WALL-E is Alone on Earth Collecting Trash
The year is 2805 as we take a scenic tour through space at the beginning of WALL-E. The music playing in the background is the happy, up-beat tune from Hello Dolly's "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," but as we soon see, the scenes before us are anything but happy.
Earth is a dirty brown color and thousands and thousands of abandoned satellites orbit the planet. Zooming in closer, the planet has no living beings left. It is covered in garbage. City skyscrapers compete in height with teeming towers of garbage that has been stacked into neat cubes.
All over the place is advertising and abandoned super stores for Buy n Large, or BnL for short, which is a mega-conglomerate corporation from 700 years ago. At that time, BnL took over not only the entire economy, but the government as well. Mass over-consumption ensued, and the environment was quickly overcome with too much garbage.
In the year 2105, the CEO of BnL, Shelby Forthright, sponsored a mass human evacuation aboard enormous starliners, much like ocean liners or cruise ships, out into space. The most prominent of these luxury starliners is the Axiom, catering to a passengers every whim.
The five-year plan, called Operation Clean-Up, was to implement millions of WALL-E (which stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) robots to compress the mounds of garbage into neat little cubes and stack them up and then have it burned by huge incinerators. Meanwhile the people of Earth would hang out in space on a long cruise vacation. Afterward, Operation Recolonize would begin and the starliner fleet would return to Earth and the people would have an opportunity to begin again.
Only the plan fails when Earth was determined five years later to still be uninhabitable. Humankind remains exiled in space with no time set to return to Earth and 700 years go by.
WALL-E the Sentient and Curious Robot
The only movement besides dust particles is a small boxy robot with binocular-style eyes and tank-like tread for feet. Meet the last WALL-E on Earth.
WALL-E has developed a sense of awareness and is quite clever. On his way home to his truck, one of his treads falls apart. He finds another defunct unit with good tread and replaces it with the old.
At home, which is a huge truck designed to store WALL-E units, thousands of little knick-knacks and souvenirs he's collected during his trash compacting line the shelves and walls. He's a curious little guy with a wide range of collectibles. WALL-E's also neat and organized! (He should come to my place and arrange my closets!)
But the most treasured item in his collection is an old VHS tape from Hello Dolly. WALL-E may have learned to have a personality by watching this video over and over again through the years. He especially loves the song, "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" and takes it with him to listen to while he works during the day.
At night he shuts down and pulls himself together into a compact box and in the morning he stumbles out of his storage in a fog of sleepiness, and puts on his treads. He sits outside with his solar panels aimed at the sun and he's soon recharged and ready for his day.
His cockroach buddy named Hal joins him on his outings and is the only company he's got. Day in and day out he does the same thing, and he's grown very curious about the things he finds in the trash. He sure does some funny things with the stuff he finds!
That afternoon he finds something he's never seen before. It's a plant, although WALL-E doesn't know it's significance, it's something he's never seen before and he digs around it and puts it in an old boot. Putting it in his icebox he carries with him for collecting, he brings it home.
After taking his new plant back to his truck, WALL-E notices a strange red dot of light. It moves. Curious, he follows the dot as it gains speed and soon a long row of laser-like dots roll over mountains and the cityscape to form a circle in a wide open space, with WALL-E right in the middle, still chasing the lone dot.
He looks up in the nick of time to see a rocket landing directly over him! Terrified, he digs into the dirt to bury himself. When he emerges, he sees a mechanized arm take out a transport pod and unlocks another robot.
A beautiful, white, egg-shaped robot! She is elegant as she flies around with a delicate smoothness, a soft whir of sophisticated technology. WALL-E has never seen another robot like her before and he is hypnotized and enthralled by her.
But as he shows slight movement behind a rock he's hiding behind, the sleek robot instantly fires at the rock, instantly blasting most of it away and he trembles again in fear and awe at her power as well as beauty.
