Leave it to the masterminds at Pixar to create a film where its two main protagonists – a pair of robots who fall in love – show the beauty, flaws, and potential for redemption in humanity.
With WALL-E, director Andrew Stanton - of Finding Nemo fame – has outdone himself in a tale set 700 years into the future, where Earth is a giant trash hep under control of global corporation Buy N Large (BNL, for short). With the human population – now an obese race reliant on the great divider known as technology – residing in deep space, the last remaining Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class (or otherwise known as WALL-E) slaves away disposing of the mountains of rubbish left on Earth.
A charming creation, WALL-E has developed a warm and curious personality, yet has no one to share it with. This changes when he falls in love with a hi-tech, intergalactic, trigger happy robot visitor named EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). Her directive is to find organic life on Earth. When said life is found in the shape of a plant, EVE is taken back into outer space with WALL-E in hot pursuit.
A sweet courtship between the two is played out throughout the film. This culminates in a touching dance in outer space, which also brings forth the wondrous beauty and mysticism of our universe.
Also brought forth is the zeitgeist of our environment conscience times through the subjects of pollution and global warming. Globalization is also thrown into the mix. As such, WALL-E is the most theme heavy film of Pixar’s existence. It feels rather prophetic in its evaluations of where we as humans are headed, whilst also feeling a tad cynical yet not too weary in its cynicism.
That is not to say WALL-E is not an immensely entertaining picture: it is side splittingly funny, vastly moving, and - due to Stanton’s clever direction - manages to hold the viewers interest, despite the fact that an immiscible amount of dialogue is spoken in the first half of the picture.
Every factor needed to make an excellent animated feature is found in WALL-E; the voice work is spectacular, especially that provided by acclaimed sound effects wizard Ben Burtt; the animation, art direction, and character creations are excellent; sound effects are especially good; and the score by Thomas Newman is simply spellbinding, and might finally snag the 8 times nominated film composer his long awaited Oscar.
Also, varied sci-fi tributes - from Sigourney Weavers voice work, to WALL-E’s Short Circuit (a popular 1980’s sci-fi film) inspired look, and several nods to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey – are implemented very well.
Yet there are two factors which stop WALL-E from becoming a flawless animated production: the first is the confusing use of live action, with Fred Willard making an appearance as the president of BNL; and the second is the subliminal advertising of Apple computers, with the sleek design of EVE similar to that of an Apple Mac; WALL-E omitting the Apple chime after recharging his batteries; and the use of the MacinTalk speech program which provided the voice for the evil AUTO.
However, those factors are not enough to take away from the final product: an emotionally packed and entertaining film which will make most laugh, some cry, and every one with a pulse satisfied.