WALL-E (2008)

Rated: G
Length: 98 min
Age: 4 + … watchable at 4, better understood by 5 or 6          Commonsense Media sez: 5 +

Scary factor: our main characters are chased about, but nothing very threatening; Eve has a gun in her arm that she shoots at inanimate objects; in one scene she accidentally sets some huge oil tankers ablaze – no danger to characters, but it’s big and fiery, so may be alarming; a bad robot falls a great distance and breaks apart

Intense: some sad moments near the end when Wall-E seems broken-down/dead, but Eve is looking after him and it’s easy to allay concerns (“He’ll get better!”) because he does!

Language: one ‘heck’

Interests: space, robots, spaceships, environment
A very small robot is left behind on earth to clean up garbage – the sheer vast amounts of which have caused the human race to vacate in favour of a luxury spaceship parked in outer space somewhere. He gets lonely, meets a glam robot named Eve, who is taken away on a spaceship, he hitches a ride and the adventure takes off from there.

This one was sold to us on the basis of the trailer – my daughter saw it on another DVD and immediately fell in love with the main character. Who would have thought a dystopian nightmare vision of the earth’s future could be packaged in such a moving, funny, kid-friendly film? It’s actually a lovely movie for a 4-year-old, if you don’t mind explaining things as you go. An awful lot of the story is communicated through simple gestures or expressions, as the two leads aren’t exactly chatty. Plus the very young don’t really ‘get’ sci-fi conventions that the rest of us rather take for granted, ie. computers running amok, humans ruining the earth, or even the simple fact that if you are a stowaway on a spaceship everyone will be after you.

Apart from having lots of questions however, she loved the slapstick and Wall-E himself is incredibly appealing. She even liked his pet cockroach! The jokes that are included for adults (ie. the invincible cockroach) aren’t in the way, that is to say, the plot doesn’t stand still while they are delivered, they are just glimpsed in passing. She also loved the fat people on the spaceship falling out of their loungers and sliding around like beached whales – without fully ‘getting’ the social commentary on humanity being so inherently lazy that they will willingly give up the ability to walk if someone will cater to their every need. And in the end, my daughter actually understood the biggest lesson of all. As she put it,

“I think the earth will get cleaner again. Because there are plants growing.”

In conclusion: A totally loveable robot in a great ‘beginner’ sci-fi flick. Movie’s message is surprisingly deep re. environmentalism, uber-consumerism, and humanity’s inherent laziness, but movie is still extremely entertaining for all ages. A funny action movie complete with a robot love story. A terrific family film everyone will love.

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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