This may prove to be a bit of a lengthy review, but one must understand that this movie carries a certain powerful magic with it that puts me in a trance every time I watch it. On one hand, it's like looking into a societal mirror, centuries into the future, and it really looks like we humans have caused the end of the world. There's something sort of heavy-hitting about that. On the other hand, the appreciation this movie gives me for the simple things in life we take for granted actually somewhat changed my lifestyle. Not a lot of movies can open my eyes that much! But more on that soon.
Far into the future, we see the Earth of 2805 and what has become of it; a vast wasteland of trash and neglect left behind by the human race. Nowadays, humankind has relocated to "starliners" - essentially gigantic cruise ships but in space - to keep on living. On this deserted Earth, we meet a left-over Waste Allocation Load-Lifter, WALL-E (Ben Burtt). He does his job, hangs out with a cockroach friend, forms various collections of trinkets and has a connection to a video recording of 'Hello Dolly', specifically with the song 'It Only Takes a Moment'.
One day, things take a turn when WALL-E happens across an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator robot, EVE (Elissa Knight). She was sent to Earth to search for some form of living vegetation, but WALL-E becomes interested. With a few complications at first, the two robots hit it off, but everything comes to an abrupt halt when WALL-E shows her his latest collector's item; a live plant. EVE collects the plant and sits in standby mode for a while until she's eventually picked up by a probe, and starts heading back to a starliner called the Axiom - with WALL-E hanging on for the ride.
Centuries have passed since the Axiom left Earth (2105, so to us now, it would be like looking at the year 1321) and humankind has become overweight, mindless drones who do nothing but sit, eat, have their faces in their computer screens, and can do it all on the go on account of hover chairs. The ship's captain, McCrea (Jeff Garlin), receives the positive response from EVE and the notion that it could allow them to go back home to Earth - a place he had never heard of. However, upon inspecting EVE, the plant turns up missing. At first, it's registered as a false alarm, but EVE and WALL-E set about the ship looking for it, running into trouble along the way which includes, above all else, a nasty ship's computer.
What really makes this movie stand out for me is that it's a film that really makes you look at the way you're living. Most who know me know how much I like going for long walks in nature these days, and honestly, this film is responsible. I've always enjoyed walking, but it wasn't until I saw this that I learned to appreciate all of the little subtleties of a good nature walk; birds chirping, the warm sun on my face, the beauty of plants in bloom, hell, even Winter has its moments. The cool thing is, 'WALL-E' does it in more ways than one. There's the notion that we're killing our planet and the whole thing probably will look similar to this, centuries from now, but I also really enjoy the lifestyle message here. This was 2008, so we haven't entirely improved our situation - but all of the right "be careful, human race" messages are here.
I have to appreciate that even though this is very much an environmental movie, and the message certainly looks like it's highlighted and bolded, it still doesn't slap you across the face with it. You get the film's point, but there's not really that (what I like to call) "Lisa Simpson voice" in your face telling you how it is. This movie gets its whole message across without the use of hardly any speech at all. Part of the brilliance of this movie is that it shows and doesn't tell, and you have no problem understanding everything going on throughout its entirety. The message almost becomes tenfold with how exactly the execute things. Often using classic material (like 'Hello Dolly' along with various old songs) you get this sense of a planet Earth that humankind has all but left behind entirely. The brilliance of that is that it's something you can feel that way about now.
Ever since the advent of internet in homes, we, as a human race, have somewhat lost touch with a lot of things that this movie shows we take completely for granted. One character here is so engaged with her computer that WALL-E bumps into her and she suddenly realizes the starliner has a massive pool. Better than that is a scene that I find truly touching where McCrea is having the computer define all of these Earth terms, right down to the word "dance". The idea that the film has this character fall in love with Earth the way we remember it now is somewhat heart-breaking when you know from the beginning of the film what Earth has actually become.
'WALL-E' would yet again pull in another Best Animated Picture Oscar for Pixar, bringing their count up to four. It would also become the Pixar film to earn the most nominations in the library, and I daresay, it certainly could have been nominated for Best Picture. I believe that due to opinions like this, the academy would soon loosen up enough to allow animated films back into the Best Picture category ('Beauty and the Beast' was the only one ever nominated at this point). For me, it is easily one of the best in the Pixar library if you just look at the way it's crafted. It makes you appreciate the little things in life, it opens your eyes to the state of the world and where we're going, and it's somehow still a lot of fun while taking you through all of its heavy stuff.
Writers and Directors