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Film Reviews from 2007

Film Reviews
from 2006


Forty years ago, as a teenager I was mesmerized by Stanley Kubrick’s landmark 2001: A Space Odyssesy.  I knew I’d never seen anything like his visionary film, with its futuristic vision, minimal use of dialogue, stunning special effects, and even an evil computer.  I had a similar feeling when I left the theatre after seeing WALL-E from the amazing Pixar studio, which revolutionized animation with Toy Story in 1995, under the Disney umbrella.  It’s a true original, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. 

WALL-E takes place 700 years in the future.  Earth has been deserted, and is devoid of all life, with the exception of a cockroach which seems to have 900 lives.  WALL-E is a trash compacting robot, which continues on its never-ending mission long after every other activity has ceased. When WALL-E finds something of interest, he takes it and stores it in his personal stash in a deserted storage unit, where he finds shelter from the frequent storms that ravage the planet.  His greatest find has been a videocassette of the 1969 film Hello Dolly!,which he plays over and over.  WALL-E is fascinated by the dancing, and, especially by the touch he sees displayed, although he has never felt.  Evidently, even robots experience loneliness after centuries alone.

WALL EWALL-E’s desolate world is shattered one day when a space ship deploys an Extra-Terrestrial Vegetation Device (EVE) to search for signs of life on Earth.  WALL-E is smitten with EVE and tries to win her favor, showing her his various collections.  When they stumble across a small green plant, EVE summons her ship to take her back.  Distraught at the thought of remaining without her, WALL-E stows away to be with EVE.

EVE and WALL-E disembark on something resembling a huge, intergalactic cruise ship, filled with enormously obese humans who dart about on moving chairs, so that no one needs to expend any physical energy at all.  As the plot develops, including a HAL-like power-mad computer, WALL-E and EVE remind the humans that life is more than mindlessly cruising around space.  Life is about intimacy, and the surprising joy of human touch.  WALL-E and EVE even lead the lost humans back home to reclaim planet Earth.  Yes, this is a pretty big agenda for an animated film.  However it accomplishes all of this without ever feeling preachy or forced.

The first thirty minutes of WALL-E include virtually no dialogue at all, as we follow WALL-E along his daily trash collecting routine, until he meets EVE.  Yet the amazing thing is that we feel for him.  His efforts to win over EVE are truly charming, and bring to mind silent Charlie Chaplin comedies.  As with all Pixar films, the animation is truly amazing, depicting the remains of a once-vibrant planet.  After a few minutes, I was so transfixed that I forgot I was watching an animated film.  After this long, haunting sequence, I admit that the shift to the cruise ship is a bit of a letdown.  Even the cruise ship has a great deal of humor, and lovely sequences, such as WALL-E and EVE dancing through space while captivated humans, who haven’t danced in centuries, look on in amazement. 

For all its animated wizardry with robots, WALL-E works so well because it is grounded.  Unlike the other summer superheroes, WALL-E doesn’t seek to work miracles or defeat evil empires or find that he possesses superhuman powers.  He just wants to connect to another like himself.  He finds that the amazing power of touch, as Jesus did.  EVE, as her Biblical name implies, is the mother of a new Earth, finding life, bringing people back home. 

WALL-E is certainly a big risk for Pixar.  At the same time it is simple, yet profound, touching, yet prophetic.  It is cognizant of present issues, from the environment to rampant consumerism (the universe seems to be run by a conglomerate called BNL, standing for “Big and Large”), to obesity, to alienation.  Yet there is a timeless quality about WALL-E, as with the Chaplin classics, 2001, ET, and other films to which it is being compared.  Writer-director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) and the entire creative Pixar team, has given us a modern-day classic.  I think it will be enjoyed and discussed for years to come.

I hope you all see it and are as captivated by it as I was.  I know I’ll be back to see it again soon.

Tom Condon, OP

editor's note:

"WALL-E" is preceded by a delicious animated short, "Presto," a five-minute gem about a magician and his rebellious rabbit, also from Pixar.


WALL-E is an acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class.










For viewers of any age, this is an instant classic.

The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-I -- general patronage.
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. All ages admitted.

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