Review by Elliott
Too much garbage in your face? There’s plenty of space out in space! BnL StarLiners leaving each day. We’ll clean up the mess while you’re away.
This is called farming! You kids are gonna grow all kinds of plants! Vegetable plants, pizza plants.
Back in 2008, Pixar put out it’s 9th feature film, about a lonely robot, left on earth to forever clean up garbage. After seeing this the first time, I sort of thought that the movie was trying to make some points about how man is destroying the earth, but I was wrong. Despite having some environmental themes, the goal of the director was to tell a story about a robot who, is left alone for hundreds of years, not knowing that it could stop doing what it was made to do.
In addition to the environmental themes, the movie also brings up the ideas of consumerism and big business. Generally when these themes are discussed, I think of films by people such as Michael Moore. Unlike Moore, this film is not at all preachy about them, but does a good job of just putting the idea out there and letting you contemplate the idea for yourself. Like I said that’s not what the movie is about.
Putting the themes aside, this is a great movie about perseverance, love, and the tenacity of life. This is a visual masterpiece, both for the world it creates and also because it tells a story told thru mostly non-verbal communication. To be specific, the first human dialogue doesn’t begin until 39 minutes into the movie. The only communication within the first 5 minutes is via the holographic billboards and the first dialogue between WALL-E and EVE begins 22 minutes into the movie. The director was Andrew Stanton who has helped with many of Pixar’s other films. The main Actors are:
- Voice of Wall-E – Ben Burtt
- Voice of EVE – Elissa Knight
- Voice of Captain – Jeff Garlin
- Shelby Forthright – Fred Willard
- Voice of Ship Computer – Sigourney Weaver
Something I like to do for all the movies I review, is look at the trivia page on IMDB. Wow, was I surprised when I looked up this movie, there are a plethora of interesting tidbits. Below is just a few of examples, there are many more listed and a lot of which are quite interesting.
- The name of the ship that the humans are living on is “Axiom.” In logic and math, an axiom is something unquestionable or taken for granted.
- The last piece of debris that clears away from WALL-E as he leaves Earth’s atmosphere is the Russian satellite Sputnik I, which in 1957 was the first man-made object to be placed in Earth orbit.
- The name “WALL-E” is a tip of the hat to Walter Elias Disney.
- Most of the robots are voiced by Ben Burtt through mechanical sounds of his creation. He recorded 2500 different sounds for the film, twice the average of a Star Wars movie, and also the most that Burtt had ever recorded for one feature film. His involvement with the film lasted for two years. When Andrew Stanton met with Burtt to pitch the idea of him working on the film, he told him, “I need you to be 80% of my cast!”
- First instance of a Pixar feature-length film using live-action.
- WALL-E stands for: Waste Allocation Load Lifter earth class. EVE stands for: Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator.
It’s 700 years in the future, earth has been over-run with trash and all animal(except one cockroach) and plant life have long died off. In an effort to survive, what’s left of mankind has boarded a ship called the Axiom and headed out into space. Before they leave, they create an army of robots called Wall-E’s to clean up the planet for future recolonization. They estimate that it will only take 5 years, but now 700 years later, they still haven’t been able to return to earth. All but one of the Wall-E units has stopped functioning and this is his story.
Wall-E spends his days sorting thru piles and piles of garbage and rubble. His job is to compact all the trash into cubes and stack them into enormous towers. While doing this he also collects random trinkits that intrigue him like Rubiks cubes and lighters. He also has a weird fascination with the musical, Hello Dolly. One day he happens upon a green leafy thing(plant) and it’s from that discovery that he begins his adventure. Soon after discovering the plant, EVE a sleek, deadly reconnaissance robot comes to earth to search for signs of life. Wall-E rescues her from a dust storm and shows her the plant. Since this is her directive, EVE takes the plant and automatically enters a deactivated state and waits for the rocket to return. Wall-E doesn’t understand what is happening, but he has fallen in love with her, so he takes it upon himself to protect her from wind, rain and lightning, despite her unresponsive state.
He continues to take care of EVE until one day when the rocket comes back and collects her. Before the ship can take off he sneaks aboard. The rocket returns to the cruise ship that left earth 700 years earlier. The people are still living here and ride around on hover chairs drinking their meals through a straw and have become fat and lazy. Most if not all of them can’t even stand on their own. Once on the ship, Wall-E and EVE make their way to the captain to give the him the plant, so that they can make their way back to earth to re-inhabit it. However due to some instructions given centuries ago, the Autopilot takes control of the ship, steals the plant and tries to prevent them from returning to Earth. Wall-E, EVE, the captain, and some broken robots stage a mutiny and try to stop Autopilot.
Since the movie doesn’t focus too much on the environment, I won’t either, but I did want to make a few points. In Genesis 2:15-16 it says:
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.
When God first created man, his first responsibility was to take care of the Garden. A word that comes to mind to describe this is, steward. Throughout the bible we see examples of God expecting his followers to be good stewards of what he has given them. We as christians are often portrayed as if we don’t care about the environment. In most cases this is just a generalization, but despite that, we do have a responsibility to not be wasteful or neglect God’s creation. I’m not saying join some extremist organization, but there are plenty of other things we can do to take care of the beautiful world around us.
A characteristic of the robots that struck me was the importance of the “directive”. Whatever it was that each of them was given to do, they stuck to it and did all they could to complete it. Now we aren’t robots, we have free will and the ability to choose to do whatever we want. God wants us to fulfill His directives, but He won’t force us, we need to learn and desire to do His will. It would make things so much easier if He did force us, but pure obedience wasn’t his plan. God wants us to obey and serve Him out of love and respect.
You already know that I really like this movie. The visuals are some of the best. You can tell the animators must have had a lot of fun making this. Throughout the movie are little details, that if you aren’t paying attention you’ll miss. You could watch this dozens of times and see new trinkets and details in the background each time. One of my favorite aspects of the visuals is how they are able to portray emotion and communication, despite the little amount of dialogue. You immediately get sucked into the world and without any verbal queue’s you can understand and empathize with Wall-E and the other characters. One last random important thing to note, is that we find out that twinkies are good for at least 700 years! If you have never seen this I would highly recommend it.