Best Pixar film for a while, but certainly not the best Pixar film.

Released in 2008, certified UK-U. Reviewed on 21 Aug 2008 by Scott Morris
WALL-E image

The latest Disney-Pixar outing WALL-E sees... well, I'm sure you know exactly what it sees by this point. A little Johnny Five-esque robot running around a deserted Earth cleaning up the toxic, garbage-filled wasteland created by human overconsumption. Its repetitive life is enlivened somewhat by the appearance of a sleek droid that seems to be searching for something, prompting what the advertising slogans no-doubt hold as 'an out-of-this world adventure', replete with a worrying number of exclamation marks.

Here's the thing. I liked WALL-E. No, really, I did. It's more enjoyable than anything from the Pixar production line since The Incredibles. What it most certainly is not is 'Best Film Of The Year', as some people are breathlessly claiming. It wouldn't even make 'Best Film of the Month', and while it's a shoo-in for the animation Oscar that's mainly due to a total absence of competition. I liked WALL-E the same way I like your average Looney Tunes cartoon.

A a film, WALL-E is weak. There's very little narrative to speak of for much of the film, and although the little yellow guy may be the cutest robot since that fella from the anime Metropolis its still difficult to have any real connection with a bucket of bolts. On a technical level, the impressive bits aren't pretty, what with being a garbage filled dump and all, and the pretty bits aren't impressive, the space-based stuff looking indistinguishable from every other space-based 3D jaunt.

WALL-E image

None of which matters, because it's still entertaining enough and Disney Pixar clearly haven't set out to redefine their comfort zone here, regardless of the boundless hyperbole that has for some reason surrounded this even more stubbornly than is usual for a Disney Pixar release. It is, in no way, shape or form, a film I regret having seen, which is much more than can be said for an unhealthily large number of films I've seen this year.

In writing up some notes less than two days after watching WALL-E, it had already collapsed in my memory as a vague, inoffensively enjoyable robot-shaped blur, with none of the identifiable characterisation that made the best of Pixar's output the best of Pixar's output. This is all far more negative than I've intended it to be, but to be brutally frank the only interesting thing I can think of to talk about regarding the film is the perception that it's anything other than minor Pixar, not an instant entry into their already impressive hall of fame.

You should definitely see WALL-E. Just be warned if you've bought fully into the hype, you've bought more than WALL-E can deliver.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 4/5 TippyMarks.

Andrew Stanton
Cast list:
Ben Burtt (WALL-E / M-O)
Elissa Knight (EVE)
Jeff Garlin (Captain)
Fred Willard (Shelby Forthright)