WALL-E Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
From its earliest days as an animation studio, Pixar (now teamed with Disney) has had a knack for pouring life-like qualities into inanimate objects such as their trademark desk lamp. Their short films, including Presto which precedes this movie, are particularly well known for characters infused with personalities though limited on dialogue. WALL-E, the futuristic garbage collector (voice by Ben Burtt), is also brief with words but big on heart.
Working alone in a deserted cityscape, the robotic little trash compactor goes about the endless job of cleaning up after the humans, who have all rocketed off the polluted planet in hopes of finding another place to live. The sole survivor on Earth (along with his pet cockroach), WALL-E spends his evenings cataloguing his finds from the day and re-watching a video of the musical Hello Dolly. Despite being made of metal and circuit boards, he has developed a real persona during his 700 years of solitude.
But the arrival of a powerful spaceship, which deposits a sleek, mobile scanning device on the windswept surface, changes WALL-E’s isolated existence. After narrowly avoiding incineration by the trigger-happy Eve (voice by Elissa Knight), WALL-E manages to exchange greetings and eventually invites Eve back to his bachelor’s pad in the back of a garbage truck. Yet his awkward attempts to woo the aerodynamic android are mostly rebuffed. Her prime directive is to search for any signs of life and then relay the information back to the space vessel hovering above the junk-filled atmosphere.
A budding romance, however, is only one story line in this satire that also investigates the social concerns of a growing (in more ways than one) population. Hitching a ride to the mother ship, WALL-E is exposed to space travelers that are overweight, unimaginative, gluttonous consumers bombarded by big business sale’s pitches. Glued to virtual screens that hover in front of their eyes, they’re oblivious to anything around them. It is only after WALL-E unintentionally disrupts their comfy existence that the daily drudgery is exposed and the ship’s captain (voice by Jeff Garlin) is forced to take the reins from the autopilot computer (voice by Sigourney Weaver).
For adult viewers, the film provides a playful, if sometimes weighty, commentary on the future. Unfortunately, at times it loses itself in the litter and belabors the burgeoning waistlines of the displaced Earthlings a little too long. Frequent perilous situations and a gun-toting droid who likes to shoot first and ask questions later may also be frightening for young audience members.
While the script deviates by degrees from the witty one-liners and quick paced jokes the company is known for, it still offers amazing animation, clever personification of machinery and endearing characters that are faithful to Pixar standards. Although less lighthearted than its predecessors (among them Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Ratatouille), this creative and engaging social commentary proves to be anything but rubbish.
Starring Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin, Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Sigourney Weaver. Theatrical release June 26, 2008. Updated June 16, 2010
Rating & Content Info
Why is WALL-E rated G? WALL-E is rated G by the MPAA
Spending a lifetime alone on a deserted planet, WALL-E amuses himself by collecting garbage including a brassier that he temporarily uses as a headpiece. The film’s limited dialogue leaves little room for language concerns other than some brief arguing. However, the characters often experience moments of peril. They are hunted down by other robots, caught in sand storms, electrocuted, hit by lightening and pushed into a garbage disposal. One character repeatedly shoots with the intent to destroy. A robot falls from a great height and smashes on the floor below. Disobedient robots are imprisoned. Brief, violent interactions occur between human and computerized characters.
In the short film, Presto, which proceeds WALL-E, a magician and rabbit are involved in numerous altercations. Characters are electrocuted, smashed, dropped from heights, hit with objects, and exposed to other types of vaudeville violence. A man has his fingers caught in a mousetrap, and is humiliated and taunted by his assistant.
Page last updated June 16, 2010
More parents' guide for WALL-E after the break...
WALL-E Parents' Guide
What does WALL-E learn about human interactions from watching the video of the musical Hello Dolly? How does he try to emulate that in his relationship with Eve? Although he has all the stuff in the world, why does he still crave contact with another being?
How do the film’s producers develop their characters’ personalities, even with very little dialogue? How do facial features, tone of voice and inflections all contribute to communication?
The moviemakers address social concerns such as consumerism, waste, interference from big business, lack of physical fitness, institutionalized childcare and the addiction to screens and virtual worlds. Which of these issues do you think is our biggest concern? What changes should be made to protect our current society from ending up like the characters in this film who are forced to flee from Earth?
The most recent home video release of WALL-E movie is November 17, 2008. Here are some details…
The single disc DVD version is presented in widescreen with the following bonus features: an audio commentary with director Andrew Stanton, deleted scenes, featurettes (Animation Sound Design and WALL-E’s Tour of the Universe) and two animated shorts (Presto and BURN-E). Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English).
WALL-E also comes in a 3-Disc DisneyFile Special Edition DVD. Along with the aforementioned extras, this package offers additional deleted scenes and featurettes. These include The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks, BnL Shorts, WALL-E’s Treasures and Trinkets, Lots of Bots Storybook and Bot Files. As well, there is a Digital Copy of the movie on disc 3.
WALL-E comes to Blu-ray too. Available in either a 2-Disc Special Edition or 3-Disc DisneyFile Special Edition, the difference between these two versions is the latter offers a digital copy of the movie. Both Blu-ray packages provide the same bonus materials. These include an audio commentary with director Andrew Stanton, deleted scenes, featurettes (Animation Sound Design: WALL-E’s Tour of the Universe, The Pixar Story by Leslie Iwerks, -BnL Short, Wall-E’s Treasures and Trinkets, Lots of Bots Storybook and Bot Files) and animated shorts (Presto and BURN-E). Extras exclusive to Blu-ray Disc are a Geek Track viewing option, Cine-Explore with director Andrew Stanton, Picture-in-Picture enhancement of BURN-E (with storyboards) and Axiom Arcade (retro style videogames).
Related home video titles:
Bearing a remarkable resemblance to WALL-E, Number 5 is a robot that is jolted to life by an electrical overload in the film Short Circuit. For the older crowd, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a classic film that addresses the fate of another crew lost in space. Once again actor John Ratzenberger lends his voice to a Pixar production, this time as John, the overweight space traveler. Listen for his voice in the company’s other films including Toy Story, Cars and The Incredibles.
Home Video Notes: WALL-E
Release Date: 18 November 2008
WALL-E comes in a variety of models as it sweeps the home video market place.