Post-apocalyptic movies are usually basked in darkness, the undead, and chaos. These sci-fi popcorn flicks are primarily targeted to adults because of their gloomy feel and shady cinematic undertones. And then, there came “Wall-E”, a post-apocalyptic movie for kids and adults alike. Similar to its darker counterparts, “Wall-E” depicts Earth as a wasteland unfit for living. The city skyline is dreary and towers of trash cubes abound every corner as if they are skyscrapers in Ayala. The world is a sprawling but desolated desert (ala “Resident Evil: Apocalypse) with no humans, no plants, and no animals (ala “I Am Legend”).
Technically, there is no living creature left on Earth, except a solar-powered robotic garbage compactor. Meet Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class). Unlike other robots, he is rather peculiar. Like Ariel of “Little Mermaid”, Wall-E has developed a hobby of collecting knick-knacks. He is also inventive and curious, but he is lonely. His unremitting longing for company is soon answered with the arrival of EVE (Extra-Terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). Her name suggests her mission: she is sent to see if Earth could already sustain life. While going through her tasks, sparks fly between the two and Wall-E finally finds the connection he has been longing for. But when Wall-E shows EVE a budding plant, she instantly shuts down and is soon taken away by the spaceship that took her to Earth. Afraid to lose her, Wall-E hitches a ride and embarks on a journey through space. He did not only find out more about EVE, but he also discovers what happened to humanity.
The film’s first act is pure visual poetry employing a Chaplinesque (read: dialogue-free) style. The audience is treated with an elaborate version of what the Earth has become and what is left of it. Meanwhile, the second act is pure brilliance. The trailer may have emphasized that “Wall-E” is a simple love story between two robots, but under the rug, it is a satire on consumerism and a social commentary on man’s duty to be stewards of the environment. It gives us a taste of a fully-automated world where man is fully dependent on machines that they have become obese couch potatoes unable to walk on their own and unable to make genuine human connection. How “Wall-E”, a deceptively simple animated film, was able to pull that off is, as I’ve said, pure brilliance.
In order to avoid being too preachy, Pixar spent considerable amount of time in building the quirky and comic love story of Wall-E and EVE. It tinges our hearts every time you hear them call out each other’s names in ‘robo-accent’.
Much has been said about “Wall-E” being the best movie of the year so far. Fact is, according to US critics, it is better than “The Dark Knight”. After seeing the film, I completely understand why. But whether or not “Wall-E” is better than “The Dark Knight” is hard to tell since these movies are miles apart in numerous aspects. It is like comparing apples to lemons. Though I may not agree that this charming robot is superior to the caped crusader, “Wall-E” deserves all the praise that it has been receiving. It is definitely heartfelt, visionary, and meaningful.
The kids enjoyed it, the adults love it, Al Gore is rooting for it, and I bet you will too.
Sidenote: Watch the end credits. It’s gorgeous.