AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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WALL-E
Director: Andrew Stanton (Dir)
Release Date:   27 Jun 2008
Duration (in mins):  97
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Cast: Ben Burtt  (WALL-E)
  Elissa Knight  (Eve)
  Jeff Garlin  (Captain)
 

Summary: Eight hundred years in the future, a boxy little Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-Class robot called WALL-E compacts trash and stacks it piles, as he was programmed to do seven hundred years ago by Buy n Large Corporation, the monopoly that governed the earth. According to old videoscreen billboards that continue to play their messages, the planet had amassed so much garbage that the corporation, nicknamed BNL, provided huge luxury spacecrafts to house the humans for five years, while robots were left behind to clean up. However, the humans never returned and all the robots except the dented, timeworn WALL-E, have since broken down. WALL-E, whose only companion is a cockroach, replaces his damaged parts from the defunct machines and dutifully carries out his task. Meanwhile, he has gained sentience and curiosity about detritus left by the former civilization, and has collected many fascinating objects, among them, bolts, toys, light bulbs, a fire extinguisher and a cigarette lighter, which he keeps in a compartment inside his body or stores in an old truck that serves as his home. Among his most treasured possessions is a videocassette of a film, showing people dancing together in solidarity, and a man and woman falling in love. He often watches the film, trying to emulate how the man spins his hat as he dances, and he clicks his two claws together thoughtfully when he watches the man and woman join hands. When he finds a living plant, he places it in an old shoe and tends it carefully. One day, a large spacecraft delivers a sleek, egg-shaped research probe called Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator or EVE. From a hiding place, WALL-E watches in awe as the probe soars gracefully, but trembles when he sees her shoot at any sound. Despite his trepidation, WALL-E is smitten and eventually introduces himself without prompting her to shoot him. When she asks about his “directive,” he demonstrates his job. When a violent dust storm disorients EVE, WALL-E takes her to his truck for safety. There, he shows her some of his treasures: bubble wrap, a light bulb, and the flame of the cigarette lighter, which they both watch in fascination. He plays his video and tries to emulate the handholding couple in love by reaching for her, but she jerks away. He also shows her his plant, but this causes her mood to instantly change. Lights flash inside her body, her trunk opens and sucks the plant inside, then she goes into standby mode. Confused, WALL-E takes her out into the sunlight to recharge and, in the following days, protects her from rain. He also takes her to see a sunset, although she does not respond. When the craft returns to collect EVE, WALL-E, desperate not to lose her, clings to the ship’s hull as it travels through space to rendezvous with BNL’s flagship Axiom , a robot-run starliner in which humans have been living for centuries. Forgetful of earth, the humans have suffered severe bone loss, due to microgravity and inactivity, and spend their time lounging on hovercrafts, drinking liquid food, communicating through video messaging screens and becoming unwittingly reliant on the many task-dedicated robots who serve them. Even the captain of the ship, the human pilot in a long line of officers, has little to do but send cheery video messages to the passengers, while the computerized autopilot robot, Auto, handles all tasks. Inside the Axiom , WALL-E follows behind as EVE is processed by other robots and his muddy tracks soon attract M-O, an obsessive little cleaning robot. When the plant inside EVE is detected, she is taken to the bridge and reactivated. The ship’s computer then shows the captain a centuries-old video-recording from former BNL CEO Shelby Forthright that recounts their exodus from earth and directs him to place the plant, an indication that earth is now livable, into the holo-detector. If the scans confirm the plant’s origin as earth, the ship will return the humans to re-colonize the planet. As Auto has surreptitiously removed the plant, when EVE is opened, the plant is missing and she is presumed to be defective. She is taken to the repair ward, where WALL-E watches as she undergoes diagnostics. Presuming that she is being harmed, WALL-E frees her, but inadvertently releases the Axiom 's malfunctioning