“Wall-E” – Susan Granger reviews

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What if mankind had to leave Earth and somebody forgot to turn off the last robot?

That’s why – in the year 2700 – little WALL-E, a Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth-Class, is still trash-compacting. Day-after-day, he dutifully glides through the toxic, post-apocalyptic wasteland, sifting through junk, forming it into neat cubes and neatly piling the detritus into scrap-skyscrapers. He’s lonely with only a cockroach for company, but he’s assembled a comfy home, filled with curious treasures, like Zippo lighters, Rubik’s Cubes and an old VHS tape of the 1969 musical “Hello, Dolly!”

One day, he finds a little green sprout. And, soon after, the Spaceship Axiom lands, depositing EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a sleek, egg-shaped probe-droid searching for evidence that Earth is ready for re-colonization. EVE so entrances WALL-E that he hitches a ride back with her, traveling out into a distant galaxy, where he teaches the spaceship’s plump, pear-shaped, pampered passengers, who have been reclining indolently in high-tech deck chairs for 700 years, how to be human again.

Writer/director David Stanton’s (“Finding Nemo”) Pixar animators are extraordinary, elegantly conveying complex thoughts, an intricate storyline and a wide range of emotions with minimal dialogue. With his sad binocular eyes and tank-tread feet, WALL-E is immediately endearing; his expressive, metallic speech comes via Ben Buritt, the sound designer who ‘voiced’ Chewbacca, R2D2, and E.T.

WALL-E’s cautionary environmental message rings green and clear, triumphing over the rampant consumerism with great credit to Thomas Newman’s musical score which is evocative, exuberant and self-explanatory, including the “Thus Spake Zarathustra” theme from Stanley Kubrick’s classic “2001.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “WALL-E” is a wistful, whimsical 10. It’s a visionary robotic romance that’s destined to be one of the best pictures of the year

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.