The animated Disney/PIXAR film "WALL E" is now screening at Malibu Cinemas and El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, as well as theaters elsewhere.

‘WALL-E’ a winner

By Laura Tate / Associate Publisher / Editor

The rush of last-minute film releases that filmmakers hope will make the Academy’s list of potential Oscar winners is months off, yet I’ve already made my choice for Best Picture of 2008-“WALL-E.”

The Disney/PIXAR animated film, previewed at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theater last Thursday and released widely this weekend, makes one laugh, almost cry and causes one to ponder about humans’ affect on Earth and what the future holds.

WALL-E, the acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class, is one of the last operating robots left on Earth to clean up massive tons of waste left by humans before they departed to space to live a leisurely life while the clean-up takes place.

Lonely, the robot befriends a cockroach (one of the indestructible, remaining species that even survived being mistakenly run over by WALL-E several times), and spends his time doing his job, crushing and stacking cubes of trash while collecting an array of human artifacts, from a Rubik’s Cube to light bulbs and spare parts, with which he repaired himself on occasion.

The cute, little robot even watches a film clip from a musical, in which a romantic part showing two people in love, holding hands, fascinates him-leaving him longing for the touch of another being. That being comes in the form of super sleek robot EVE, which comes to Earth to check on the planet’s status for the eventual return of the humans orbiting Earth on a super spaceship. WALL-E falls in love with EVE and pursues her to that ship, where mayhem follows, and where what human beings have become is exposed-super obese, unaware beings, floating around on moving chairs with screens in front of their faces. They literally cannot do anything for themselves, as robots provide their every need.

The state of Earth, as presented by the filmmakers, is conceivable by the very fact that we humans produce millions of tons of waste each year, and we have increasingly limited options in disposing of it permanently (Americans alone produce 195 million tons of trash each year). And with the proliferation of computers (along with it the Internet) and electronic devices and games, such as cell phones, PlayStations, Wii, etc, the extreme disconnectedness in face-to-face human interaction and the unawareness of surroundings, as shown in WALL-E, are also possible to conceive.

Yet the film does not pound filmgoers over the head with such serious matters, letting them speak for themselves, and the delight of WALL-E and his quirky personality and comedic adventures provides a truly entertaining experience, one that stays with you.

“WALL-E” will screen at the El Capitan Theatre through Aug. 27, where a special NASA and JPL space exploration exhibition is on display. The film is also screening at Malibu Cinemas.