Sometime in the near, but distant future, the Earth will be filled with trash and the waste built up over the years by humans and monopolizing companies. All human life has evacuated to a spaceship run by robots that excessively feed, entertain and think for them. Meanwhile, back on Earth, trash collectors are hard at work to rid the planet of all its garbage so that humans can return in a timely five years. Unfortunately, this supposed five-year plan has extended to 700 years, and while humans have long forgotten about life on Earth, all the trash collectors have rusted away or shut down, except for one—Wall-E.
Disney/Pixar’s new animated film “Wall-E” tells the story of a small trash collector alone on the planet Earth that finds comfort in the trinkets he finds in the garbage longing for love and a companion to share his life with. Wall-E is a very timid, friendly robot that cannot live without his show tunes and spends his days compacting trash, collecting trinkets and returning to a home decorated with all of his findings. The only contact he has with anything living is a blithe cockroach, the supposed true inheritors of the Earth. Wall-E spends every night watching a recording from the musical “Hello Dolly!” and he desires the affection displayed by the characters, which is expressed through their hand-holding.
It seems as though Wall-E’s prayers are answered when a spaceship sends a robot named Eve to scour the Earth for any life forms and to see if the planet can be restored. Although Wall-E fears Eve and her dangerous weaponry, he follows her around and tries to catch her eye. He eventually succeeds after he saves her from a dangerous dust storm.
Wall-E shows Eve all of his prized possessions, including his newest finding, a small plant growing in a boot. This triggers Eve’s “directive” mode as she encapsulates the plant and goes into hibernation mode. Wall-E has no idea what has happened, but takes care of Eve until the spaceship returns to take her away. He then jumps onboard to take part in an adventure to a new place where he risks his life to save all mankind, and to show his love for Eve.
Though there is no doubt “Wall-E” has a “green” agenda, its overall themes of simple love and heroism shine through and literally save the world. The movie contains very little dialogue, with Wall-E’s most used phrase being “EEEEVVVEEE!” but it still provides movie goers with a complete understanding of the plot. Most of the dialogue comes from the human characters, who are all comically too rotund to even walk and travel about their spaceship in hovering seats, drinking all their meals and living their lives through a virtual screen that feeds them information. Some familiar voices come from actor John Ratzenberger, who has been in numerous Disney/Pixar animations like Toy Story (1995), Cars (2006) and Ratatouille (2007). Ratzenberger plays John, a human who after meeting Wall-E, begins to notice the world around him and begins to appreciate the little things he had never noticed before. Also, Academy Award-nominated actress Sigourney Weaver is the voice of the ship’s computer, which teaches the captain of the ship about the foreign land known as Earth.
By far the most memorable and hilarious characters in this film are the malfunctioned robots. When Wall-E and Eve are sent to the repair center, Wall-E enters a room full of machines that have been institutionalized for their malfunctions. Here, a robot that uncontrollably rolls paint onto any neighboring surface, a lawn-mowing robot that terrorizes unsuspecting objects and an umbrella robot that flips upward form an unlikely crew, helps Wall-E and stops the “sane” robots from starting a mutiny with the humans. Another comical character is a maintenance robot, whose screen alerts him that Wall-E is a “foreign object” that must be scrubbed clean so he spends the entire movie reluctantly cleaning tracks made by Wall-E around the space ship.
Wall-E is definitely an enjoyable movie for people at any age, and its messages of love and the power of recycling are easily understood and beautifully conveyed through a small, likeable and heroic robot that really could save the world.