Pixar Studios, the filmmakers who brought us such modern classics as “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles” has ventured into the realms of George Orwell, Stanley Kuberick and Al Gore.  And yes I’ll say it now, it’s still a delightful kids movie.

From an adult standpoint you will see the literary and cultural references, as they are not well hidden.  First and most prominent is the environmental issue.  Several hundred years in the future the Earth has been abandoned by humans due to massive garbage pileups. A series of WALL-E robots are planned to clean it up, but somehow we find our hero as the last of that group… and he’s still got a lot of work ahead of him.

The cultural references go deeper, and get more sophisticated when we meet the remaining human population on a space cruiser living the life of luxury and uninterrupted personal catering via robotic hover chair and a legion of slick smooth white robot concierges that look as if they were designed and manufactured by Apple.  People do nothing for themselves and as such have become fat bloated immobile video chat addicts in their hover chairs.  Be weary: your iPod is trying to take over the world!

Finally, you can’t have a futuristic outer space film that doesn’t at least make a nod Stanley Kuberick’s “2001: A Space Oddesey”.  The ship’s computer bears a striking resemblance to everyone’s favorite navigation system HAL.

Dispite all this, WALL-E is very entertaining for the kids and the grown up kids too.  These subtle deep subjects are really glossed over and are just background noise compared to what the kids will see: a robot love story.

WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth class) while performing his programmed responsibilities, comes across a probe droid seeking plant life on the otherwise barren, trash-strewn Earth. EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) is sent to earth looking for signs of new plant growth. Having been alone for several hundred years, sans his cockroach companion, building garbage sky-scrapers WALL-E is immediately love-struck and seeks out this new robotic being.

Their romance is played out almost like a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon, which for children is more entertaining than the social subtext.  Still the kids should like the cute robots iPod like robots running around and making funny noises.

Which brings me to the cast.  There are only seven credited actors in the whole film.  And of the 1:37 runtime less than thirty minutes is dialogue. This gives the film an appeal similar to the Max Fleischer “Superman” cartoons from the 40’s, or more recently Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated “Clone Wars” series.

Directed by Andrew Stanton, who also wrote and directed “Monsters Inc.” he does a great job balancing the deep social issues with the overall lighthearted nature of a Pixar film.  The environmental issue is mostly a setting not a plot point and does not seem preachy at all.   Then again the “Simpson’s Movie” proved that comedy trumps environmental activism in animated films.

Pixar also takes another deviation from their history in depicting actual people on screen. Fred Willard (Everybody Loves Raymond) shows up several times as various recorded messages moving the plot along.

WALL-E while having the cute factor that will ring with the children, the adults will be able to dissect the film over wine and brie with the kids beeping and booping like their carton friends.

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