The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Wall-E

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Jacqueline Monahan

Wall-E

Las Vegas Round The Clock - http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an English tutor for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also a consultant for Columbia College Chicago in Adjunct Faculty Affairs
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Nothing like a little trash compactor to inject conscience and heart into a deserted world. Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class – WALL-E (Ben Burtt, Voice) is the star of animation wizard Pixar’s latest effort, and he’s the guru of garbage. Earth looks like the aftermath of one huge frat party. The inhabitants have abandoned the planet some 700 years hence, releasing a small army of Wall-E units to clean up the mess.

Our hero, the last operational Wall-E, reports for work bright and early each morning to the littered streets of a large metropolis, where the refuse is so plentiful that after he crushes it into little squares, he can stack them into huge columns that rival the height of skyscrapers. He’s his own boss, accompanied by a friendly cockroach that Pixar manages to make so likeable that the audience gasped audibly when they thought he’d been injured early in the film.

The little robot is lonely but industrious, putting in a day’s work organizing garbage while collecting treasures that he encounters along the way. A hubcap, a light bulb, bubble wrap and a Rubik’s cube all qualify, and WALL-E dutifully stores them in his home, the interior of a large garbage truck rigged with electricity. WALL-E is sentimental, and plays a video musical dance number and love scene (from Barbra Streisand’s Hello Dolly!) over and over again. His prized hubcap becomes a straw hat as he tries to imitate the dancing he observes. Although the little cockroach is a companion, WALL-E longs for someone or something more along the lines of his peer group.

When a large unmanned space probe lands in the city and disgorges a shiny, white, egg-shaped pod before departing, Wall-E is instantly smitten with the blue-eyed, hovering pod named Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, or EVE (Elissa Knight, voice). EVE scours the city for any sign of life and is capable of great destruction if threatened. Worshiping her from afar, the hidden WALL-E is almost blown to bits before they meet, become friends and share WALL-E’s treasures, a light bulb to illuminate just by holding it, bubble wrap to pop, and a Rubik’s cube that EVE can figure out in seconds.

The pair of machines becomes closer. Wall E and EVE repeat each other’s names dozens of times, the only real dialogue in the entire first half of the film. A word is cleverly placed here or there, but Pixar’s charming animation is the star.

When WALL-E shares his latest treasure with EVE, a tiny plant growing out of an old soil-filled work boot, he unwittingly sets off a chain of events that will change the world.

The plant triggers EVE’s directive to find life; she confiscates the plant and retreats into a mode which summons the probe back to Earth to collect her and the specimen. WALL-E does not want his new friend to leave and hitchhikes a ride into space by latching on to the probe for its journey back to the mother ship, called The Axiom, which is home to the last existing human beings.

Earthlings have over the past seven hundred years become obese to the point of resembling spheres in tight blue or red jumpsuits who float around in hover chairs, bombarded by advertising and drinking concoctions like Cupcake in a Cup. Manual labor has never been heard of, and in the event that one of them falls out of their chair, robot aides must lift them back to their useless feet; otherwise they’ll flail like upended turtles.

Limited dialogue is introduced, with rotund humans John (John Ratzenberger, voice) and Mary (Kathy Najimy, voice) meeting by accident through WALL-E, who tries to keep out of sight while searching for EVE. The rest of the film concerns The Axiom returning to Earth when the Captain (Jeff Garlin, voice) discovers EVE’s specimen. Powerful robot Autopilot (Sigourney Weaver, voice) has a directive of its own, delivered seven centuries before from the last CEO of industry conglomerate Buy N Large, Shelby Forthright (Fred Willard): abandon Earth and never return. WALL-E, EVE and the Captain must overcome determined security robots, a nearly hypnotized, media-saturated populace and an ominous Autopilot to steer the ship back to Earth. Along the way, WALL-E is damaged and loses his memory. Humans must slowly learn how to use their legs again.

Academy Award winning writer/director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and the inventive technicians at Pixar Animation Studios (Cars, Ratatouille) transport moviegoers with literally stellar visuals and memorable characters in this creative cautionary tale about waste, sloth, and love in unlikely places. Reviewers can’t summon words to replace the visuals on this one; it must be seen to be appreciated.

Walt Disney always did promote clean living. Four decades after his death, a little robot, almost a namesake, makes sure that legacy lives on.