This new film from Pixar is no Toy Story or Cars. This is a dark sci-fi movie which is all too real. It is technically amazing, and rich in humanity. The story line describes our planet as becoming uninhabitable, covered in garbage (talk about clutter), with its only survivors being a garbage compacter (Wall-E, Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class) and his friend a cockroach. There are no humans left in the vast land fill of earth. In fact there is almost no human dialogue in the first 40 minutes of the film. Wall-E, a dented , old school, box of a machine, works everyday making squares of refuse and entertains himself at night by watching a tape of Hello Dolly , until a probe (Eve)sent from a BnL (the Big and Large corporation may have caused the environmental crisis with their Big Stores) spacecraft, lands nearby. Wall-E is smitten (influenced by Hello Dolly’s concept of romance) and a love story follows with humor and suspense. Borrowing from other great Science Fiction like A.I., The Matrix, Star Trek and 2001, Wall-E presents the audience with a pessimistic view of the consequences of consumerism, inactivity, and large corporations. It is an ecological allegory, far more entertaining than An Inconvenient Truth. Psychologically it points out the power of love and as well as the destructive effects of inactivity (the citizens of the BnL spaceship are all over weight , consumers of soda and leisure entertainment).There is the appeal for children in Wall-E’s R-2 D2 looks, as well as his compulsive work behavior and collecting of “treasures.” They will love the tiny robot that is constantly cleaning, like an out of control vacuum.

The voices of Jeff Garlin, star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, as captain of the space ship and Fred Willard in his usual role of slick and stupid, as the CEO of Buy N Large, contribute to the character development. It is interesting to have Sigourney Weaver (star of Alien) play the voice of the evil Computer. This film is rated –G. For kids the machines are quite cute except for Eve’s quick blasts of her armed arms. Wall-E and Eve communicate with chirps and beeps, but with great expression. The theme of the film will be very scary to adults, while the scenes of Wall-E and Eve being chased may frighten youngsters below the age of 11.

Michael Brody M.D.
mbrody@umd.edu