Skip to comments.(Movie Review) "WALL-E" ["This kid flick perhaps the most cynical & darkest Disney movie ever]
Posted on 06/27/2008 6:17:45 AM PDT by yankeedame
June 27, 2008 - by Kyle Smith
WALL-E is a cornucopia of filth, dust, rust and roaches, but if I wanted all of that Id go back to my first New York City apartment. Compared to other kid flicks (or adult flicks, or even Ingmar Bergman flicks), this is one Gloom-E piece of work.
WALL-E is the last (sort of) living creature on earth, a bedraggled and lonesome robot who spends his days in a befouled metropolis that makes the one in I Am Legend look like Oz.
The earth has been made uninhabitable by junk and pollution, its skies as brown as a bad day in Beijing, but at least apocalypse provides a good living: the job for which WALL-E is programmed is to gather up rubbish, compact it into cubes, and stack those as high as skyscrapers.
As the trashopolis rises around him, he spends his spare time arranging his favorite salvaged items (a Rubiks Cube, a spork) and watching an old videotape (jury-rigged to play through an iPod) of Hello, Dolly. WALL-Es living quarters amount to a tool shed of despair, although by the standards of New York City circa 2008, its merely a fixer-upper with lots of potential.
A more advanced flying probe-bot sent to Earth for reasons unknown has feminine curves and lovely blue eyes that leave WALL-E smitten, though except for her habit of laser-zapping any suspicious object she could be one of those white bullet-shaped trash canisters youd see at a snack bar.
When she and WALL-E start to beep sweet nothings at each other, she has a higher-pitched tone than he does and says her name is Eva, so WALL-E is confirmed to be a heterobot.
The two of them wind up at a space station that houses the remnants of the human race. At this point the film, previously dingy and dark, goes matte black.
The earthlings or maybe Americans, as none of them have any other kind of accent are brain-dead blobs perpetually stuffed to the gills with entertainment. They never leave their spotless flying barcaloungers and never could, since their bones have shrunk to useless twigs inside their Shrek-like masses.
They float through their troglodyte lives as unquestioning subjects of the master corporation (the same one that ruined the Earth) that houses them, distracts them and feeds them. All foods are made to be sucked down like milkshakes for maximum convenience.
Its hard to see how a Disney-certified happy ending can result from this, and the answer is it really cant.
This is perhaps the most cynical and darkest big-budget Disney film ever, and an artistic gamble on the scale of Fantasia, which initially flopped despite critical acclaim. Pixar is now acting like Disneys senior partner.
Perhaps never before has any corporation spent so much money on insulting its customers WALL-E is expected to be the years  most heavily promoted film.
The meatball humans in WALL-E are like customers passively being served up a fake existence at the Magic Kingdom (which readily provides wheelchairs for not merely the afflicted but also the obese and the simply lazy), snorfling up the latest wows in an entirely artificial setting where every beverage and hotel room brings profits to the same corporation.
And Disney paved over a few thousand acres of Florida wetlands to build Walt Disney World in the first place.
How paying customers will react to being told theyre porky slobs, or are headed in that direction (WALL-E is set 800 years in the future) will depend on how closely the people in the audience ignore the people on screen and concentrate on WALL-E and Eva.
The robots are cute but limited by a lack of dialogue, and their storylines essentially consist of a lot of Buster Keaton-style slapstick as a variety of evil machines try to steal from them a small plant from Earth that they brought with them as evidence that the planet is inhabitable again.
That poses a threat to the corporation that is generating so much profit from its captive audience on the space station.
WALL-E isnt much of a character, though, and the conflicts in the film are not only slow to develop but have hazily-defined stakes.
Regardless of what happens with the plant, regardless of whether a HAL 9000-like computer named Otto and the corporation he represents succeed in convincing the puppet captain of the space ship that there is no reason to return to Earth, the planet is essentially beyond hope.
The repeated allusions to 2001 (including some musical cues which are now trite) reminded me of how much more human Stanley Kubricks film was; Dave Bowman, unlike the space station captain in WALL-E, was resourceful and dynamic, not a blubbery idiot, and his adventure was leading to a mighty payoff, not a possible trip back to an apoca-landfill.
