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Showbiz 7s: Movies that inspired ‘Wall-E’

By Denise Martin, Special to The Times

There’s no denying it. Wall-E does bear more than a passing resemblance to No. 5, the military-built robot on the run in “Short Circuit.” But the similarities end there, says “Wall-E” director Andrew Stanton, who says his latest is “first and foremost, a love story.”

“I wanted this movie, about Earth’s last robot, to transport you to another world, give you that sense of awe that’s hard to come by today,” he says. In running down Stanton’s list of movies that inspired “Wall-E,” it’s pretty clear that they’re all, shall we say, far removed from the 1986 Steve Guttenberg-Fisher Stevens comedy.

And for the record, Stanton dreamed up the look of Wall-E while at a 2003 playoff game between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A’s. “I asked someone for a pair of binoculars and missed a couple innings because of it,” he recalls. “I was busy trying to make the binoculars laugh, smile, look sad…” (Disney / Pixar)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn’

“The best ‘Star Trek’ movie by a mile. It reinvented the classic thrill of the old Errol Flynn swashbuckling movies and wrapped it up in a fresh, futuristic sci-fi package. And the story never lets up. There’s not an ounce of fat on this movie.” (Paramount)
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

“So profound. It’s Stanley Kubrick just being a master of his craft. The whole thing really just engages you and forces you to pay attention in a way that nothing else does today. You could really see the benefit of all the accurate research he had done, talking to the latest and greatest scientists of the time.” (MGM)
Silent Running
‘Silent Running’

“It’s a little more obscure, but it’s Bruce Dern, out in space, and he’s out there with three little robots - Huey, Dewey and Louie - trying to save the last plant life on Earth. As you’ll see, this one was particularly influential.” (Universal)
Star Wars
‘Star Wars’

“I remember the first time I saw it, as well as the fifth, sixth and seventh times. I couldn’t stop going to the theater. R2D2 made a huge impression but also, I’d never seen a sci-fi world where things seemed old and distressed. Little was shiny and new, it was real and lived-in.” (Lucasfilm Ltd.)
‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

“To me, this movie captures wonder in a way that nothing has since. The whole beautiful innocence of space. It’s still just breathtaking.” (Columbia Pictures)
Blade Runner
‘Blade Runner’

“It was so cool because it had this really dark undertone. It made you really think that if we, as humans, make enough wrong choices, this is where humanity will go.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Flat-out cool. It’s got such a great mood to it and a confidence from Ridley Scott. The rhythm of the whole thing alone was just so mesmerizing and really something to behold.” (Robert Penn / 20th Century Fox)