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The latest Pixar feature, "WALL-E," was conceived, co-written and directed by Andrew Stanton, the guy behind "Finding Nemo." This is the rarest kind of family film: a real family film "? not a kiddie movie in disguise, nor an adult movie for morons.

In the year 2700. Earth has become nothing but an endless garbage dump, and humans left hundreds of years ago. The only animated critters left behind are WALL-E, a robot whose task it is to compact the trash and stack it into skyscrapers of rubbish, and his only friend, a cockroach. When a remote-controlled robot scout shows up to look for plant life, WALL-E falls in love and sneaks aboard her rocket when she returns to the human's mother ship.

The character of WALL-E is so well-designed and well-animated, and his situation is so much a part of nearly everybody's existence. The animation is so minutely detailed, there were times I thought, "How did they do that?" and then remembered that it was an animated movie. And there's also a short cartoon about a magician and his hungry rabbit on the disc that is the funniest thing I've seen all year.

"WALL-E" is my new favorite Pixar movie, and one of the best films of 2008.

"?Doug Bentin


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