WALL-E,” the story of a plucky little sanitation droid with a heart of gold polymer, manages to make us laugh, cheer out loud, and encourages us to think about our environment and the perils of rampant commercialism -- without being too preachy, mind you – in a lightning-fast, fun-filled 103 minutes.
If that’s not worth four stars, I don’t know what is.
The digital geniuses behind Pixar not only hit one out of the park, they knocked the ball into the stratosphere with their oddball robotic love story, which is destined to be the best animated movie of the year.
When we first meet the pint-sized clean-up-bot (WALL-E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-class), he’s been recycling all of the planet’s refuse into gigantic skyscrapers ever since humanity abandoned Earth 700 years ago.
With his personality algorithms crossed somewhere between Woody Allen and Curious George, the free-wheeling automaton spends his off hours collecting souvenirs of Earth’s past – such as lunchboxes, light bulbs and Rubik's cubes – and watching the musical “Hello Dolly!,” on videotape no less.
He’s also very, very lonely, a situation that soon changes once a ship touches down and spits out the supermodel of scouting robots – the sweet, shiny and spunky EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator).
One look at EVE’s come hither digital displays and WALL-E’s smitten, even though she tries to vaporize him at almost every turn.
EVE, it turns out, has been sent back to Earth to see if it could sustain plant life after thousands of years of misuse and 700 more of abandonment.
WALL-E provides her with the proof in a gesture of affection, by giving her a wilting plant he found growing inside a discarded refrigerator.
Thus begins an out-of-this-world chase back to the Axiom, the ship where last vestiges of humanity are struggling to survive.
Oh, I’m sorry, that’s “Battlestar Galactica.”
On the Axiom, which looks like a gigantic shopping mall, the only thing the over-fed, exercise-free former citizens of Earth struggle with is the bendy straws to their meal shakes.
In fact, many don’t even notice they’re in outer space as they float around on hover chairs, shop online and chat with their friends through their cushy, cell phone headrests.
That is, until WALL-E shows up and shakes things up with his crazy, love-lorn antics.
But he’s not only shaking them up. He’s leaving the audience in fits by evoking peals of laughter, as well as a few tears.
Not a bad day’s work for a three-foot underpaid garbage hauler.
Directed by Andrew Stanton. Running time: 103 minutes. Rated G.