Christmas is a time for eating and drinking too much, arguing with your family and watching films, most probably done by Disney. It’s tradition. This leads me on messily to “Wall-E”, the latest collaboration between Disney and Pixar.

Wall-E (2008)

Y’know, I still get a few weird looks when I say I like Disney films. I don’t like all of them, but there are a few exceptional ones that go beyond the genre of “children’s film” and cross over into the “good film” club. I think films like “Aladdin”, “The Lion King” and all the Pixar flicks (with the possible exception of “Cars”) are brilliant films. “Wall-E” can safely join that list. It’s brilliant and one of my top films of 2008. Why? I’ll tell you after the inevitable plot summary/general overview paragraph…

“Too much garbage in your face? There’s plenty of space out in space! BnL Starliners leaving each day. We’ll clean up the mess while you’re away.”

The story follows Wall-E, a small waste collecting unit and the last active robot on Earth. After compacting waste for 700 years he suddenly finds that he’s not alone as newer, flashier robot EVE arrives. Wall-E inadvertently finds himself on a journey through space, with the future of mankind in his metallic hands. It’s a great story. I can’t believe that the filmmakers managed to not only put a credible love story between two robots up on screen, but that they made us care about the characters too. I found myself actually emotionally invested in the characters, which is a great achievement for any film, let alone a computer-generated children’s one.

I think the main reason “Wall-E” works is Wall-E himself. He’s a fantastic comedic creation with some endearing quirks and who can say more with one tilt of his eyes or one nervous clutching of his hands than most animated characters ever could. Who would have thought that a robot who collects things and is obsessed with the musical “Hello, Dolly!” would be so loveable? I mean, I’m a 22 year old man with the emotional availability of the Terminator and I still wanted to reach into the screen and give the little guy a hug. I think Ben Burtt’s involvement (the man who invented all the iconic sounds in “Star Wars”) cannot be ignored. As the “voice” of both Wall-E and EVE, he manages to convey the most complex of ideas with the simplest of sounds. Outstanding.

Wall-E generates some brilliant moments too. The scenes where he interacts with things like a fire extinguisher and a bra are a joy to watch. I loved the little bit where Wall-E frets over whether to place his newly found spork with his spoon or fork collection. It’s tiny touches like this that really add to the character. As with most Disney films, “Wall-E” has an underlying message throughout. This one is about caring for the environment. It’s a bit preachy in places, but it’s delivered with enough charm to be acceptable.

“Foreign contaminant!”

There is so much to like about “Wall-E”- it’s visually stunning, funny and endearing. Simply put, if you don’t like “Wall-E” you have no soul.

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