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Animated movie touches social issues

July 08, 2008|By ERICA L. SYVERSON / Pulse Correspondent

The masters at Disney-Pixar who brought us animated films like "Toy Story" and "Ratatouille" have done it again.

On Friday, June 27, moviegoers went to theaters to see everyone's new favorite trash-compacting robot "WALL-E" in his anticipated, big-screen debut. The movie is rated G.

Corporate superstore Big-N-Large plans to clean up the Earth while the rest of the human race is shipped out for a five-year vacation on a giant spaceship resort called Axiom. An advertising campaign like, "There's plenty of space in space!" and "You don't even have to walk!" helped to win everyone over when the polluted atmosphere became too stifling.

Now 700 years later, our hero WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-Class) is alone in an abandoned, garbage-covered city where he spends his days compacting little cubes of garbage and building skyscrapers out of them. Accompanied by a robotic cockroach, he collects odds and ends in his leisure, watches "Hello, Dolly!" on VHS and records show tunes - but is generally lonely.

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With help from EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), WALL-E makes it onto Axiom with proof that Earth is finally suitable for supporting life - a plant growing out of soil in an old boot.

From there, they, along with what's left of the human race, face humiliation, insubordination, sanitation, technical difficulties, an angry automatic pilot and the biggest problem - getting back to Earth.

As if being an adorable flick with action, comedy, romance and an original score by Thomas Newman isn't enough, "WALL-E" also touches on some important social issues. There are a lot of images that stick with you after you walk out of the theater. There's a brown haze that surrounds the garbarge-strewen Earth. And the horizontally challenged population on Axiom, who slurp their meals through straws, is a little disturbing once the image of EVE and WALL-E holding hands fades to black.

It's not clear whether the filmmakers were trying to make a statement. But, hey, maybe it's just a kid's movie.

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