There hasn’t been too much parenting science in the news lately, so I thought I might continue the diversion and review Pixar’s latest movie, “WALL*E”. My 3.5 year old daughter and I went last night. Fair warning that there are some spoilers below…
WALL*E, the last robot and sentient being on planet Earth, happily bears the burden of cleaning a planet destroyed by waste and pollution. His functional directive is to scoop garbage into his body and compress it into a manageable cube. WALL*E has been compacting trash in his belly for so long that he’s become creative and started designing skyscrapers with the cubes of refuse. The towering trash not only shows how long WALL*E’s been performing his job, but their design also give us an ironic peek into the humanity that he’s been assimilating during that passage of time.
WALL*E’s only companion is a little cockroach… until Eve arrives. Eve, a sleek ipod-like robot, is nothing like the clunky, tanklike, cassette playing droid WALL*E. The dangerously beautiful Eve doesn’t play music; in fact, she emasculates anything she hears with a focused atomizer cannon. These two robots are opposites in every way, one a rusted trash compactor on tank treads, while the other is a glossy white pod that hovers effortlessly like an angel. A perfect love story.
Eve’s directive is to look for and capture any sign of biological life and take it back to the mothership. The movie really starts to cruise when the love-smitten WALL*E gives Eve a plant, which sends her into an unsettling fit of ecstasy. She captures the specimen in her womb and promptly shuts down. This plant represents so much more in the long run, a future for a dying planet as well as the biological lovechild of two robots. You can feel the angst that both parents go through when their ‘baby’ is almost aborted later in the film.
I won’t ruin the ending, but I will say that it’s satisfying. The plot gets really creative and surprising, finishing with a series of complex action-packed scenes that are alone worth every penny of the price of admission. The animation is so stunningly spectacular that my own daughter questioned whether WALL*E was a real robot or a cartoon. It was that hard to tell. Pixar created scenes packed with emotion, tension, laughter, and energy, and though it was slightly too intense for my little sweetie, we sat there with our mouths slack and our eyes bugged out, amazed at the smart and thoughtful creation displayed before us.
I highly recommend the film. It’s one of Pixar’s best!
*UPDATE: My brother hated this film and was annoyed that I wrote a glowing review. He was bugged that a kid’s movie had no dialogue to keep his son’s attention, and he didn’t find the plot to be entertaining enough to merit praise. So, buyer beware, I guess. 🙂