Reviewed by: Katy Carter

Welcome to the wonderful world of WALL·E – the latest Disney/Pixar collaboration, set to follow in the footsteps of Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Ratatouille. This film has everything we have come to expect from these genius animators who, incidentally, have netted staggering worldwide box office takings in excess of $4.3 billion from their films, according to the BVI.

Disney tales have often dealt with the dark side of human life – parental death, evil stepfamilies, the dangers of the sea - but with WALL·E, the threats are bang up to date, focussing on issues facing the 21st century. The obesity situation, the growing isolation of individuals in society, the increasing power of brands over governments, the problems of consumerism and the effects on the planet of our throw-away mentality are all rolled into a heart-melting love story about two little robots.

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WALL·E is the last robot left on earth. He’s been alone for 700 years bar his little cockroach friend Hal, and whilst tidying up all of the rubbish left behind when humans flew off into space, he has developed human qualities. Watching and re-watching the musical Hello Dolly and collecting knick-knacks, WALL·E longs for company. When 'girl' robot EVE is sent to earth from the spaceship (Axiom) that humans now live on, on a mission to find out if Earth is habitable, WALL·E falls head over heels in love, and follows her back to the Axiom.

Inspired by 1970s sci-fi movies, WALL·E is a grim vision of what the world might look like if the piles of waste we dispose of everyday eventually overspill from the landfills to our cities. The rubbish heaps tower so high they are faux sky-scrapers. The look of the film is incredible - but it’s not pretty. Director Andrew Stanton has achieved an incredibly stark look to his film; the world is dull and murky, and there are regular dust storms.

The fact WALL·E doesn’t talk adds to sense of emptiness and loneliness. Rather than using a celebrity voiceover, Oscar-winning sound designer Ben Burtt creates a series of sounds which, coupled with WALL·E’s actions make him easy to understand, touchingly human-like and really endearing. As he goes about his business, dutifully clearing away rubbish, passing all of the other robots that have long since ceased to work, he is clearly pining for company, making us empathise with his solitude.

One of the striking ironies of WALL·E is that Disney/Pixar, (the entertainers!) portray humans as mollycoddled obese creatures who are kept entertained 24/7 in floating chairs, where they spend all day eating and chatting into screens as they float past each other blindly. It is a scathing comment on modern life and an image which all brand marketeers are equally guilty of perpetrating.

Despite branching into this unchartered territory, WALL·E is, however, suffused with affection and joy for life, carried off by the little ET look-a-like. As he watches Hello Dolly in his trailer cart home, he dances with a fake dustbin lid hat, and holds his own hands as they do on screen. And when EVE talks to him, he just sees her in a mist and hears muffled noises, all sweetly humorous touches that give this film it’s extra sparkle. And so I unreservedly recommend WALL·E. And look out for the dancing in space scene, it is absolutely breathtaking.

Reviewed on: 18 Jul 2008
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WALL·E packshot
A robot - Wall·E, left alone on Earth begins to explore the cosmos with a companion, the sleek and sultry EVE.
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Read more WALL·E reviews:

Anton Bitel ****
Andrew Robertson ****

Director: Andrew Stanton

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Jim Capobianco

Starring: Voices of: Sigourney Weaver, Kathy Najimy, John Ratzenberger, Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin, Paul Eiding, Ben Burtt, Garrett Palmer, Kim Kopf

Year: 2008

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: USA

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