? Once again Pixar has surprised and amazed me. While I have to admit that my first reaction to advertisements for Wall-E wasn't one of wonder (I actually thought it might be a bit too precious and contrived), in a way I'm glad that the animation powerhouse keeps proving me to be too cranky and cynical because let me tell you, this thing is fantastic and it nearly brought myself and Jim (who never cries) to tears.
Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter and team managed to make magic from the simplest ingredients: a desolate landscape that is an environmentalist's worst nightmare is rendered so exquisitely that you're left marveling at dust and trash; a cockroach, universally rather despised, becomes an adorable and loyal companion.
The warnings of impending environmental collapse (including morbid obesity, laziness and human gluttony destroying the earth) are harsh and direct, I'm hard pressed to think of another recent mainstream movie so clear in its message, especially a children's film. It's quite an achievement in this testy time to be so political without alienating audiences and coming off preachy.
I think the film manages this feat by instilling so much humanity in its nonhuman stars. Wall-E and Eve, just scraps of metal and computer chips, can make you laugh, cry and want to be a better person – pretty powerful stuff for a cartoon.