Faithful readers of TAM (aren’t all of you faithful readers…?) will remember from last year’s review of Die Hard that celebrating my birthday involves going to a movie.  Well this year was no different.  This year, Cynthia got me an AMC card (I can see Spaldy smiling in approval) to celebrate my arrival to this planet.  So it seemed only fitting to use it to see my birthday movie.  Cynthia joined me and we tried to get our friend, Mo, to join us, but she was unable to join the merriment.

Now, it’s true that I have not been a big fan of what Pixar has released lately — that is due to me feeling like they were “phoning it in” with Cars, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.  Now before you get into an uproar, I found enjoyment in each one, but not like I had with Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and The Incredibles.  I can’t even comment on Ratatouille since I still have not seen it.  Usually I am fairly up-to-date on movies coming out, particularly Disney/Pixar, but WALL-E snuck up on me.  I did not hear anything about it until one of my friends started talking about it in March.  As time got closer I noticed more trailers and was impressed with what I saw.

WALL-E is the story of a robot that has one extraordinary day after centuries of the same routine.  Left to clean up the mess left behind by humans, WALL-E spends his day compacting trash into small cubes.  Over the years, he has developed a personality and a curiosity about things we take for granted: ladies underwear, ring boxes, and fire extinguishers.  He has also picked up an interest in watching one musical over and over, “Hello, Dolly”.

Then Eve arrives.

In Eve, he finds what he has watched over and over again on tape.  What follows is a sweet story of first love and the lengths one will go to for that other person.  There are increasing obstacles and a predictable, yet satisfying, ending.  Many side characters pop up to add color — my favorite was MO, the cleaner.

One of the big features of this movie is the lack of dialog.  For about the first hour, you just hear music and computer noises, with a slight snippet of a song from the video tape.  I loved this; it forced the animators to make the robots be more expressive physically.  I noticed that the kids enjoyed it too; it was the adults that got fidgety and frustrated.  I personally fell that the movie could have eliminated all dialog and not really suffered.

In other reviews, I have complained how learning improv has made me a harsher critic of movies.  If I wanted to pick a movie to show a budding improviser how to craft a simple story with stake-raising and a clear desire, it would be WALL-E.

My advice: see it at full price — recline back and let WALL-E’s world engulf you…

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