SF elements: intelligent robots
On a garbage-strewn Earth long deserted by humans, solar-powered trash-compactor WALL·E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter · Earth-Class) continues his lonely job of clearing up the mess, collecting the occasional memento along the way. But one day his routine is interrupted when a spacecraft lands and disgorges EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a pristine white egg shaped robot (very Japanese) with a deadly blaster arm. Trying to befriend this new companion, WALL·E presents a selection of his discoveries, but nothing works until he offers a small plant. EVE grabs it, and the spaceship returns. Now WALL·E's life changes forever as he follows her back to the humans on the starship Axiom.
This is good fun, with lots of little gags adding richness to the overall plot. That plot itself is a bit thin (although better, and more original, than Cars), but provides for some good scenes with berserk monster robots. The treacly ending is wrong, though -- the humans get to return to Earth because it has recovered enough started regrowing plants; but clearly they have learned nothing, since the Axiom requires gigantic garbage compactor robots of its own.
Nevertheless, the weird robots, the boneless humans in their hover-chairs, the way WALL·E folds up into a cube, the Captain's cape-jacket, the autopilot (including the neat 2001 reference), the digs at consumerism, and the rest, add up to a fun ride. Better (more original) than Cars, but nowhere near up to the depth of the Toy Story series. (Although, of course, those two are fantasies, of a world of car-people, or a world where toys have secret lives of their own, whereas this is science fiction, of a future world of "real" robots interacting with humans -- so I had to firmly engage my suspension of disbelief, and stop asking: but how did they manage to reprogram themselves to do that...)
reviewed 3 January 2011