robots. As the robots roam the halls, EVE and WALL-E are labelled "rogue robots" whose images are captured on videoscreens that are placed throughout the ship. Deciding that WALL-E should not remain on the ship, EVE leads him to an escape pod to send him back to earth. However, in the launch room, they spot Auto’s assistant, GO-4, placing the missing plant into a pod that is programmed to eject and self-destruct. When WALL-E enters the pod to rescue the plant, he is shot out into space. Horrified, EVE flies after him, and when he survives the explosion, they frolic in space. From inside the ship, John and Mary, two humans who have been watching EVE and WALL-E, accidentally stumble into each other and begin a conversation without video screens that blossoms into love. When WALL-E shows EVE that he saved the plant, she abandons him to perform her directive, taking the plant to the captain. Fascinated by what he is learning about the earth, the captain plays EVE’s built-in visual recording of her mission and discovers that the planet is still in turmoil. While watching the recording, EVE is touched to see how WALL-E took care of her. Although the captain orders the plant to be taken to the holo-detector, Auto obstinately refuses and eventually reveals to him a secret recording made by Forthright. Codenamed A113, the recording shows Forthright giving orders to keep the humans in space indefinitely, as the cleanup operation failed and the earth was deemed toxic. Believing that time has healed the toxic conditions, the captain vetoes Forthright’s command, but Auto is unwilling to accept new orders. He locks the captain into his quarters and, during a scuffle, electrocutes WALL-E and pitches him and EVE into the garbage chute. Huge robotic arms compact them with the trash, but EVE is able to free them. When the barely functioning WALL-E shows her the plant he again has rescued, she ignores her directive in order to save him. She frantically searches the trash for suitable replacement parts, but concludes his survival depends on returning home. When the trash doors open to eject the compacted trash, WALL-E and EVE are almost jettisoned, but M-O, following WALL-E’s trail of dirt, wedges between the garbage doors and gives them a handhold to keep them from being swept away. Back in the ship, the three robots and the malfunctioning robots who rally behind them fight with security robots sent by Auto. From his captivity, the captain makes a ship-wide announcement, ordering EVE to take the plant to the Lido deck holo-detector, but before EVE can insert the plant, it is knocked away from her. WALL-E jams himself in the holo-detector to keep it from closing, while the captain tricks Auto into meeting him in the bridge. As the captain engages Auto in manual combat, the ship tilts, sending the helpless passengers sliding across the deck. The videoscreens display the fight on the bridge, during which the captain struggles to his feet, walking, for the first time in his life, toward Auto and turns off his switch. After witnessing the captain’s victory, the humans and their robot compatriots band together to overcome the security robots, then pass the plant to EVE, who places it in the holo-detector. She frees the unconscious WALL-E as the ship goes into hyperdrive on a course toward earth. Upon landing, the captain introduces the humans to their new responsibility of restoring the earth. EVE and the reunited cockroach rush to repair the crushed WALL-E. Although replacing his parts restores WALL-E’s functionality, his memory and personality have been corrupted. Heartbroken, EVE takes his claws and sadly touches her head to his, inadvertently causing a spark that restores his memory. Upon regaining consciousness, WALL-E finds EVE’s hand in his. In the time that follows, humans, with the robots’ help, restore earth into a paradise. 

Distribution Company: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Andrew Stanton (Dir)
Producer: Jim Morris (Prod)
  Thomas Porter (Assoc prod)
  John Lasseter (Exec prod)
  Lindsey Collins (Co-prod)
  Gillian Libbert (Line prod, Live action)
Writer: Andrew Stanton (Scr)
  Jim Reardon (Scr)
  Andrew Stanton (Orig story)
  Pete Docter (Orig story)

Subject Major: Environmental contamination
  Robots
  Romance
  Spaceships
  Transformation
 
Subject Minor: Cockroaches
  Computers
  Ecology
  Fire extinguishers
  Hello, Dolly! (Motion picture)
  Loneliness
  Monopolies
  Recordings
  Revolutions
  Sanitation workers
  Stowaways
  Videocassettes
  Voyages and travel

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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