What will the humans do to rebuild on Earth if they go back to it anyway? They are about as skilled as crash-test dummies.
Those who go to WALL-E expecting a mechanical E.T. should be prepared instead to inhale the fumes of an almost sulfurous satire.
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
2.5 stars/ 4
97 minutes/Rated G
I have seen a lot of promos for this one, and I gotta say, I was not looking forward to it. For one thing, the fembot looks like it was designed for easy CGI and makes no physical sense, whatsoever. Pixar is great when it represents real things in an unreal world. This character just does not look in any way real.
The other impression I got was that it was unremittingly dark. This is borne out by this review. I will see it anyway, of course. Little choice in the matter, you know...
From Christianity Today:
Moring: OK, but why were the humans on the space station all fat and riding around in their hovering lounge chairs?
Stanton (director): I wasn’t trying to make the humans into fat, lazy consumers, but to make humanity appear to be completely consumed by everything that can distract youto the point where they lost connection with each other, even though they’re right next to each other. The reason I made them look like big babies was because a NASA guy told me that they haven’t yet simulated gravity perfectly for long-term residency in space. And if they don’t get it just right, atrophy kicks in and you begin to lose your muscle toneyou just turn into a blob of goo. For a while, that’s what I did with the humans in the movie; they were just big blobs of Jell-O. But it was so bizarre, we had to pull it back. So I said, well, let’s just make them look like big babies. That’s where all that came from.
I wasn’t trying to make some sort of mean-spirited comment on consumerism or today’s society. I was going with just the logic of what would happen if you were in a perpetual vacation with no real purpose in life. So I went with the idea that we’d become sort of big babies with no reason to grow up. I definitely saw humanity as victims of this system that they were in. They were just big babies that needed to stand on their own two feet.
The last thing I’m going to do is try to make a message movie!
(I don’t think I believe him.)
Me? I’m going back to see Iron Man.
Went to see Kung Foo Panda (which was pretty good) and saw the previews to this. It didn’t seem like it was that good but I told the kids we could come back and see it (personally love going to the drive-in myself). We’ll see.
Not a bad message if you are going to give one to kids. "Don't take the easy way, it just makes you weak and useless."
The Incredibles was one of the most Conservative movies of the last decade, so I think I'll wait to pass judgement on this same group of filmmakers.
Did they at least save money by recycling the robot from Short Circuit? (#5 if memory serves...)
I thought this was about the Red Sox mascot.
I think what bothered me about the director’s statement was “I saw humanity as victims...” Looking at history, in general, people were/are problem solvers.
But I agree with your points. We are going to see Wall-E today and we’ll judge for ourselves.
This reviewer liked it well enough, and I usually find him pretty reliable....
When The State provides for us all, things will be better.
I enjoyed the movie. I was concerned when I watched the first scene, but the movie is mostly a love story with triumph over adversity. The animation was beautiful.
Never bet against Pixar. And I assume that John Ratzenberger made his usual Pixar appearance in this one.
On KVI this morning they had the movie reviewer on, and he reviewed this movie. He always approaches his reviews from a Conservative and Christian point of view. He ~loved~ the movie and thought it was one of the better movies of the year. I’ve found myself agreeing with him about previous movies.
So... I’ll reserve judgment until later. I don’t know if I would see this one in the theater anyway. Usually I wait for the DVD. But maybe.
Yes, he’s there. It’s a cute, but pretty small, role.
Considering that PIXAR was at least at one time radically pro-abortion (they wouldn’t lease prints of their short films to theaters in some states that held the wrong politics on abortion), it would seem that the death of all people is a goal they actually could see as a positive thing.
I’ve got to have a laugh about all of the “greenie weenie” communist kiddies.
Here they are pro-bike, pro-vegan (it’s better for the environment, you see), pro-abortion, anti-war for oil, pro—war for Palestine/Darfur/Zimbabwe.
But in the midst of all of this, they are also bringing back the spirit of hording records (made with plastics from “fossil” fuels) and have brought us a vinyl toy collecting boom. The anti-capitalists are actually quite materialistic and consumer minded.
They are unique just like everybody else.
And they waste oil. Just like those guys with the leaf blowers who would be more effective if they’d just use a friggin’ broom.
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