As he watches her, he learns she is a probe, searching for something as she scans different areas. His little cockroach friend, Hal, even comes to her and tickles her as he runs around on her as she giggles.
He makes his presence known to her and she aims her weapon at him, suspicious. She soon finds out he is no threat and then ignores him as she continues her search. WALL-E follows her everywhere, enchanted.
WALL-E gets up the nerve to come to her again and introduces himself, and she tries several languages before they can communicate. She is EVE, short for Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator. EVE warms up to him and is friendly. She can only tell him that she has a directive, but not what that directive is.
WALL-E then sees a huge sandstorm coming and he takes EVE with him into his truck for shelter as the storm passes.
Show and Tell
WALL-E shows EVE many of his favorite knick knacks inside his truck. EVE shows as much curiosity toward these things as well and some of the scenes are quite funny, like EVE popping bubbles with lightning speed after he tentatively shows her how. Or the egg-beater she spins so fast the beaters fly off. She is so lively and adorable.
WALL-E wants to show her how to dance, and she tries, but not before "stomping" on the floor so hard it dents in several places and he is tossed into the ceiling, embedded there. EVE doesn't know her own strength! He repairs one of his binocular-like eyes when it is damaged from his crash.
Wanting to impress EVE, WALL-E then brings out the plant he found. EVE scans it as she has everything else and this time her light turns green. Instantly she's on auto-pilot and she takes the plant into a receptacle inside her. She shuts down into her resting mode with only the green leaf icon on her blinking off and on, which is a homing beacon.
WALL-E doesn't understand why EVE has shut down, and he sticks with her in case she activates again. He takes her out on a date and tries to hold her hand, but her arm is too tightly fit into her body during shut-down mode.
So he does his best to keep her safe from Earth's harsh storms and glaring sun. He eventually loses hope that she will reactivate and he must carry on with his daily duties. He leaves her in a safe place and he collects and compacts trash again.
Blasting into Space
One day the ship that dropped EVE off returns for her. WALL-E is far off, working when he sees the tell-tale red dots again and he knows the ship is coming for EVE. He races as fast as he can to get to her, but not before the ship's robotic arms collect EVE and place her inside.
Not wanting to let EVE go, he clings to the outside of the ship as it takes off with tremendous force. Once the ship crashes through the field of orbiting satellites, WALL-E experiences weightlessness and almost loses his grip.
The ship takes off and WALL-E is in for a ride, passing the sun and sweeping underneath Saturn's rings. He seems to have a moment of euphoria as the galaxy is reflected in his eyes.
He then sees their destination: the enormous starliner, Axiom. The ship he's riding on seems huge until they get closer to the Axiom. As the ship begins docking, WALL-E keeps careful track of where EVE is. The entire process is automated by robots.
EVE is taken to an area to be cleaned, led by a small robot named M-O. M-O is a bit obsessive about foreign contaminate and he becomes distressed when he comes across WALL-E, who is filthy after 700 years of living with garbage. I love his little garbly voice and the brush he uses sounds like an electric shaver going over a whiskery chin.
A different robot called GO-4 determines that EVE has discovered plant life and arranges for her to go to the captain of the ship.
He manages to follow EVE, who is taken out on a transporter of some kind, through the interior of the Axiom. He dodges other robots on a sort of robot highway, but not without causing a pileup when he first enters.
He also finally sees the passengers aboard the Axiom. After seven centuries of living in micro-gravity, the people on board have lost a significant amount of bone mass. And since their every whim is catered to with robots, they don't need to lift a finger to do anything, except bring food and drink to their mouths. Consequently, everyone has gotten really fat. But kind of cute-fat, more like babies, as you can see by their short legs and pudgy hands and fingers.
All around the Axiom is advertising for BnL. Since there is no sun, the days, nights and mealtimes are all announced on a schedule and the temperature is always a comfortable 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The people of the Axiom sit in their hover chairs with a holographic screen in front of their eyes, video chatting with their friends, but unaware of who is next to them. WALL-E is perplexed at this self-induced isolation, considering he was truly alone for so long and wished for companionship.
