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Robot rules

PUBLISHED: 13:17 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:11 16 August 2010

FINDING Nemo writer/director Andrew Stanton ups the ante for CGI animations once more with this oddly affecting tale of the last functioning robot on Earth quietly going about its business on a dusty, polluted planet long since abandoned by

WALL-e

Cert U

FINDING Nemo writer/director Andrew Stanton ups the ante for CGI animations once more with this oddly affecting tale of the last functioning robot on Earth quietly going about its business on a dusty, polluted planet long since abandoned by the human race.

Earth has finally become what George Monbiot and Al Gore have long been foreseeing. The air is thick with smog, and the ground is littered with every type of debris imaginable. With the whole of mankind and all the other machines either shut down or worn out, the sole occupant of the planet is a tatty little robot, WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth-Class), which resembles a beer fridge with binoculars for eyes.

Seemingly unaware of the Sisyphean nature of his task, the robot has been diligently compacting the rubbish into tidy cubes and stacking them on top of each other until they stretch into the sky like grotesque, towering monuments of mankind's negligence.

His daily routine is interrupted one day by the arrival of EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a sleek white ultra-modern robot with glowing blue eyes who was sent from the star cruiser in which the humans now live on an information-gathering mission. WALL-E quickly falls head over caterpillar tracks for the new arrival and follows her on her travels deep into space. Soon he discovers what has gone wrong with the human race and sets about putting things right with characteristic diligence.

Like Pixar's other work, Toy Story, Cars and Finding Nemo, the film is as rich morally as it is visually and, while the central messages of the importance of persistence and companionship and the need for man to take care of nature are far from revelatory, Stanton steers clear of condescending preaching.

A triumph on every level, WALL-E is a moving story of loneliness, love and litter expertly told through the exploits of a robot capable of levels of expression unreachable by the vast majority of Hollywood's legion of cardboard cut-out A-listers.

WALL-E opens in UK cinemas tomorrow.


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