A Black Man’s Review Of WALL*E


I think I’m the only dude I know who really wants to see this. And I don’t care.

Voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, co-writer/director Andrew Stanton.

In a vast, empty, junkyard of a 28th century Earth devoid of human life, WALL*E (Waste Allocation Load-Lifter * Earth Class; voiced by Burtt) goes about his business trash compacting the planet until the arrival of EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator; voiced by Knight), a glistening, ethereal and, well, all-out lethal probe droid, for whom WALL*E falls and chases throughout the galaxy as she races to report her findings to the last vestiges of a bloated humanity living upon a giant, corporate-sponsored spaceship nation called Axiom.

The Deal:
I have only one question: How on (or out of the) Earth do the creatives at Pixar keep hitting it out of the park? Like an artistic Barry Bonds on animation steroids, “WALL*E” is a positively darling, offbeat movie featuring a strong eco-friendly message with as solid a story as we have come to expect from the Pixar crew.

Straight out of the “so ingenious it’s genius” territory, Stanton’s (“Finding Nemo” - one of my all-time favorite movies) “WALL*E” enjoys itself immensely with foreign interpretations of our everyday junk, from bubble wrap to Twinkies to cheesy Technicolor musicals. When we do see the human race, which has long since left Earth on Wal-Martesque-owned Buy N Large’s corporate nation-ship, it is one lazy, overfed society where everyone’s fat and overly catered to by a smart device, with their only responsibility to be distractedly happy.

A testament to how potent the now-perfunctorily seamless Pixar visuals and story are, dialogue is at a premium in this script, as WALL*E communicates via a myriad of sound effects, (as does his would-be paramour EVE) orchestrated by an aptly expressive, instructive Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo) score. There’s more than a touch of “I Am Legend” to the opening, as it’s just WALL*E and his cockroach best friend, cleaning the earth one junk cube at a time.

At its heart, “WALL*E” is an intergalactic love story. Voiced by R2D2 himself, Ben Burtt, WALL*E is a lonely, resourceful little fella with tons of personality who quietly yearns to be in love, thanks to his endless viewings of “Hello, Dolly!” He’s curious, loyal, romantic… he’s the perfect man. Because he’s a machine. EVE, on the other hand, with her chubby white body and laser cannon arms, hovers and flits around with fairly bad intentions. Not only is she technologically superior to the earthbound WALL*E, but also her answer to everything is shoot first, ask questions never - she’s a robotic Dick Cheney (sorry, that was redundant).

Even though WALL*E’s love is fairly unrequited initially due to EVE’s laser-like focus (literally) on her prime directive, they develop into a genuinely bilateral symbiosis, sometimes with heartbreaking results. Is it sad that one of the most admirable love stories of the summer is between two (allegedly) inanimate objects? Or is it inspiring that artisans exist at Pixar who unfailingly provide us with attractive, quality entertainment every…. Single. summer? I’ll take “Inspiring” for $200 (million), Alex!

Move over, Carrie & Mr. Big. Here comes EVE and WALL*E!

@@@@ REELS
An urban legend/instant classic.

UTC’s resident film critic Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for The 213 Magazine, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com where his new novel I DO? is available NOW.