” (2008)

Wall-eFor some reason, I had it in my head that there was a rule I couldn’t review newer Disney movies. Then I remembered I made this series up and I can do whatever I want. So here’s Disney-Pixar’s “WALL-E”!

Set in the distant but eerily possible future, Earth has become uninhabitable due to our extravagant waste, so the world’s largest corporation, Buy-N-Large, has shuttled mankind into space while robots stay behind to clean up the mess. Our story begins with a small waste allocation load lifter class E, aka WALL-E, cleaning up as he does every day. He loads a pile of garbage into his trash compactor body, presses out a cube, and then stacks those cubes in neat and sometimes skyscraper-ly-high piles. He has done this day in and day out for years and seems to be the only one left. He’s also a collector of treasures and keeps them in his home, a large broken down WALL-E transport truck in the outskirts of the city. He lives there with the only other living creature we see on Earth, a cockroach.

One day while working, WALL-E finds something he’s never seen before: a plant. A short time later, a large ship lands nearby and releases an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, or EVE droid, whom scans everything in the area, searching for life. WALL-E is immediately enamored by her and follows her around while she’s working, until a sandstorm hits and he takes her back to his truck for shelter. While there, she learns of the plant and goes into hibernation mode until her ship returns. WALL-E, not understanding what’s happened, believes her to be malfunctioning and tries everything from solar recharging to hot-wiring to wake her up. When nothing seems to work, he makes the most of it and shows her all his favorite places and things, and even takes her on a romantic “gondola” ride in a shopping cart on top of a tractor tire. Such a romantic.

When her ship returns. WALL-E begins an out-of-this-world adventure back to the BnL mothership, the Axiom, where mankind has survived in lazy, morbidly obese ignorance for over 700 years. The retrieval of a living specimen activates the ship’s return sequence, but it is thwarted by the autopilot robot, aka Auto, due to previous protocol from BnL CEO Shelby Forthright (Fred Willard) to not to return to Earth because “Operation Clean-Up” had failed. Meanwhile, WALL-E has been sent to maintenance for fear of malfunction and in need of a deep-clean. With the help of a rag-tag group of misfit robots, EVE and WALL-E must stop at nothing to get the plant into the holo-detector and return the Axiom to Earth.

There are four notable human characters in this movie. The rest are robots. And they are ADORABLE. Many years ago, before “Toy Story” and before Pixar was Pixar, the head creators met for lunch and had a conversation about a number of stories they wanted to tell. One of them was “What if robots had feelings?” And thus, “WALL-E”. The love story in this is so pure and simple: two creatures who didn’t know they were looking for love find it in each other. Characters like M-O (Microbe-Obliterator) and the aforementioned immortal cockroach add even more laughs to this heart-warming and delightful tale. Jeff Garlan voices the Captain and plays beautifully off the nefarious Auto Pilot (voiced by Mackintosh. Yeah, the computer voice). And we can’t forget John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven from “Cheers” and every Pixar movie) as one of the other humans who speaks in the movie.

Who’d have thought a fun movie about a robot cleaning up Earth then having adventures in outer space could contain such a vivid and poignant warning for the potential fate of our planet if we don’t curtail our wasteful and reckless lifestyles? Disney-Pixar knocked it out of the park with “WALL-E” and eight years later, it holds up perfectly as one of their best films to date. If you haven’t seen it, see it.

Snack Packs

 

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Snack Packs

Lincoln L. Hayes is an actor and filmmaker living in Vermont. Follow his work at http://www.lincolnlhayes.com.

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