The Repair Ward
WALL-E continues to follow EVE up to the Captain's bridge, where the Captain McCrea himself does little, leaving most of the control Auto, the wheel that autopilots the ship.
EVE is presented to Captain McCrea and he is surprised she has returned with a positive for finding plant life on Earth. He consults a procedural manual, a book, which he doesn't know how to use because he tries activating it with his voice. Auto shows him how to use the book.
The captain learns about Operation Recolonize and he must take the plant out of EVE and bring it to the lower Lido deck next to the swimming pool, and the Axiom will automatically hyper-jump through space, bringing them back to Earth.
EVE reactivates but her plant is missing. The captain believes that EVE is defective and orders her shut down and taken to the Repair Ward. The day returns to its normal routine and Captain McCrea chalks it up to a false alarm.
Suddenly, Captain McCrea sees WALL-E they shake hands, WALL-E leaving some dirt. This sparks the captain's curiosity and has the dirt analyzed, and the ship's computer defines soil for him, amongst hours of definitions of Earthly characteristics. It gives the captain a good idea of what life on Earth was like and he wants to return home.
The two robots go to the Repair Ward and EVE is fitted with a red boot of sorts that deactivates her with a touch of a button. The ward has many malfunctioning robots and seems much like an insane asylum.
EVE has her laser-cannon arm removed for cleaning, but WALL-E misinterprets the action and tries to rescue the arm, accidentally shooting the control panel that controls the guarding robotic arms and force shields holing the malfunctioning robots inside their cells. Chaos ensues and all the robots in the ward make a break for it.
The steward robots designate both he and EVE as "rogue robots" showing their picture together throughout the ship, turning them into fugitives.
Eve cannot take his interference with her directive any longer and she tries to put him on an escape pod bound for Earth. But before he boards, they notice Auto's assistant GO-4 robot place the missing plant into the pod and program it to self-destruct.
WALL-E rushes into the pod to save the plant, but the door closes too quickly and he is shot into space. EVE manages to get outside into space and goes after the speeding pod.
He bangs on the emergency hatch with a fire extinguisher and escapes just as the pod explodes. He flies by EVE, who is coming after him. He gives her the plant he saved and she is so overjoyed that she "kisses" him with a small static shock. WALL-E is over the moon with joy.
The two dance and swirl around the Axiom together, EVE with her elegant blue propulsion and WALL-E with the force of his fire extinguisher. This is a heartwarming scene in the movie and one of my favorites.
They need return the plant to Captain McCrea, dodging security who are still after them. EVE decides to go up through the garbage chute to avoid detection. WALL-E follows her up the chute, climbing slowly since he cannot fly.
EVE arrives onto the captain's bridge, presenting the plant. After learning about life on Earth with activities such as farming and dancing, Captain McCrea takes a look at Earth through EVE's probe recordings. He is stunned that Earth looks nothing like the learning material he's been enjoying.
During the recording playback for the Captain, EVE herself sees the scenes from "Hello Dolly" and the tender song "It Only Takes a Moment" with the hand holding that WALL-E had tried with her. She also witnesses the automatic recording that happened when she was shut down with the homing device activated and saw how he took good care of her. EVE is deeply touched with his tenderness toward her and realizes he truly loves her. She now realizes her love for him.
Captain McCrea takes the plant when EVE presents it to him and they both notice that it's wilting. As McCrea waters the plant, he has an a-ha moment: Humans CAN return to Earth and care for it as he is caring for this plant. Earth can be restored.
As he goes to place the plant inside the holo-detector, Auto tries to stop him but won't explain why. Captain McCrea demands to know and Auto plays a video stating that "Operation Clean-Up" was a failure and they cannot return to Earth because it was determined too toxic to support life. Directive A113 was issued to the autopilots of all the BnL starships to stay in space indefinitely. The video was taken 700 years ago.
