Stars: *** 1/2
Rating: G for good for all audiences
Run Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Robotic romance springs eternal in Pixar’s latest entry into the 21st century animation sweepstakes.
WALL-E (aka Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is the last robot left on the depressing dystopia that is Earth, steadily cleaning up superfluous trash while the population has lifted off on Axiom, a state-of-the-art home away from home. (“Space is the final fun-tier!”)
WALL-E’s days are spent crushing mountains of garbage into controllable cubes, collecting intriguing curious and watching and re-watching a battered VHS copy of “Hello Dolly!”
That tiresome routine is turned upside down with the arrival of EVE, a fetching, egg-shaped probe sent to Earth to determine its tenuous life-sustaining status.
Sparks fly, and how. WALL-E shows of his collection – an old-fashioned egg-beater, an absorbing sheet of bubble-wrap, crusty light bulbs and a Rubik’s cube – to impress the impenetrable EVE, all beautifully sans dialogue.
High-tech hell breaks loose when EVE is beamed back up to the Axiom and a lovesick WALL-E stows away on her transport. As seen from his luminous, telescopic eyes the Mother Ship is the ultimate nightmare in technologically advanced – a brave new world of obese inhabitants existing on nothing but virtual exercise and lunch-in-a-cup. 255,642 days of inner-galactic cruising have made them soft.
It’s best not to dig too deep into “WALL-E’s” narrative as much goes unexplained and its dramatic mysteries – too many to count -- are shrouded in stunning visuals and the titular hero’s search for the perfect love match.
But “WALL-E” isn’t lacking a social conscience, passing politically correct judgment on waste, gluttony, instant gratification and global warming. There’s a glimmer of faith wedged between scenes closely inspired by “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Blade Runner”, “Star Wars” and even Charlie Chaplin’s iconic Little Tramp.
Sensory overload – yes there can be too much of a good thing – and sci-fi thrills butt up against a charming affair; love-bots robotically cooing their affections to the tune of a deliciously adult score courtesy musical demi-god Thomas Newman.
Beautifully executed with a wink and a nudge, “WALL-E” is a film with heart.