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WALL-E (2008)

After 700 years of doing what he was built for - he'll discover what he's meant for

Directed by:

Andrew Stanton

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U

The trailers and commercials for WALL-E really don’t tell the whole story. Kind of cute and a little funny, they were no preparation for Pixar’s stunningly beautiful science fiction love story. There are no easily marketable characters here; WALL-E himself is cuddly in an E.T. as a robot sort of way, but with a true love that looks like an iPod crossed with one of those Fisher Price Little People toys and a best friend that’s a cockroach, there aren’t a lot of merchandising opportunities. What you’re left with is a truly remarkable film that transcends the kiddie flick and emerges as a sci-fi classic.

The first clue that this isn’t necessarily a movie geared towards the typical animation audience comes within the first 40 or so minutes, in which there is virtually no dialogue – that means no wisecracking sidekicks, no breaking into song, and no clever tag lines. During that time, we meet our hero WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class), a robot that has been left on earth, still in working condition, performing the clean up tasks he was programmed to do. Seems the humans abandoned the planet hundreds of years earlier when it became uninhabitable and are now traveling through the universe on intergalactic cruise ships where they are waited on by robots and have slowly morphed into mindless and gelatinous consumers with very little bone structure. WALL-E, however, has made a life for himself compacting Earth’s leftover trash and watching Hello Dolly! over and over. Enter EVE, an exploratory robot sent to search out any forms of life that might signal the planet can once again support life. WALL-E sees EVE, WALL-E loves EVE, and when WALL-E presents EVE with a small but very much alive sproutling of a plant, she is whisked back to her home ship for examination – and, of course, he follows. Adventure and chaos ensue.

What sets WALL-E apart from most of its peers is that, despite the fact that it is, indeed, a cartoon, it stays away from all the cliches. Even better, its “message” about our over-reliance on technology and our mistreatment of the environment is in no way preachy or forced. Having made a career out of humanizing characters who may not at first glance seem the best choice for such treatment (think fish in Finding Nemo and monsters in Monsters, Inc.), writer and director Andrew Stanton finds ways to make us love WALL-E, a robot who barely speaks and looks a bit dirty, more than seems possible. WALL-E’s devotion to EVE drives this film, and while kids will definitely be entertained by his sometimes slapstick antics and childlike wonder, adults will be moved by the little guy’s heart and the film’s keen eye. It’s been said before, but this is a movie for all ages.

It's Got: More heart and humanity than a movie about robots should have, remarkable animation, and all the makings of a sci-fi classic.

It Needs: A different marketing campaign.


Ratatouille, The Iron Giant, Toy Story


Once again, Pixar has crafted an Oscar-worthy film in a genre a lot of people dismiss as kid’s stuff. No mere cartoon, WALL-E delivers on all levels AND packs in some pretty relevant statements on the state of the world to boot. Plus, it’s quite possibly the best love story of the year.

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