Wall·E review

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Wall·ESo here comes my first(long-waited?) attempt at writing a movie review. Somehow I think I manage to fail before I even started.

And to make things worse, aside from this ridiculous title, I will avoid using a few words that have been widely popular among the reviews of this movie. “Cute”, “adorable”, “beautiful”, “touching”, “best”, “perfect”, “amazing” and “great” are the ones in my list.

Don’t get me wrong though, avoid using these words doesn’t mean I disagree with any of them or I hated this movie. In fact, I like this movie too much that I have to ask myself to justify my reasons of adoring it. This is, however, not exclusive to this movie.
First off, I do not think this movie is a Sci-Fi movie(2001: A Space Odyssey for example) like many believe so. It seems like there’s an unwritten rule that if you put “700 years later”, “robots” and “galaxy” together in a movie or a novel, it is then automatically labeled as “Sci-Fi”. Aside from Wall·E and Eve, the robots in this movie are actually what we are living with today. For example, MO is very similiar to the iRobot available in your supermarket. What makes Wall·E and Eve stand out from all the robots is the personalities they possess. But I take that part as magic, not Sci-Fi. “Wall·E is”, said the director Andrew Stanton, “nerdy romantic”. I wholeheartedly agree, it is more of romantic than Sci-Fi, or rather, a romantic story disguised as Sci-Fi.

This categorization matters and maybe matters to me alone, since I’m trying to justify the reasons of my fondness. I’ve read through several “rotten” reviews on RottenTomatoes to see if they can pull me back to normal. Unfortunately(or fortunately?), they all failed more or less.
The critic who failed miserably is Brian Orndorf of scifimoviepage.com. He wrote:

However, the ambition doesn’t match the outcome, and while Wall-E dances whimsically, it’s a plodding, frighteningly hypocritical, and forbidding film that trips over its fogged intentions at every dreary turn.

It’s a pretty ballsy move to create a film condemning the culture of gluttony and corporate insatiability while indulging in those practices to market a film (kids, make sure to buy a Wall-E toy on the way out!), and it opens a can of worms that Stanton has no idea how to properly sort to dramatic satisfaction. Wall-E paints in massive brush strokes, attempting to educate younger audience members with horrific vistas of a polluted, wasted Earth and the overall piggish behavior of the humans, while also making sure Wall-E is endearing enough to use on games, toys, and stuffed animals so all concerned make a mint off of vulnerable family audiences.

Labeling others as “hypocritical” is never easy, a lot of the times you may end up being hypocrite yourself. Sadly, Brian Ornadorf is no exception. His reason failed mainly because he mistakenly reviewed Pixar/Disney rather than the movie Wall·E. Those types of haters exist everywhere in every category, I respectfully label them as hypocrites. As for those who think there are too much “messages”(anti-consumerist or ecological and etc, though I never noticed(dumb?) while watching) in the movie, MoviesOnline.ca has an interview with Andrew Stanton, it goes as follows:

MoviesOnline: If you’re not coming with a political or ecological message, you do have stuff about consumerism and upstairs we have a whole product suite. Is there…?

ANDREW STANTON: I wasn’t trying to be anti anything. I think I was just trying to go “Look, too much of a good thing of anything is a cautionary tale.” Honestly, everything I did was in reverse. It was like I’ve gotta go with trash because I love what it does to my main character and it’s very clear, and then I went backwards from that. I said “Why would there be too much trash?” Well it’d be really easy for me to show we’d bought too much stuff and it’d be really easy to show that without having to have it explained and it’s kind of fun. It’s fun to be satirical like that. You know we all have that sort of Simpsons bent, you know. So I just went with what felt somewhat true. I mean I think we’ve always felt that we have to be sort of disciplined in that area.

If the director clearly states he’s not sending a message over the movie, then the people who smell them may just be over-sensitive. In fact, if you take this movie as a romantic tale as I do, you will almost certainly believe what Andrew says about the “reverse”. All the post-apocalyptic settings are made up just to serve this romantic story, not the other way around. And what with a “preachy” romantic story? Believe it or not, we need more preachy love stories like this not only for our generation, but more importantly, for the kids of the new generation. It is uncanny that most people think this movie is preachy because of its environmental settings, but fail to realize it is such an influential example of the genuine love for the next generation, or maybe even ourselves.

Back to the review, it seems Brian did argue a bit about the movie itself, which is as follows:

Wall-E doesn’t have much adventure on its mind, nesting comfortably in the details of cutesy robot behavior and mad lunges toward audience sympathy, but there’s no dramatic spine keeping the film a riveting sit.

Well, it is not the cutesy that makes most people like this movie. Take Hello-Kitty for example, I think it is cute but I can’t stand it, let along liking it. The sympathy Wall·E gained from the audience, which ultimately transcends into love, is the magnificence of this movie. Because if we ask ourselves the reason why we have such tremendous sympathy for a robot, we will most likely find these keywords: humble, hardworking, perseverance, kind, friendly, the love and loneliness, the perseverance and triumph. Isn’t this the perfect example of what we human should be like? The sympathy then, perhaps unnoticeably, turned to admire, and eventually love. And perhaps if we look deeply, we can find the secrets to our own salvation.

There is a particular scene I liked most, in which Wall·E took Eve home to hide from the storm. Wall·E took out his treasures and gave them to Eve to play with. There’s some funny parts in this scene, but the emotion behind is far more. It is truly expressing a love story from the mot subtle approach. And yet it is hugely effective to me. All the 700 years collections of loneliness, from the bulb to the Zippo lighter that Wall·E collected over the centuries, began to have their purpose fulfilled. It’s the joy and happiness you can only archive by sharing your memory and your items with someone else, particularly someone you love. Those collections, along with Wall·E, have their own purposes fulfilled the moment Eve lights up the Zippo ligher. The 700 years of loneliness finally ended. The hidden message is simple but nothing short of profund; Wall·E can have the whole world but it means nothing to him; but with Eve, one who he adores helplessly, some 700 year old lighter values more than the entire world. With this subtle part of movie, the movie succeeds at being a genuine love story without a single line of cheesy script. It manifest, dare I say it, the essence of love which is the absence of loneliness, the happiness of sharing, and the joy of being witnessed.



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