- User Rating: Very Good
Bang For The Buck
Pros:Wall-E, emotional core of the movie, made trash beautiful, breathtaking space scenery
Cons:copped out on perfect ending, scenes on ship push messages too hard
The Bottom Line: I liked Wall-E, but not nearly as much as I thought I would like it.
Wall-E is lonely. He's been left behind to clean up the planet while mankind moves on to pollute the next world. It's just Wall-E, a big heaping pile of junk, and an entire atmosphere full of noxious gases.
Wall-E spends his days filling up with junk and compressing it into blocks he uses to construct towers based on the designs of the skyscrapers around him. He scouts for items of interest first, bringing them home in his miniature cooler. There he has racks of Rubik's cubes and cigarette lighters and spare parts and his prize possession - a video tape of Hello, Dolly! he plays over and over again on an iPod he found.
One day, though, everything changes. A spaceship arrives carrying the sleek Eve, all curves and all business. She's searching for something and intent on nothing but finding it. Wall-E's in love and wants to sing and dance and hold hands just like in the movie. This is not exactly the start of a beautiful friendship. That will come later.
When Eve finds what she's looking for, her shuttle returns for her and immediately takes off. Wall-E hitches a ride by hanging on to the outside of the ship through thick and thin. It leads to the Axiom, a ship designed to spend five years in space while the Great Earth Cleanup progresses. It's been 700 years, though, and no one alive knows anything other than life in space with machines and float chairs to meet their every whim. By successfully completing her mission Eve initiated a process to return to Earth. Can these people even function on a planet? Is the Earth really ready for repopulation? Do they really want to return to a home none of them remember? Watch Wall-E and find out.
Although set on a grim, post-apocalyptic Earth, the beginning of Wall-E is delightful. Somehow the folks at Pixar managed to make mounds of trash visually appealing without changing any of their central characteristics. Wall-E shines with personality and curiosity and intelligence and humor without ever saying a word. His initial reactions to Eve are both hilarious and heartstoppingly emotional.
There is an emotional core to this movie that breathes through the machines, especially Wall-E and, to a lesser extent, Eve. It is the people who are uniform, tied to repetitive tasking, unable to exert themselves or think about much of anything. They just float along with their personal screen projectors on, requesting liquid food at will, and whittling away their days one after another after another. Wall-E is the catalyst to break this pattern, to change the unchanging landscape of the generational spaceship never meant to house humans in perpetuity.
Life aboard the ship is interesting, especially when viewed through Wall-E's eyes, but I thought they went just a bit too far in pushing the message of laziness bred by having all of your whims catered to immediately, the message that life and not just survival is important. While the views of Earth are in many ways bleaker, the anti-pollution message doesn't have the same type of overbearing feel to it. I think that's because Wall-E is so delightful he lightens the scenes enough to get the message through without being overwhelmingly negative. That doesn't work on the ship, perhaps because Wall-E is a stranger bungling his way through there rather than happily toiling away at home.
Wall-E had an emotional ending that brought the whole movie full circle, but at the last second the writers copped out and switched to a more conventional ending that was both much less believable and much less powerful. The original direction was slightly surprising, but the instant I saw it start to happen I instinctively went "yes!" and knew it was absolutely the right thing to do. That made the choice to back away much more painful. It's like reaching the cusp of the promised land then being dragged away back to mundane normality.
I liked Wall-E, but not nearly as much as I thought I would like it. It has a solid emotional core and some breathtaking landscapes both in the trash-laden Earth views and the space scenes. I was less enamored of the Axiom and felt the scenes there were more commonplace and a bit too intent on pushing messages rather than pushing story. I was still prepared to give the movie four stars, though, until the very end which was simply dreadful. I felt betrayed by the film once it backed down from concluding its initial ending. I still recommend seeing Wall-E, but be prepared to be disappointed and perhaps even angry. I was.
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Movie Mood: Feel-good Movie
Worst Part of this Film: Ending