July 3, 2008

WALL-E is that rare marvel of modern cinema: A good story, simply told. Of course, tens of millions of dollars went into making the largely photo-realistic (not to mention jawdroppingly impressive) computer animation, but the storytelling style itself is so often elemental that WALL-E begins at times to resemble a silent film, dispensing with dialogue almost altogether in its first half, relying instead on action and gesture, with the occasional song fragment. When there’s call for dialogue, it’s somewhat jarring, as if you’re awakening from the loveliest, most charming dystopian-style dream you’ve ever had. WALL-E is set in a distant future where Earth, having been rendered a wasteland, quite literally, by humans, has been abandoned, leaving the cleanup to robots like WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class), essentially roving trash compactors whose neat piled cubes of trash attain skyscraper-like heights. In the decades that WALL-E has been at work, he’s attained a personality, as well as a taste for musicals like Hello, Dolly!, as he works to a clean a city along with his lone friend, a cockroach. When another robot named Eve shows up, WALL-E’s existence takes an unexpected turn. The movie’s vision of the future is grim enough to stand alongside 70’s dystopian movies like Soylent Green and Silent Running, and no doubt WALL-E found inspiration in movies like those. It’s somewhat more hopeful, though to its credit, not much more so. I liked this movie a lot, though I will say the first half of the movie works better than the second half. I was also annoyed by Eve’s tendency to blow things up, which I thought was a fairly cheap way to get laughs, but didn’t make much sense in light of what her mission turns out to be. These are pretty small caveats, however, considering how enjoyable the whole of the movie is. And don’t leave right away, as the closing credits are a delight. WALL-E isn’t a perfect entertainment, but it’s pretty darn close.


(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)


One Response to “MONKEY REVIEW: WALL-E”

  1. patrick Says:

    Wall-E totally looks like the robot from “Short Circuit”… minus the cheesy 80’s style of course

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