Go, pay the money, see Wall-E.

Just do that for yourself. It’s as good as “they” say it is. It’s as good as I say it is. I laughed and my friend was laughing so hard she snorted. I didn’t notice if she was crying, but I was damn close – and THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN. TO ME!

It is, as the title of this post states, a charming dystopian vision. I’m not going to tell you anything you wouldn’t learn from a preview or a non-spoiler review – but it’s quite stunning and has been called “subversive.” I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I suppose if your political leanings are along the conservative pillar, you might.

Picture it: the future. The planet Earth is one big garbage dump – literally. Our rampant consumerism has taken us to a point where we can’t handle our own garbage anymore, so we just up and leave the Earth and decide to come back once the robots have cleaned up. Here’s where we meet Wall-E – Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-Class. He’s one of the robots left behind to clean up the mess; actually, he’s the last robot left to clean up the mess. The others have run down and he’s working the place alone, save for his pet cockroach-type insect. He’s fascinated by our detritus; watching this little robot investigate our trash with child-like glee (yes, even for a computer-animated robot – he’s quite expressive) cemented a smile on every face in the theatre.

Anyway – he’s going about his business, doing his job, when a spaceship lands near where he’s working. It leaves behind a shiny new robot (who was designed/conceptualized by a designer for Apple – there are many Apple connections and references throughout) named EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). Wall-E is enamored of her instantly – but she’s all business and on a mission. From there on, it sort of becomes your traditional “robot meets robot, robot falls in love with robot, robot loses robot, robot must save robot” story.

What kills me is how expressive the animation team was able to make these robots through (not despite) their limited vocabularies/speech (the entire movie is very light on dialogue and EVE’s entire vocabulary, for example, consists of only four words) and through their eyes since they have no other facial features – mouths, ears, noses… it’s all about the eyes. And I’m a sucker for that anyway, so I was basically conquered when I saw the trailer months ago.

Sometimes, working within constraints and limitations (whether actual, artificial or self-imposed) leads to incredibly good results.

Anyway – yes. The love story is sweet. The hero story is noble. The social commentary is wicked. When the people of the future resemble the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man more than actual human beings and the world of the future resembles what Mike Judge presented in Idiocracy, something is being said.

Next up: might see “Mongol” tomorrow… and will definitely be ponying up the extra cash to see “The Dark Knight” in IMAX two weekends from now.

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