WALL-E: The little robot that could

Filed under: Preschoolers, Big Kids, Media, That's Entertainment

The hype has been building for months, ever since word first got out last fall about Pixar's new film WALL-E. It's the story of WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter -- Earth-Class), a determined robot who falls for a sleek new robot named EVE who shows up one fateful day. WALLL-E ends up chasing her across the galaxy and saving the world in the process.

As a fan of quality animation and a total Pixar groupie, I have been looking forward to seeing this film for quite a while. With all the trailers, adverts, and WALL-E's face plastered all over the streetcars here, my kids have been eagerly awaiting its release as well. They squeal with joy whenever they see him, and my older son has been reminding me that the movie was coming out June 27 practically non-stop.

So, does the movie live up to the hype? Is it as good as we have come to expect from Pixar, the studio that brought us such modern classics as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and one of the best children's movies ever, Cars? Well, since June 27 just happened to be my daughter's birthday, I took my son Jared (six years old) and daughter Sara (turned four that day) to find out.
I kept it a surprise, not telling the kids where we were going until Jared figured it out when we pulled into the garage next to the movie theatre. At that point, he could barely contain himself. Sara figured it out shortly after as well and then there was no keeping their feet on the ground.

Now, I'm very anti-violence when it comes to what my kids watch, so I was a bit worried that there would be too much in this movie. In fact, my concerns were legitimate. Even before the movie started, Sara was aware of what might happen: "This bad guy -- the other one but not WALL-E -- He is so mean... Know what he does? He kills WALL-E! The bad guy makes him disappear!" Jared, too, after seeing the movie, didn't like that part, explaining that "My scary part was when EVE shoot his guns. That made me scared. I didn't like that part."

More than that, however, what had Jared crawling into my back pocket was his concern for WALL-E getting home. He kept asking, tears in his eyes, if WALL-E would ever get home. Jared is my sensitive one and I think it really bothered him that WALL-E might not be able to get back. He was okay later on, but for quite a while, he was hiding his face.

Still, Jared thought it was a good movie, but maybe more so for bigger kids: "Bigger kids won't get so scared because they're older and braver. The more littler you are, the less braver you are. The more older that you the more braver you are." When I asked him how old he thought kids should be to see the movie, he made sure he was eligible, saying "Maybe six or up."

While the lesson learned from WALL-E is not as powerful as the one that Cars teaches, there is something to be learned here. Conservation and recycling are big topics of the movie, along with the need for an active lifestyle in order to really live. These were mostly over Jared and Sara's heads, though; "I learned," Jared told me, "that if any machine is crushed... if somebody is hurt like WALL-E was, then you should help them." That may not be the message Pixar was going for, but it's still a good one.

Over all, I enjoyed the film. It's definitely one of Pixar's better ones. There are plenty of laughs, lots of excitement, and enough double meanings, puns, and inside jokes to keep parents laughing through the whole film. Kids will dig WALL-E as a neat friend and a positive hero.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.