WALL-E is a cornucopia of filth, dust, rust and roaches, but if I wanted all of that I’d go back to my first New York City apartment. Compared to other kid flicks (or adult flicks, or even Ingmar Bergman flicks), this is one Gloom-E piece of work.
WALL-E is the last (sort of) living creature on earth, a bedraggled and lonesome robot who spends his days in a befouled metropolis that makes the one in I Am Legend look like Oz. The earth has been made uninhabitable by junk and pollution, its skies as brown as a bad day in Beijing, but at least apocalypse provides a good living: the job for which WALL-E is programmed is to gather up rubbish, compact it into cubes, and stack those as high as skyscrapers. As the trashopolis rises around him, he spends his spare time arranging his favorite salvaged items (a Rubik’s Cube, a spork) and watching an old videotape (jury-rigged to play through an iPod) of Hello, Dolly. WALL-E’s living quarters amount to a tool shed of despair, although by the standards of New York City circa 2008, it’s merely a fixer-upper with lots of potential.
A more advanced flying probe-bot sent to Earth for reasons unknown has feminine curves and lovely blue eyes that leave WALL-E smitten, though except for her habit of laser-zapping any suspicious object she could be one of those white bullet-shaped trash canisters you’d see at a snack bar.
When she and WALL-E start to beep sweet nothings at each other, she has a higher-pitched tone than he does and says her name is Eva, so WALL-E is confirmed to be a heterobot. The two of them wind up at a space station that houses the remnants of the human race. At this point the film, previously dingy and dark, goes matte black.
The earthlings — or maybe Americans, as none of them have any other kind of accent — are brain-dead blobs perpetually stuffed to the gills with entertainment. They never leave their spotless flying barcaloungers — and never could, since their bones have shrunk to useless twigs inside their Shrek-like masses. They float through their troglodyte lives as unquestioning subjects of the master corporation (the same one that ruined the Earth) that houses them, distracts them and feeds them. All foods are made to be sucked down like milkshakes for maximum convenience.