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Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A+

Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by: Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon
Produced by: Jim Morris
Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Kathy Najimy, John Ratzenberger, Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

The average person's appreciation for animated features have grown immensely in the past seventy years since the release of Walt Disney's groundbreaking Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, they still retain the unfortunate tendency of being referred to as a "children's film." Even the most mature works from directors like Brad Bird and Hayao Miyasaki have falling into this degrading trapping. Hopefully, Andrew Stanton's follow-up to the magical Finding Nemo will dispel any idea that animation is simply made for a young audience. Wall-E is a masterpiece of epic proportion combining the talents of Andrew Stanton, the skill of Pixar's animation team and a story that feels like a collaboration between master filmmakers Charles Chaplin, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick. What Stanton has created with Wall-E is not simply a motion picture, it's an experience and a story that will live as long as Homer's The Odyssey, William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Wall-E will transcend generations and become beloved for its love story, its cautionary tale of the future and incredibly charming and relatable characters.

At the start of Wall-E, The Planet Earth has been abandoned for seven hundred years as the humans await for it to be cleaned up and livable again. However, one robot is left to clean up the rubble and left-behind rubbish, a unit called Wall-E. For some many years, he has been doing the same task over and over again, accompanied only by a little cockroach. In those seven-hundred years, he has developed a personality and a curiosity for collecting various old objects. The one thing he longs for, though, is another robot to hold hands with. One day, a giant space craft lands and out of it comes a shiny new robot named Eve. Wall-E is immediately smitten with Eve and as she starts to get know him, Eve starts to grow fond of the little trash compactor. After Eve takes off again into space, Wall-E follows his dream girl-bot into space and truth about the human race is revealed.

That is what happens in the first thirty minutes of the film, which is completely devoid of any human dialogue whatsoever. Wall-E and Eve communicate only in speaks and whistles, created by renowned sound designer Ben Burtt, most notably known for doing the beeps on R2-D2 from Star Wars. However, while George Lucas's creation may simply be a tin can on wheels, Stanton and Burtt have created two likeable personalities with Wall-E and Eve, whose love story is the main reason for the film's success. I can say, without a doubt, that Wall-E is quite possibly the most touching and beautiful love story ever told. We feel for these characters and care for them, so whenever they're in mortal danger, we're always worried whether they will survive. I will even admit I was almost teary-eyed while watching this film. That is how powerful Wall-E is as a motion picture. The film is also very funny and touching at the same time, giving off a very Chaplin-esque quality. The whole film definitely gives off a very City Lights vibe and I would not be surprised if Stanton was heavily influenced by that masterpiece. The most beautiful scene of the film in which Wall-E and Eve "dance" in space together is one that will be hard to top in any lifetime by any film released after now. The score by Thomas Newman is so incredibly superb that it almost feels like a separate character in the film and adds to how powerful the whole piece is.

The social commentary is also effective and definitely makes you think more than any so-called "intellectual Sundance release." I would not be surprised if (at the rate people are going) Earth does end up looking the way it does in the film. China itself is already slowly heading in that direction. The humans in the film are made to look like large and cartoon-like, so as to resemble babies. What the film is saying is that humans are evolving backwards, rather than forwards. Everything needs to be done for us, much like a mother caring for her newborn and in this case, the robots are the mothers (as shown by the robot teacher in the baby school). There already are robotic vacuum cleaners where you just need to press the button and that is it. The Pixar animators and storytellers have not gone on auto-drive for Wall-E, but are putting themselves in control in where the story leads and thus why the film succeeds more than hypocritical schlock like Pokemon: The First Movie and Alvin and the Chipmunks posing as family entertainment these days. When the humans realise they must do something, they start to wake up from their bedtime naps and walk much like how babies take their first steps. I wouldn't say Wall-E is being manipulative or offensive as the film is putting a mirror up to the people, so that they understand that they do need to change their habits quickly. This film is teaching people a lesson and giving people something that your average toy advertisement will not.

The Pixar team has pulled out all the stops and in effect have created their greatest achievement yet. Stanton succeeds because he puts story and characters before all else, while still providing some breathtaking animation and terrific entertainment in the process. And it is films like Wall-E that prove even more that animation is capable of anything: any genre, any emotion, any laugh.

The forever lonely robot in Andrew Stanton's cinematic masterpiece Wall-E.
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