WALL-E (a review)
Solution: The cool surrounds of a cinema.
I order my tickets on line. Normally I order tickets in the middle – middle of the screen, half-way forward but I decide I need to be on the aisle with the four children trapped to my right. It’s not like I’m here for my own entertainment, right?
Wrong. I enjoyed ‘Wall-e’ more than its target audience did.
The people of Earth are in the good ship Axiom far off in space. Wall-e is the last remaining robot of the legions who were left behind to clean up a world full of garbage. He compacts and builds towers of rubbish but collecting odd bits for himself and storing them in a kick-arse shed, which he also calls home. The BnL (Buy n Large) logo features on the derelict gigantic mega-stores and various product labels lying around. The capitalist and environmental context of this kids' movie blew me away.
Suddenly Wall-e is no longer alone. Eve, the sleek white clean robot with blue eyes, descends to Earth. Wall-e looks dishevelled and clunky in comparison. Their courtship is played out in stereotypical fashion but this has justification because Wall-e bases his gender role on an old VHS movie (‘Hello Dolly’) he has been watching and shows Eve in an attempt to convince her to hold hands with him. He fails so he offers her a gift, a plant, obviously a rare commodity on this Earth. She accepts but then shuts down. Wall-e cares for her and then when the rocket that delivered Eve returns he hitches a ride and they arrive at the enormous Axiom.
It turns out instead of the original five years the Axiom was meant to be away it has been 700 years and Eve robots are the doves sent to find if there is new life on Earth. Now green life has been found there is a struggle in ideology (and requisite chase scenes) to determine whether the people will return to Earth. It is also fascinating to see how people have adapted to their supposed leisure lifestyle, reminiscent of a cruise ship.
There are several references to other films within ‘Wall-e’. I particularly enjoyed the Axiom auto-pilot nod to Hal (‘2001’) and the spoof of ‘Titanic’.
If you want to take your children to a movie examining some real world issues with some intelligence then take them to Wall-e.