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Wall-E

Wall-E

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

IT’S beginning to sound predictable but the latest movie from Pixar is another work of genius. Wall-E, like Ratatouille last year, takes a difficult premise and turns it into one of the most enchanting family movies of the year.

After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for Wall-E (or Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class) discovers a new purpose in life when he meets a sleek search-robot named Eve. Eve has been sent to Earth to find traces of life so that humanity can re-populate the planet, but she quickly comes to realise that Wall-E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to Earth’s future.

When she retrieves the evidence she heads back to her mother ship, unaware that she has taken the smitten Wall-E in tow. And his relentless pursuit of happiness and companionship could well contribute to the survival of mankind.

Directed by Andrew Stanton (of Finding Nemo fame), Wall-E is one of the most striking movies you’re likely to see in a long, long time. And it can be appreciated on so many levels, no matter how old the viewer.

The first half of the movie is practically dialogue free as Wall-E goes about his business on a deserted, unpopulated Earth with only a cockroach for company. When Eve finally does arrive, the two embark on a near-wordless whirlwind romance.

But the beauty of Pixar’s imagery is such that viewers will be utterly captivated without the need for a script. Wall-E’s courtship is both funny and increasingly poignant with simple gestures – such as his overriding desire to hold robot hands – speaking volumes.

Once in space, the relationship moves to a much more epic level and, admittedly, the film then stumbles slightly when dealing with the humans, who are much less interesting. But even then its ideas are never less than intriguing.

Mankind, it appears, has been evacuated to space and been tricked into a vegetative existence by the robots, who have no desire to send them back to Earth. And it’s then that Wall-E switches from gentle love story to a contemplative piece on the nature of the environment and mankind’s over-reliance on machines.

Crucially, however, Stanton doesn’t seek to preach or over-sentimentalise, preferring to let the images – and especially Wall-E – speak for themselves.

It’s a brilliant piece of filmmaking that recalls many influences, from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, not to mention the silent classics and the golden era of the musical. And yet you don’t have to be a film geek to get the references.

Elsewhere, the film is merely content to charm on its own merits, with a sequence involving Wall-E, Eve and a fire extinguisher in space surely one of the most beautifully realised of the year.

In many ways, Wall-E is an incredibly sad experience with Wall-E’s loneliness and mankind’s laziness appearing as driving factors throughout. But it’s another aspect of Pixar’s magic that such deep issues can co-exist so comfortably with an uplifting sense of optimism and hope.

Wall-E will undoubtedly break your heart in places but it’s also just as likely to have you crying tears of joy. It’s another master-class in movie making that really shouldn’t be missed.

Certificate: U
Running time: 103mins (with short)
UK DVD Release Date: November 24, 2008