What if you could spend the rest of your life lying back in an easy-recliner chair? What if you never had to lift a finger to work again? What if everything you wanted and needed was at your beck and call, and you literally had to just…ask?
Maybe you’d read a book. Maybe you’d watch television all day. Maybe you’d eat all the goodies you ever wanted. Maybe you’d exercise, get spa treatments and beauty tips.
Maybe you’d be in bliss.
Maybe you’d forget what ‘bliss’ meant and even how to look up a dictionary.
And maybe, just maybe, in a world run by machines, two machines would meet, touch, fall in love and save the world. Not necessarily in that order either.
Say hello to Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class, a trash compactor robot, better known as WALL·E. Pixar brings us the delightful story of a lonely robot and his first brush with love.
WALL·E creates a future world where Earth is a gigantic deserted garbage dump and all of humankind is comfortably nestled in their individualized utopias aboard a spaceship. What is commendable is that this complicated story is told with a touching simplicity and laced with humour that appeals across age groups. In the theatre with me were a bunch of boistrous under-10s who ceased their screaming and rolling on the floor antics the minute the screen lit up and stayed put till the very end. It was helped even furthur by the fact that the movie has virtually no dialogue (I hate animation movies with too much dialogue!) and the story progresses neatly in action.
WALL·E‘s day begins with the sun shining over the wasteland of a planet as he stands at a vantage point charging his solar circuits. Solar-breakfast done, he bumpetty-bumps and clanks his way through the rubble and garbage and trash and stacks up the compacted blocks into neat fences, mountains, towers and buildings. There is a distinctly kiddie feel to this bit, reminiscent of the early computer games like Bob the Builder, except with a tad more pizzaz. The little-boy feel continues as we meet WALL·E‘s only living companion, a skeetering, screeching cockroach who gets run over every now and then but cheerfully shakes himself up and continues to creepy-crawl around WALL·E‘s dirty planet. We are then invited into WALL·E‘s tidy little gizmo-home, a delightfully tidied-up and neatly categorized metal container filled with racks of cutlery, wires, nuts-and-bolts and sundry other objects. After what looks like a hard day’s work, WALL·E settles in to watch a TV program of human beings having fun, laughing, dancing and living. And he sighs..perceptibly.
Along comes a snazzy, ultra-future-futuristic Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator or EVE and you guessed it – WALL·E‘s circuits start zooming (or whatever it is that circuits do) hundredfold. EVE is purposeful, efficient, focussed and not in the mood for romance! As the sweet (and sometimes pesky) WALL·E woos his lovely robot-ess, she shrugs off his overtures in favour of more important pursuits – like saving the world.
And just as you wonder if this will be just another chickflick romance masquerading as science-fiction, the movie changes tracks. While WALL·E has been wheeling around peacefully on his planet, the rest of the human race has been upto a whole lot of living. As the podgy lumpkins that we’ve all turned into bump-wobble around, WALL·E and EVE join forces (or arms) to battle a runaway program. In the process, they’re accused of being Rogue Robots, acquire a few friends like a green plant potted in a shoe and a cleaning fetishist called M-O. And all at once you realize that what started off as little-boy-comic, meandered into chickie-romance has grown into a fully-charged sci-fi plot with odd bits of humour.
Pixar must believe that God is in the details since every last nuance of the future, from WALL·E‘s wasteland littered with supermarket banners and plastic wrappers down to human beings chatting with each other online while unknowingly riding next to each other on the freeway. There are few real nuggets sprinkled through the whole movie like a robot getting a makeover, the captain whooping away into the night as he learns how to use a dictionary and a couple bracing themselves to catch a bunch of babies tumbling towards them with a “I think we’re finally ready to start a family!”
So do they make it? Does the human race survive? Do we ever return to Planet Earth, filthy as it is? Does organic life ever create and re-create again? And do WALL·E and EVE finally meet?
WALL·E, a Pixar Animation Film releases in India on August 29.