How far has Pixar come in terms of humanizing technology? This science-fiction romance is more charming when the robots – not the humans – are on the screen. WALL-E focuses on the cheerful and industrious robot of the title, who is the last remaining waste collector on an abandoned earth. The movie’s best moments are the early ones, in which writer-director Andrew Stanton emphasizes the wistful notion of someone plugging away at their work long after the end of the world (there are echoes of the comic poignancy of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times). The arrival of a sleek robot probe named Eve sweetens things – WALL-E’s persistent wooing of her will warm your heart – yet she also reunites our hero with the human race. Flesh, satire and dialogue all enter, causing the picture’s silent-movie spell to slightly dissipate.
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