Hmmm... Too much Disney and not enough Pixar...or maybe it's the other way around. Let's talk about it.
  • Disney usually has non-stop action on the screen but knows when to insert recognizable little quirks that will delight the kids. In this case our "hero" tends to track dirt which is verboten on the space ship he boards as a stowaway.
  • Pixar is the brilliant organization that gave us the sweet, impish little goose-neck lamp who ruins its ball by mistake. However, even with credentials like that, their movies can sometimes be too grown up and/or intellectual for the rugrats, like the mid-life crisis in "The Incredibles."
  • Disney has patented the idea of the sidekick who provides humor and insight for the hero (Jiminy Cricket in "Pinocchio"), but this time has an almost insurmountable problem: The sidekick is a cockroach and 95% of this movie is non-verbal.
  • Pixar has the collection of geniuses who animated "Shrek" so realistically you could see the wind ruffle Donkey's fur, but for "WALL*E" the landscape is bleak and unrelentingly lifeless.
  • Disney has never before had a mental ward in any of their movies. That concept went right over the heads of the children, so when the inmates were unexpectedly freed, it was a non-event to the audience. I wasn't sure how we were supposed to feel about it. Did we sympathize with them for being detained in the first place?
  • Pixar gave us our first full length computer-generated animated movie with "Toy Story," but in that one, the love match between two dolls was relatable and appealing; in "WALL*E," the attraction is between a hardworking mobile trash compactor and what appears to be an alien life form.

As a rule, I can't say enough good things about either company, but in my opinion, this story is too complex and ultimately it overtaxes the attention spans of the little 'uns. Of course we are assailed by the idea of Man the Villain, (mankind has destroyed all life on earth and has been existing on a massive space ship for hundreds and hundreds of years) and (another commentary from Hollywood), all humans have become enormously fat in this dystopian vision of the future. Those ecological points seemed to go right over the heads of the target audience and there were plenty of overweight parents in attendance who didn't seem to find it entertaining...

Naturally our dauntless little trash compactor is admirable: He is resourceful, extremely hard working and has many appealing traits. Pixar has given him a recognizable personality and paints an exceedingly lonely existence for him. It's no wonder he falls for the first quasi life form -- besides his sidekick the cockroach -- that he sees!

The four-year-old girl next to me was extremely well behaved but there were long intervals where she was confused and bored. The infants in the audience were squalling and I sat there regretting I wouldn't have more positive things to report.

Bottom line? In my opinion, more for the grownups than for the kidlets.