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Capt. Sage's Review of
Wall·e

"Wall·e" is an unexpectedly solid movie. After years of success, I was entirely prepared for Pixar to give the film engaging plotting, wondrously animated computer graphic scenes and characters, and funny moments. What doubts I had were confined to whether or not the protagonist and title character, Wall·e the cleaning robot, would be made into a soppy, cute thing just to round up dollars, and how romance between robots could be anything other than merely adorable. My expectations, however, were greatly exceeded, as Wall·e actually had strength of character in addition to charm, and the romance between robots involved mutual sacrifice and tender concern.

Propelling these excellent characters are excellent production values.The robotic characters were meticulously detailed and realistic, as were their surroundings. I also marveled at the excellent rocket launch sequences, and the wonders of space were beautifully displayed.

Set against this, however, were their human counterparts, which the movie either portrayed, in a surprising departure from Pixar norms, as live actors, or in their more usual computer-generated fashion. For one reason or another, this mesh of live actors, computer-generated humans, and computer-generated robots didn't quite work out. As was pointed out to me, the robots often looked more realistic than the humans. Nevertheless, I didn't quite like the live-actor approach either. I'm not quite sure what ought to have been done. The mixture distracted me but didn't seriously harm the movie.

The film contained a very strong environmental message that left me ambivalent. Partly it was poking fun at ourselves, which I didn't mind, but it was overly simplistic and unrealistic, especially in its solution. The presentation was also very heavyhanded. Thankfully, the focus of the film is on the choices of the robots and people in the future, where it should be, so this didn't impact my enjoyment of the film too much. The film also avoids the pretentious and disdainful tone of "The Lorax." Instead, "Wall·e" maintains a winsome tone of humility appropriate to the title character.

The romantic plot of the movie was very well done. When was the last time we saw a movie in which it was suggested that sometimes sacrifice and suffering might be a part of love? And how long has it been since we acknowledged how wonderful holding hands is?

I was greatly impressed by the skill used to show the characters' feelings. The movie is filled with great voice acting, sometimes best demonstrated by how clear an emotion the two leads can express with a single word. The robots use many inventive nonverbal cues as well, which are usually very clear, and if not, they are quickly made clear by the context.

"Wall·e," both the character and the movie, far exceeded my expectations. Although I remain ambivalent at best about the heavyhanded message and the mélange of live-action humans and computer generated humans, I found that the good qualities of the movie more than outweigh them. The characters and acting and scenery were excellent, and the space scenes and romance plot were very well done, and the last two alone were worth seeing on their own. Together they made yet another excellent film from Pixar.

SPOILERS

At one point in the movie, a parasol robot manages to deflect a tractor beam with its parasol. I was surprised that I simply accepted this, because, as was pointed out to me later, it didn't make a lot of sense. Still, it was fun, and it at least worked intuitively.

Now a word from one of our sister sites, Politicissue.com:
I am incensed that the movie turned one of the most fundamental necessities of our time into a parody when it had the slimy president of Buy 'N' Large tell the autopilot of the "Axiom" to "stay the course" by continuing a life of indolence. In a time where we barely have any will to continue doing anything, from actually fulfilling our New Year's resolutions, to securing peace for ourselves and the people of Iraq, I find it outrageous that so many choose to laugh at an exhortation to persevere in the face of difficulty. It is very sad that such a cheap shot against "stick-to-it-tivity" should be inserted in a movie which rightly extols its main characters' determination to do what is right despite obstacles, and despite the sacrifices they themselves will have to make.