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DVD Review: Wall:E

From June 1st the Information Store will be celebrating World Environment Day, when we all try to remember to take care of the wonderful world we live in! Wall:E, the 9th film by animation studio Pixar, is an excellent example of what might happen if we don’t…

Wall:E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth class, but this robot in particular is much, much more than that! Wall:E is the only functioning unit left on an earth that has been totally abandoned by humans. His job was to clean up the rubbish caused by massive over-consumption, in order for humans to come back home. Sadly, earth is now littered with broken Wall:Es that our Wall:E salvages for parts- though he works very hard (stopping only to save the few bits and pieces that he finds interesting) it doesn’t look like Wall:E can clean up the earth by himself. Wall:E learns about the world that was from useless artefacts like sporks and one old movie, Hello Dolly, that he watches every night before shutting down. He is increasingly lonely, with only a cockroach for company, until he encounters the shiny, flying robot Eve. It’s love at first sight for Wall:E, but it takes a lot of work to distract Eve from her mission: find a sign of life on the abandoned planet. In a final attempt to win her friendship, Wall:E shows Eve his greatest treasure, a tiny green shoot that somehow managed to grow inside a refrigerator. Eve is quickly summoned back to the spaceship Axiom, where she attempts to hand over the plant to the Captain. But the Axiom has been in orbit so long, the humans have forgotten what new life could mean. While Eve contends with the powerful on-board computer, Wall:E tries to rally the people, who are still obsessed with endless buying and spending. Stuck in moving chairs (and decidedly chubby as a result), many of them don’t know their way around the spaceship, let alone the world outside. Can Wall:E convince just a few that earth is worth fighting for?

Wall-eWall:E, Eve and a band of misfits storm the Axiom

The first forty minutes of Wall:E contain very little dialogue, but Wall:E and Eve convey their clashing personalities through sweet and comical gestures. Wall:E’s curiosity eventually proves a match for Eve’s determination, and their dance amongst the stars is just as romantic as any scene from an MGM musical. The scene where Wall:E’s band of malfunctioning robots and his nemesis M-O disturb the Axiom’s beauty salon is a riotous wake-up call for the humans who pay very little notice to the robots who run their day-to-day lives. Pixar are famous for giving a voice to the littlest creatures, and Wall:E’s message is just as poignant as those in Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Wall:E himself is a talented recycler! The end credits are astonishingly beautiful, and the score by composer Thomas Newman is both familiarly uplifting and otherworldly. Wall:E will make you laugh- it may make you cry!- but it should also inspire you to live a little bit better.

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Eve and Wall:E dance in deep space

Ponyo (NORFOLK HOUSE 791.433) is loosely adapted from The Little Mermaid by Hayao Miyazaki, the man behind Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbour Totoro. Ponyo begins life as a tiny fish, but transforms into a human girl in order to join the boy who saved her from a glass bottle. Ponyo’s father Fujimoto (voiced by Liam Neeson) used to live amongst humans, but became disgusted by the way they treated other forms of life. Ponyo steals some of his magic in order to remain human, inadvertently causing the ocean to flood the town. The locals take this in their stride, venturing out in boats to watch the fish swim through the submerged roads and forests. Like many of Miyazaki’s films, Ponyo has an environmental message, but this doesn’t overwhelm the plot, which is heavily laced with magic.

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One of the hand-drawn underwater backgrounds from Ponyo by Studio Ghibli

Avatar (DVD LOBBY 791.43) by director James Cameron is undoubtedly one of the prettiest movies to hit the big screen! Avatars are genetically engineered bodies that resemble Na’vi, the native species of the planet Pandora. Humans harness these Avatars in order to work with the Na’vi, who have built their sacred home on top of a giant mineral mine.  Jake Sully, a US marine, is employed as a bodyguard on Pandora, and initiated into the Na’vi by Neytiri, the beautiful heir to her tribe. By the time Neytiri discovers that Jake is a spy, they have fallen in love, and go into battle together against the US army. The stunning imaginary landscapes created for Avatar include floating mountains and bioluminescent trees- the second film, due for release in 2017, will be set partly underwater. Pandora may be fictional, but parts of our world are just as surprising. Planet Earth and Human Planet (BOOK ZONE 550) are narrated by David Attenborough, and contain footage captured over five years of filming. A third series entitled Planet Earth: The Future questions just how long the animals and environments in Planet Earth are likely to survive.

 avatar-tree-of-soulsJake and Neytiri explore a living forest in Avatar

Books and films that celebrate our environment will be on display in the Information Store from 1st June.

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