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.
Freedom is Slavery - Big Brother.
Not even close. What do you have? A yard about as big as a postage stamp? Either that or you're retired and have time to get out there and waste your time. Gas blower....best yard tool ever for cleanup and closin' out! Screw the neighbors...
I thought it was Short Circuit II when I saw the preview.
I seen the trailers and this is the stupidest, corniest, cheesy, 80s-Spielbergesque garbage I have ever seen. I mean, seriously, the movie reminds me of that stupid 80s movie “Short Circuit”, pure 100% cheese. I was hoping Disney would do a sequel to “Cars” or “The Incredibles.”
I loved it, too. Hope I'm not spoiling anyone, but people were the GOOD guys. The writers took the time to place a few scenes showing that the humans weren't really automatons without feelings...just VERY distracted. Possible, considering how much time I personally spend on line...! ;-)
I saw it this morning with my son. I thought it was a good movie. Why? Well told, well animated, and a good story. I won’t spoil it, but there is an age-old story of redemption in there, as well.
Note to all you freepers who are panning this movie because it reminds you of some old Speilberg flick: PLEASE be clear to the rest of us whether or not you have actually seen the movie, or if you are basing your opinions on trailers. I'm not trying to be snotty. I really do trust the judgement of most freepers when it comes to movies--that they have actually seen.
I’m glad you found my comments helpful, and I hope you and your family enjoy the movie.
I remember “Short Circuit” pretty well. Johnny 5 was a military robot who was struck by lightning and developed emotions. He wanted to learn (”need imput!”) and didn’t want to hurt anything or anyone. Wall-E’s design is VERY similar to Johnny 5 — goggle eyes, two treads, arms, voice — but that’s where the similarities end. Wall-E is more like a salvage R2D2 and uses his laser for cutting metal to make compacting it easier. In Wall-E’s case, his binocular eyes are what conveys his emotions — Johnny 5 had an actual voice and vocabulary. He’s beat up, scratched, dinged, dented and has replaced his own parts repeatedly, whereas Johnny 5 was state of the military art.
To be honest, I loved Eve more. A cool chick robot with a sleek design, laser weapon and a temper! Her emotions translate so well, especially when she’s sent for repair. I was really laughing over that scene.
Don’t take it too seriously and have a lot of fun!
You are welcome. It’s kind of a simple story, so I can’t say too much without spoiling it. I hope you and your family enjoy it. My sons did - and they’re 20 and 15 years old. : )
Yup. The first thing my son did after seeing the movie was look online to see if there is an Eve action figure that shoots.
I saw Wall·E Today, and that's exactly what came to my mind. The humans on the space ship are what most would become in an Obama presidency.
I'm guessing this reviewer didn't bother to hang around for the end credits...
Try to get to see both. They're equally entertaining, with good stories to boot.
I told my wife that Eve personified femininity, in every way!
I saw it today. You couldn’t be more wrong. This is ‘Brave New World’ style satire that has more in common with 2001 than Toy Story. For better or worse. It’s a huge gamble for a film like this which I’m guessing will bore most young kids.
I guess they do, but I didn't make the connection until you spelled it out.
Great movie, incidentally. Wall-E and EVE are two of the most entertaining characters I've seen in just about any movie ever.
Overall, not as good as "The Incredibles" (what is?) but easily up there with "Finding Nemo."
I do. I saw the same thing. Granted, the obvious green propaganda was ‘bleh’, but I saw an interesting message. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The robots = big government, willing to do whatever it takes (i.e. stealing the plant from EVE and WALL-E) to keep the people subservient to them.
The humans = people on welfare, reduced to a slovenly, obese state where there’s no incentive to do anything because everything’s taken care of. Why waste the effort?
Then along comes WALL-E, and people see there are other things. Case in point; when two people finally start seeing things differently, their suits morph from Democrat Blue to Republican Red. ;)
True, the whole ‘green’ angle was annoying, but I actually found a redeeming message of individualism and conservatism underneath it all.
It’s a lot more ambitious than either. I’m surprised it got made. You don’t see big budget Big Studio Art films too often.
My 3 grand kids just loved this movie. This is going to be a huge summer hit. Look past the “Green” message and just enjoy a good G rated movie for both kids and adults.
So G, did you see it?
We did. Loved it. This writer’s just trying ‘way too hard to be Different.
Thanks for the input!
‘Wall-E’ Trailer Makes Woman Cry, Every Time
Funny, I saw the same movie and came away with an entirely different reaction. I hated it.
Where you saw victims of government largesse, I saw fat lazy slobs, thoroughly unconnected to one another, lost in their own little worlds of advertising and consumerism. The evil corporation was only too happy to cash in. But the humans weren’t portrayed as the victims....Earth was. Even the space outside Earth was totally littered with debris...put there by humans, of course.
I can see your perspective. It just wasn’t how I saw the movie. My take was very similar to the reviewer’s.
OTH, Kung Fu Panda surprised me immensely. The beautiful animation alone makes it worth seeing.
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