In some strange twist of Fate, the local release of recent Pixar movies always had us here twiddling our thumbs wondering when it'll finally make its way to the screens, while we hear the accolades ring from the rest of the world in marvelling at the quality that Pixar continually churns out. It's likely that the distributors want to coincide the release with the local school holidays, but frankly, the money also comes from the adult crowd, as testament to this full house in one of the largest screens downtown during a late night screening with nary a noisy kid in tow.
And I may sound like a broken record, but Pixar has done it again. Quality stories with quality animation, and it kept the run time to a manageable under 100 minutes, compared to the previous offering Ratatouille, which clocked near 120 minutes (or actually felt that long). I never expected WALL·E to pack in such a strong emotional punch, not that Pixar has never animated non-living objects before (such as Cars), but there's a certain child like innocence appeal that WALL·E possesses, that makes him very charming, and very endearing to the audience.
As a Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-Class, Isaac Asimov's Robot directives has him firmly and dutifully carrying out his duties of compacting Earth's rubbish, as the last of its class on Earth to clean up the mess. Humans have now polluted the world so much that they took to Space in Star Trek inspired ship designs, to live out there while WALL·Es take over to do some massive spring cleaning. Until of course, our WALL·E becomes like The Last Man, erm, Robot on Earth with a cockroach companion, acting and emoting superbly that puts Will Smith to shame.
The fantastic thing about WALL·E is that it can tell so much by so little. The first few minutes establish everything we need to know about the current world, and paints a very humanistic, soulful value to the dusty, dirty and rickety robot. He (see what I mean?) has a lot of eccentricities, and in performing his duties, develops quirks and becomes a collector (of junk) of sorts, which allows the creators to pump in plenty of sight gags and inside jokes ranging from sound effects (I swear my Apple is now a WALL·E pre-cursor) to paying homage to movies such as 2001: A Space Odessey.
In essence, WALL·E is a love story in human terms, where the boy tries hard to get the girl, only to have her spurn his advances. EVE (which stands for Extraterrestial Vegetation Evaluator) is WALL·E's object of affection, who got sent to Earth as a probe for life. And my, she's a difficult one to handle, being state of the art, as well as packing a mean self-defense mechanism that makes breaking the ice really difficult. Not to mention as well, a fiery temper to boot. Which means our guy has to really try, and try hard, to break that wall down. Poor thing really, because all he wanted to do, was to hold her hand. The Beatles would have been proud.
But of course you'll have to throw in tougher adversary and events to make it all the more worthwhile in WALL·E's pursuit of EVE, which spans lightyears and a plant that becomes the catalyst for their romance. A lot of the movie takes place on board The Axiom, the human ship where a vision of the future is presented, which metaphorically holds a mirror up to ourselves in our over reliance in technology that we're beginning to grow sideways, and not noticing the things that nature has in store for us, human to human communication, and the things that matter. It also has an soft environmental message and stance thrown in, but done so subtly that you wouldn't feel that it's being preachy and a turn off.
I hate to admit it too that the movie turned me into a big softie, especially its cliched finale, where you know what will happen, but yet want to second guess if the filmmakers could be so heartless with an ending that I thought would really make me shed a tear. However, it's Disney after all, and when you think of merchandise opportunities, then business sense prevails.
WALL·E deserves every acclaim that it's got, and let me contribute mine too. If you have time to only watch one animated movie this year, or want to bring your kids to one, then make no mistake, WALL·E is the perfect choice, without a doubt, hands down. It makes it to my books as contender for the top 10 movies of the year. Highly recommended stuff, and the leads don't even speak much save to call out to each other!
Oh, do put your bum on the seat early too, as with all Pixar features, there's always a short that preluded it, and Presto is nothing short of hilarious, and a crowd pleaser to rouse the audience into a frenzy before the main act takes over. I guess it's high time I purchase the collection of Pixar shorts available on DVD as well.