What better topic for a new kiddie-friendly Pixar movie than the destruction of Earth’s eco-system through over population and the subsequent evacuation of the planet by the entire human race? Thankfully WALL-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class), the star of the new movie, is on hand to make the subject slightly more palatable.
WALL-E has been abandoned by humanity and his robotic colleagues, doomed to collect and recycle tons of waste that, when successfully removed, will one day lead to the return of the world’s population from space. While on duty one day, WALL-E is interrupted by the appearance of a scouting ship containing a flying droid – EVE – which goes on to search for life on the planet.
Having recently recovered a single flower during his work, WALL-E soon gives EVE the result she needed by handing it to her. Her subsequent return to the scout ship, and subsequently to the mother ship, is heartbreaking for WALL-E who has fallen in love with EVE. Now he must show her that he loves her and somehow get back to Earth…
Though the summary may sound convoluted, its execution is a joy to watch, as WALL-E and EVE interact with each other via a series of one word responses, usually just their names. Words aren’t needed for much of the film, the beauty of the visuals and the clarity of the plot carrying the viewer through.
WALL-E is a simple-yet-brave little fella, his collection of items from his daily routine giving him some reason to continue. He also has a love of old musicals, and I won’t spoil the revelation here of just which one he’s so in love with, but it’s a lovely moment of humanity in a world bereft of humans.
When the human race does finally put in an appearance it has become a shadow of its former self, a bloated, lazy and lethargic mass of fast food consuming bores. Sadly it’s not too much of a stretch for the imagination to consider that the current obesity crisis facing us could lead to what we see here.
With animation that is often epic in scale, humour that is never vulgar or OTT and a musical score that underplays the on-screen drama rather than drowning it out, WALL-E is a rare success: an animated movie with a message that appeals to both adults and children without ever preaching.
And it makes cockroaches look cute.
Review by Jonathan Melville
Image courtesy EIFF