Pixar have produced superb high quality digital animation in the past, and this film is up to their usual standard. This time however, the plot is a little darker and more foreboding than previous Pixar features. The world as we know it has been buried under mounds of garbage and Earth has become a giant rubbish dump. Humanity have fled the polluted planet and have degenerated into boneless piles of flab, transported around a gargantuan spaceship on hover-chairs, and ministered to by a vast army of automata. On earth all the remaining infrastructure has been crushed by mountains of refuse. The robotic machinery left with the task of the cleanup have broken down. All except for one tiny compactor robot, who continues tirelessly with the insurmountable and seemingly impossible task of sorting and stacking the garbage.
Pretty heavy stuff! Nevertheless, our celluloid hero, Wall-e, who owes a lot to Short Circuit (another hollywood robot), is such a cute endearing little chap, that we soon forget about the rather grim apocalyptic undertones in the plot. Wall-e meets up with EVE, who despite the spelling of her name is addressed as Eva, so I'm not really sure whether she should be called Eve or Eva. Whatever! Eva is a slim, curvaceous, high performance, high-tech machine who looks suspiciously similar to many products designed by Apple. And she's packing heat! Underneath her sleek white casing this gal has some pretty awesome firepower. You would be ill-advised to give her any back-chat. Yet another feisty strong female heroine.
The villain in this movie turns out to be a rogue mainframe (the "Auto-pilot) who I thought bore a striking resemblance to "Colossus", the villain in the novel of the same name by D. F. Jones, which was made into a movie in the early seventies. Since this is a kids' movie "Auto-pilot" is not nearly as murderous and sinister as D. F. Jones' Colossus. However, this latest movie from Pixar does nothing to enhance the reputation of mainframes, who often get to play the bad guy.
Needless to say Wall-e and Eva rekindle the spirit of humanity in the hearts of the humans and together they save the world, well at least in so far as it is possible to save the world after it has been destroyed. Still we are left with the impression that as long as there are humans left alive somewhere in the universe they will carry a vestige of "hope" in their hearts. Or at least we all hope so. In which case you can rest assured that it is quite ok to take your kids along to this movie.
As one would expect, things get rough for our heroes at some stage of the movie. Wall-e is damaged so severely that he seems totally FUBAR! Eva takes his wrecked frame back to his hide-out, a giant rubbish skip, where he has collected "useful" items from the rubbish as he sorted it. This includes Rubik cubes, "Zippo" cigarette lighters, old circuit boards, old iPods etc. It looks like a giant version of your average nerd garage, which offers lots of potential for product placement. Eva finds enough spare parts to repair Wall-e. As he "reboots", we hear a familiar sound. Our ten year old boy, leans over the armrest on my seat and whispers excitedly, "That's the same sound our computer makes!".
Indeed it is! It is the Mac Start-up Chime. A sound buried so deep in the innards of the OS, that it can only be suppressed with a special plugin. So it sounds as if Wall-e boots up under Mac OS X! Well, hardly surprising for a movie made by Pixar. Apple compatible systems seem very popular for space travel. After all, those nasty aliens in Independence Day were Apple compatible (huh?). And other robots have booted with popular operating systems. For example there was poor old Robo-Cop. He actually booted up with MS-DOS! (Yikes! It's amazing that he could do any multi-task operations). The Terminator however, despite his advanced micro-processor hardware seemed to be running a Mainframe Operating System (wouldn't you know it? Super Villain, Mainframe - it's all too obvious).
And you might be forgiven for thinking that all Hollywood mainframes run Microsoft Windows the way they so easily fall victim to viruses injected from Windows workstations.
Still if you can't suspend belief for ninety minutes in a cinema, what hope is there? Despair is our only hope! Just what we need to take our minds of the technical depression that will no doubt follow close on the heels of the technical recession we are currently experiencing.