Last Saturday, we went to see WALL-E with our 4 year old niece. It’s the story of an ordinary cleaning robot (WALL-E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) that, well, keeps cleaning a city on earth long after humans have left earth. Humans left earth because they had turned it into a garbage heap. They have all run away from earth when it got too messy on a spaceship operated by a giant business corporation – the same corporation that ran earth aground. The escapees hope that once earth fixes herself, humans can all come back and re-colonize. Since many generations pass on Spaceship, the current generation has a hard time recognizing this purpose. And they are not helped by the Auto-pilot that decides earth is crap and there’s no point returning. Caught in the grand backdrop is the life and love of our little robot hero.
The story is simple as expected. It has an environmental message for children. I am not keen on messages (Disney obviously disagrees) in artistic endeavors. So, I’ll skip talking about this.
What’s great about the movie is the excellent animation sequences. There’s some impressive rendering of earth is all it’s glorious future muck – including near-earth filled with orbital debris and a city (New York?) with piles of crushed junk packed by WALL-E into towering skyscrapers of crap. There’s a bit of science, mostly notable for it’s glaring omissions. A sample of the omissions:-
-humans have been traveling in space for 700 years. A robot (Eva, the heroine) sent to find if life has re-started on earth comes back with good news. Why didn’t humans just hang about in the vicinity while earth recovered instead of going into cold and cruel interstellar space no one will tell you. You see, if they tell you that they can’t use the hyper-space kaleidoscope footage.
-humans lead a charmed life on the Spaceship. Who pays for it is a question you can’t ask, because if you do, you won’t get to see all the cool gadgets and stuff on the spaceship. Besides, if you ask, how can you enjoy the cliches about future humans – you know, things like humans losing bone mass and becoming blobs of flesh perpetually connected to a wired world served by all kinds of bots….
Fortunately, this is a kids movie and kids have their priorities right. As long as WALL-E keeps bumping onto things and rolling in a funny way, no one would think of these questions.
That said, this is a great animation movie with impressive imagination (Pixar’s hand here). Adults can watch it for this reason. For kids, this is another robot movie with clean entertainment and an environmental message (Disney’s hand here).
Oh, and nobody recognized the music WALL-E played upon reboot in the theater where I watched.