My family and I just came home from seeing the Disney/Pixar movie "Wall-E". Now, it's a rare thing to go to a "G" rated movie with your nearly 15 year old son and walk out of the theater raving about how wonderful the movie was and have him agree with you.
This is a gem of a film and Wall-e and EVE, the two main robots, are the stars. It is a masterful use of visual imagery and expressive motion to tell a story; in fact the first 20 minutes of the film has almost no dialogue. And yet the movie doesn't lag or feel slow in any way.
Wall-e and EVE are fully realized characters with emotions, motivations, and desires. That they are robots and lack full faces (unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that Wall-e has binoculars for a head and EVE is a white egg-shaped robot with glowing blue eyes), doesn't at all limit the audience's attachment to them. In fact, Wall-E and EVE seem more 'human' than the humans we meet. Certainly we root for them and their developing relationship.
I keep coming back to the narrative line in this film. It is so clear, even with as little dialogue as this movie contains. As a writer, I rely on dialogue to advance a story. While filmmakers have tools I don't have, it still bowled me over to see how rich the characters' inner lives were when all the two robots say are the words 'wall-e, 'EVE', and 'directive'.
There is dialogue in the movie--the humans, the autopilot, and the computer do speak. Interestingly enough, I found the speaking parts less compelling than the interactions between Wall-E and EVE.
The subtext is that of environmental degradation and our responsibility to take care of the planet, but that message was never delivered in a moralistic tone nor was it heavy handed or overshadow the main focus of the movie--the two robots.
I won't give away spoilers, but I honestly had tears in my eyes at the end.
Run, do not walk, to see "Wall-E". If you're embarrassed to see a G movie on your own, borrow a kid, but do see this film.