To be trapped alone and isolated on a dusty, garbage riddled planet would be horrible. I lived in Sunderland for a time, so I’ve already had some experience with the horrors that could be thrown upon me. I kid, of course, as the sole inhabitant of Wall-E’s world is a robot set on crushing garbage into cubes, rather than someone horribly upset that they’ve dropped a sausage roll. As much as I’d love to avoid living in a utopia where there aren’t trash cubes and fallen pasties everywhere, my dream will never come to fruition. We live in dire times, and the environmental reminders found in Wall-E do indeed hold water.
Director Andrew Stanton was the driving force behind childhood classic Finding Nemo and nostalgia farce Finding Dory, but between the three animated features he’s worked on, Wall-E is the obvious middle ground. Not quite great, certainly not close to the euphoric highs of Toy Story and Ratatouille, but nowhere close to the villainous lows of Inside Out or Cars. To give Wall-E more credit than being an undeniably fun, family-oriented feature, would feel rather foolish. Oddly forgettable, but the stylish charms of that glitzy Pixar animation are present here far greater than anywhere else.
One of the few people on this wretched plain to be stony-faced in the wake of Wall-E as a character, I find myself at odds with those infatuated by this rustic robot. The sleek design of those around him makes a nice comparison to the horrors down below, but it smacks of a style that lacks ingenuity. It was ground-breaking when Toy Story rolled itself out with all the delightful strides of CGI, but now that form of animation has been tweaked and moulded to a slick perfection, there’s no desire to improve upon the product. Maybe I should be thankful the film isn’t falling apart at the seams, but I’d trade Wall-E for a film that shows signs of wear and tear, especially if it received such wounds in the face of fighting ingenuity.
Wall-E isn’t bad, don’t misconstrue my words there. Jeff Garlin’s speaking role as the Captain, and Fred Willard’s on-screen appearance as Shelby Forthright make for engaging moments. Most of them muse on the rather stark pairing of fighting against ecological terrors and business monopolies, but it’s played off in as charming a way as it can be. Disney often manage to pull heart and comfy watching out of the bleak and grim realities they have helped form, but all is forgiven when the credits begin to roll. Another product from the conveyer belt of creativity hidden deep beneath the Mickey’s treehouse, fear the day we get sick of these products. The fallout will be extraordinary.