Ok, so I've had some time to fully digest Pixar's latest money-maker and I have to say, I just LOVE this movie. While I don't want to give the entire plot and all of the awesome things this movie encompasses away (ya know, just in case you might want to go see it for yourselves), I will cover a few things that really stood out for me:
Despite being marketed towards kids, trust me when I say that this is NOT a kid's movie. Because there is no dialog until much later in the movie, one must possess a relatively mature understanding of non-verbal human emotion (as displayed by an animated robot) to really grasp the early events. DJC and I were surrounded by kids who were constantly asking their parents what was going on. Pixar did a brilliant job of imparting human feelings and emotive expressions onto a non-human object...the kids knew that WALL-E was sad, they just didn't know why.
Because there was very little verbal communication initially, Pixar relied largely on the fact that people could relate to how WALL-E was "feeling" (lonely, sad, longing for companionship) to draw viewers in. Funny thing here is that unlike Forrest Gump, I knew I was being manipulated by WALL-E's love for music, the movie "Hello Dolly" and his desire to hold hands and feel loved and I just didn't care. Good thing, too. The wonderful love story would have been very difficult to believe had I not been totally emotionally invested in WALL-E and his desire to be with EVE at all costs. I also loved that WALL-E's only Earthly friend was a cockroach that lived in the still-soft center of a Twinkie. Brilliant.
Another thing that normally annoys me about movies or music or anything, really, is lack of originality. WALL-E borrows heavily from several movies and books, and oddly enough, I'm OK with it. Pixar took elements of everything from Neuromancer's Freeside pleasure space station (as the inspiration for Axiom), to The Little Mermaid, Ariel, and her cave of human treasures (the similarities between this and WALL-E's home are pretty damn blatant), to actually using the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey during at time in the movie where the "Captain" of the Axiom realizes that the auto-pilot has actually been running the ship under secret orders for 700 years. This last one should have really bugged me, but instead, I found the timing of the music to be perfect. Pixar really thought about every little thing in this movie. And it just worked.
I think I will need to see WALL-E again to catch all the subtleties, because the movie is laced with them. At the end of the day, despite what some people (my parents...they hated it!) are saying, I really liked everything about this flick and I can't recommend it enough. It's totally imaginative and wonderfully entertaining with amazing animation. Go. See. Love. =)