This angers Captain McCrea and insists that Earth must be different now that so much time has passed by. The proof that life could be sustained was in that plant. He also knows that Auto has gained power over the years with the succession of captains. He tells Auto to stand down, but Auto disobeys, unable to override Directive A113. He carries out a mutiny with GO-4, who grabs the plant and tosses it down the garbage chute. Auto locks Captain McCrea in his quarters.
WALL-E hides the plant inside him again when he emerges from the chute to be with EVE. Auto electrocutes WALL-E and tosses him back into the chute and EVE is also deactivated and tossed into the chute as well.
EVE reactivates inside the waste disposal facility and she sees how badly WALL-E is damaged. She knows they must return to Earth to repair him. They are caught up in the garbage that a couple of giant WALL-A robots are compressing. WALL-A robots look just like WALL-E, but much bigger. The WALL-As stacked the garbage with both stuck inside and put the trash in the airlock, ready to unleash into space.
The door opens just after EVE manages to break free and get WALL-E out too. She flies with all her strength toward the door, but it closes too fast. Just before it closes all the way with them stuck in the vacuum of space, little M-O, the cleaning robot, wedges himself between the doors, saving them. M-O was on WALL-E's dirty trail and followed them to the waste disposal area. Hooray for M-O! EVE flies straight out of there carrying WALL-E. She must get that plant to the Lido Deck!
Rogue Robots Clear the Way
Security is still on the look-out for WALL-E and EVE, who are still considered rogue robots. The other rogue robots, the malfunctioning robot escapees, help them escape the security stewards.
Captain McCrea sees that they have the plant on the security camera footage and he gets an idea to fool Auto into thinking he has the plant. Auto comes after McCrea and they battle it out as all the passengers assemble on the Lido Deck.
WALL-E and EVE make it onto the deck and Captain McCrea manages to activate the holo-detector, a pedestal that rises from the deck. Auto takes control of navigation and tilts the Axiom so that all the passengers slide to one end of the deck, and transporters and hoverchairs threaten to crush them. EVE pushes back, keeping the people save and WALL·E puts himself between the holo-detector and the floor as Auto tries to slam it shut.
This damages him even more severely. The passengers can see everything on the Captain's video and they cheer him on, especially when he stands on his own to challenge Auto. He climbs the steep incline of the tilted ship and deactivates the autopilot. Captain McCrea spins the wheel back to the appropriate place and the ship rights itself.
M-O and the other rogue robots, along with the humans, get the plant to the holo-detector. EVE puts it in and it releases WALL·E, who is severely crushed. EVE holds him as the hyper-jump to Earth commences. All the people are standing on their own for the first time.
Together Again at Home
The Axiom returns to Earth and docks in its original landing site. The passengers carefully make their way outside, not knowing what to expect. EVE takes WALL·E back to his truck and she repairs him with the spare parts he has. She recharges his solar batteries and he's activated again. Then EVE tries to hold his hand as he had tried with her so often.
However, his eyes are vacant. He doesn't recognize EVE. Apparently his memory is now lost and he turns on her and prepares to go compact trash. She shows him some of his favorite knick knacks that he introduced to her but he shows no reaction.
Heartbroken that he is gone now, she gives him one last kiss that produces a spark. The spark brings the old WALL·E back. His eyes refocus and the two happily reunite. It's so heartwarming and wonderful - have your tissues ready!
The two return to help the humans with settling on Earth again. Captain McCrea leads a crowd with tips on how to farm. The end credits are worth watching in this film because it is a montage of beautiful art showing how the people and robots work together to rebuild the city. The garbage is cleaned up, crops are planted, animals thrive and multiply and the children of the returned humans are no longer obese. The Earth is restored and there is harmony once again.
The last scene shows WALL·E and EVE holding hands under and enormous tree, and underneath the soil, the roots come from the boot - this is the original seedling that was rescued and brought mankind back to Earth.
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