For the past two weeks, I've been afraid a robot would break my heart. Ever since the trailers and the hopeful, inquisitive offering of a name. The correct spelling to recreate this, we have concluded, is “WaaaAAllee”.
Sure enough, despite fierce parries against tears at the absolutely lonely little roller's fate, I sat beeling like a stabbed water main by the end, grateful for the long credits and dim lights.
The things you can do with inferred eyes, bleeps and the clasping and unclasping of metal fingers.
Wall-E is already making number one in top movie robot lists. He is slapstick goof, tenacious underdog and affectionate, upbeat hero in one, and though his situation is almost painful in its desolation, Pixar never let Wall-E feel sorry for himself. No turn to the audience, no sad eyes and upturned palms, imploring them to join him in an “awwww” chorus. He just gets on with it, and once he finds his “Eeeevvaaa”, Wall-E risks everything without even running it past his processors first.
Many Short Circuit fans have complained that Wall-E is a straight skim of Johnny 5, compacted into loveable stumpiness, much as the bot himself crushes Himalayas of trash, before arranging them into towers as high as a doomed game of Tetris. While there is a likeness, this seems an odd critique. But then, most robots believe Ed Norton is a rip-off of the design mould used for Brad Pitt.
The humans, the humans. Odious and occasionally likeable. Some problems with the biology, and yes, better before we met them. Nice in-jokes and references to sci-fi leviathans like '2001: a Space Odyssey' – a nod to adults that it's OK to like this.
Disney does not do apocalypse. Disney had not done apocalypse till Wall-E. Being Disney, they had to sugar the pill with optimism, but honestly, I think I needed that, so as not to melt like Dorothy's witch, or fold to the floor in a ball. 'Wall-E' got me like 'Flowers For Algernon' got me, and yanked out a surprising scarf-string of emotions for such a short film. And while I respect cockroaches, I've never felt tender towards one before.