WALL-E (2008)

Ben Burtt (WALL-E), Elissa Knight (Eve), Jeff Garlin (Captain), Fred Willard (Shelby Forthright)

Directed by Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo)

IMDB: In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot that slowly begins to become sentient inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Keven, did you realize Sigourney Weaver did the voice of the ship's computer? Look! I have one job on this lousy ship. It's stupid, but I'm gonna do it! Okay?

In an attempt to break a land speed record for Lofty family theater trips, we took the girls to see this last Sunday. That's right! Only two days after seeing Iron Man! Presses need to be stopped. Young, eager newsmen must be notified.

Our first and only other attempt to take the girls to a movie theater was in November of 2006 to see the somewhat tedious, far too scary Happy Feet. I'm happy to report that Juliette is now of the age when watching a movie in the theater is a pleasurable experience. I got lucky, in that I sat next to her. She had a great time, laughing at the jokes as they happened and following the story fairly well. When she'd get a bit too tense, I diffused the situation with a little explanation. But overall, she enjoyed herself.

Ilsa...not as much. I think if we had seen this at home, she wouldn't have had the same troubles. Something about the dark of the movie theater intensifies the experience. Keven had the unfortunate task of getting her through the movie, seated next to her--and then acting as her chair. It wasn't nearly as bad as with the killer whales and sea lions in Happy Feet, but she still psyched herself out. She held it together until the credits when she simply broke down and cried, a final tension release. Afterward she could talk about parts she enjoyed, but the experience left her drained.

Now for an adult take. I hadn't planned on seeing this one because the concept didn't appeal to me, but after the messianic, orgasmic movie reviews it's received, I felt compelled. And it was something to do on a Sunday. But I don't really see what all the fuss is about. It's cute. It's clever. It's also kind of dull.

Some of the best Pixar movies--Toy Story (I & II), A Bug's Life, and Finding Nemo--have been great because of sharp screenplays featuring snappy dialogue. Those witticisms help adult viewers endure what is essentially kids' fare. Without that winking wit, it boils down to a cute robot movie. I've seen Short Circuit, thank you very much. The morals were valid and timely, but heavy-handed and lacking the graceful message other Pixar films have shown. This story preaches to its audience, which is ironic considering how little dialogue it contains.

I liked some of the cultural allusions, and the conclusion did bring a tear to my eye, but this is not a keeper for the ages. A keeper has to be one I can watch--or at least listen to--over and over and over again, which wouldn't happen with this one. Frankly, I don't know if it would hold their attention a second time.

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