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The little cleaning robot that was constructed to compress and shove away all that rubbish mankind left behind when fleeing Earth is alone on that lost planet. Men gone, colleagues broken. Mission: clean up and if there’s anything interesting: play with it. So he plays with cockroaches and Hello Dolly video tapes until one day a reconnaissance mission comes in, checking for recurrence of life, but only finding him and taking him (by accident) on the spaceship where humanity has been cruising and growing fat over the last 700 years. We want to go back and resettle on Eearth, of course. And finally so they do.

The mission is the same as in Battlestar Galactica, that’s a good start, and let’s hope it ends better than there, and the heroes are kind of nice, too. Wall-E looks like “Number 5” of “Short Circuit” (“bbbbbbrrrrr… mooooorrre INPUT!”), speaks like R2-D2 (no wonder, same voice designer) and his girlfriend looks like a electrical salt dispenser, quite nice. The animation is absolutely stunning, and the first 20 minutes when the scenery lives off his adventures on Earth and he behaves like the guy in that African film about the Coke bottle falling off a plane into the Kenyan desert (ok, I will check… “The Gods Must Be Crazy”, and it plays in the Kalahari desert. Now is that Kenya? I have no idea…) – magic!
However, when the setting changes and humans come in, the old problem of animated movies comes back with a vengeance. Humans, as a rule of nature, look never good in animation, and even when you try to make them look ridiculous, they are always more fake than the poorest artificial objects. And more boring. Wall-E is the star of the show, and nobody can steal that show – but whenever he interacts with those nerdy fat humans, there is a slight pffft sound when interest evaporates.

The praise for the film’s brilliance that caused some critics to cure it the first Oscar contender for next year was in my opinion exaggerated – it is a very nice animated film, kind of hard to sell between enthusiastic, but slightly disappointed grown-ups and their slightly overburdened kids who start shifting on their butts after 10 minutes without talking (“why is the cockroach not taaaalkiiing?” – “Because it’s a cockroach, they don’t talk” – “But Nemo taaaallked” – “Not a cockroach either. Shut up, we are at the movies. Or go to the toilet and talk there. Come back in no less than 60 minutes.”).

Very positive: no famous actors for the voices, but mostly people who can do proper voices – how I HATE these half-prominent B movie actors in other movies (and yes, I mean YOU: Mike Myers, and YOU: Jack Black!), the lack of talent only enlarged when reduced to the means of voice.
Two reviews I enjoyed:
Roger Ebert
LA Times

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