As film opens, a dismal landscape of ruined buildings and skyscrapers made of compacted trash, clash with the catchy song, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, tells us that there is more to “Wall-E” than lifeless devastation.
Wall-E is a small robot with eyes that look like binoculars, a square body which compacts trash, and an unlikely attitude of optimism. It’s hard to figure why this little machine is so cheerful, but for some reason, it’s contagious. Each evening as wild dust storms overtake the bleak terrain, Wall-E, snug in his trailer, watches the video with the romantic song, “It Only Takes a Moment” from the movie “Hello Dolly”. Wall-E is lonesome. Left behind to clean up the mess on earth by humans who boarded a luxury spacecraft for a five year ‘space cruise’, 700 years ago, Wall-E is the only cleanup machine left on the job. Not only does he work day after day compacting trash into blocks, but he collects items of interest, a Rubik’s cube, a rubber ducky, a fork-spoon, and his proudest new discovery, a real live plant.
This plant seems to be the only living thing left on the planet, and soon a sleek white robot named Eve is dropped down to earth from her space ship. Eve soon captures Wall-E’s heart, and he tries to befriend her in an endearing way, as he dodges her explosive defenses. Wall-E proudly shows Eve his collection, she zeros in on the plant, snatches it, and goes into a coma like state, and signals to the Mother Ship. Wall-E sadly continues to court the unresponsive robot, until he hitches a wild ride on her ship to the luxury space craft Axiom where the humans are. Wall-E struggles to keep up with his friend, and soon, the romantic little robot has a big impact on the humans aboard.
The irrepressible Wall-E who walks to the beat of a different drummer has won the hearts of the critics, and audiences despite the fact that there is almost no dialogue in the first hour of the film. Pixar has outdone themselves in character development, and viewers strongly relate to the peculiar little robot who’s longing for love in a wasteland. The soundtrack effectively juxtaposes the tenderness of Wall-E’s ‘humanity’ and the ruins of civilization. The forty year old song” It Only Takes a Moment” has always been one of my favorite show tunes, showing how unabashed romanticism ennobles relationships contrasting sharply with the barrenness of today’s hook-up culture.
Younger children may not understand the plot, and some scenes may frighten them. Older children, adolescents, and adults will love this outer space adventure in which love triumphs over selfish materialism.