Animated robots of ‘Wall-E’ succeed in spreading love, joy (Film Review)

August 29th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Wall-E”; Director: Andrew Stanton; Voices: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, MacInTalk, John Ratzenberger, Kathy Najimy and Sigourney Weaver; Rating: ****”Wall-E” is one of the best animated movies to be released in a very long time. At times it manages to be almost poetic and lyrically beautiful in its exploration of the all too familiar subject of love. As expected from Pixar Animation Studios, the movie is dazzlingly beautiful in its animation, but it’s also sublimely anchored in the central love story. The emotional arc of the story unfolds as gently as flower petals.

Despite being a children’s film, it has the audacity to have virtually no dialogue at all for almost the first third of the movie. The robot Wall-E and his cockroach friend communicate through sounds and tics that are not quite words.

Wall-E is a robot left behind by humans to clean up earth in the far future where there is no life at all. Wall-E goes about the task of meticulously arranging the heaps of scraps in the shape of skyscrapers. He also collects remnants of the life lived by humans and tries to make some emotional connection with all that has been long lost. But his life changes entirely when a sleek, more advanced female robot named Eve is assigned to search for life on earth.

Pixar manages to dazzle with some cutting edge graphics and at times gets carried away. The plot doesn’t necessarily require loud chases but seem to be thrown in there to amuse the kids. The movie seems to be afraid to be too adult.

The first half of the movie is audacious in its melancholy. The genius of the movie is its emotional core. It manages to make a connection with the youngest of children to the eldest of adults. The love has a soft glow that warms even in the midst of cold metal and high-tech wizardry.

Director Andrew Stanton, who also worked on “Finding Nemo”, and his team succeed because they understand the importance of putting the story and emotions ahead of computer gimmickry. The movie also makes some poignant comments on humanity in general. Humans and their dependence on technology is mocked. The power of love to transcend even the limitations of humanity is respected.

Pixar racks up another achievement and their repertoire is one of the most impressive in movie history. “Wall-E” fits majestically in that canon. Children are going to be attuned and adults are going to see deeper themes explored. The eyes and the heart of all are satiated.

The only flaw of the movie is the way it swerves awkwardly into a neat, fuzzy idea of a happy ending. It started off bravely with its slightly cynical view of humanity. For half the movie it looked like it would push towards an unsettling end. But the film makers strive to please audiences and not disturb too much.

All age groups will find something to like in “Wall-E.”

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