The star of Pixar’s ninth consecutive computer-animated hit was a plucky little sentient trash compactor — not much of a looker for a would-be Romeo. His neck suggested a wattle, and his clumsy metal hands could barely grasp the sleek, curved, eggshell-white fins of his lady love, the probe robot EVE. But WALL-E wooed his paramour — and moviegoers of all ages — anyway, even as the film’s story line sparked politicized debate over its depiction of a future Earth laid waste by consumerism. Director Andrew Stanton says he was baffled: ”People seized on things to plead their own cases. I just chose robots to tell a love story.”
Iron Men (and Women) We Have Loved
WALL-E wasn’t the first hunk of metal to rivet us. A look back at sci-fi heavyweights through the decades.
1927: Maria, Metropolis
Director Fritz Lang’s futuristic tale features a female Frankenstein, built to seduce a city’s workers.
1951: Gort, The Day the Earth Stood Still
How do you shut off this mute bodyguard’s death-ray stare? Just say ”Klaatu barada nikto!”
1965-68: Robot, Lost in Space
His proper acronym is GUNTER, but his cohorts Dr. Smith and Will Robinson never call him that.
1977: R2-D2, Star Wars
Like WALL-E, Artoo lives to serve — and they both speak in beeps and boops designed by Ben Burtt.
1984: T-800, The Terminator
Ah-nold’s original terrifying cyborg assassin. We’d like to see WALL-E try to compact that.