"WALL•E" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"WALL•E" is more than an animated family film from Pixar. It is a beautiful, breathtaking sci-fi comedy that is full of heart and soul. In a world where animated films appeal to kids more in terms of comedy and story, "WALL•E" is one of those few films that have a bigger impact on the adults than it does their children they take to the movies. There are so many aspects here that work perfectly, and bends the sci-fi genre in so many different ways. Director Andrew Stanton didn't just make a fascinating animated film with wonderful characters, but he simply makes one of the best films Pixar has ever released, if not the best.
The film follows its titular protagonist in the very-distant future, who is a waste-compacting robot that is able to transport the waste into small little cubes inside of his body. He then goes around and creates mounds, stacking the waste cubes on top of each other. This is his routine for around 700 years, and WALL•E is lonely. Yet, I don't think he knows he's lonely. He craves that interaction between him and another person, but it doesn't cripple his need to live and do what he was programmed to do. That is when EVE arrives, a robot that scrounges Earth, looking for any sign of plant life to show Earth is habitable.
WALL•E forms a bond with EVE, a personal one that he didn't know was possible. When EVE finds a plant in WALL•E's massive collection of relics from Earth, she must then report to the Axiom, a traveling space cruise of sorts where humans went to after Earth wasn't habitable anymore. WALL•E follows EVE to the giant space craft, leading him on the greatest adventure of his life, possibly saving the entirety of the human race forever.
The first thirty minutes of this film is cinematic genius, and in my opinion, some of the best examples of animated film. It's beautiful, intelligent, and absolutely hilarious for the most part. WALL•E is crafted after Charlie Chaplin, and I think the filmmakers are able to translate that into their character beautifully. From his mannerisms to his adorable personality, WALL•E is not only able to entertain the audience without speaking for thirty minutes, but is able to make the audience instantly fall in love with him. Then, when EVE arrives on Earth, the way the two characters are able to interact and seemingly fall in love with one another without ever saying a word (besides their name) is wonderful to watch. This entire segment of the film is Kubrickian in a way; from the atmospheric tone of the film to the dialogue-less story, it simply works beautifully.
Then, when the plot starts to move forward and shifts our setting to deep space on the Axiom, Stanton and his group of filmmakers are able to beautifully translate different messages to the audience through the use of their story and characters. They meet a slew of humans onboard the ship, who are fat, lazy, and lounge on floating recliners for their whole lives. We, as the viewer, even see babies conditioned to be this way, all under the flagship of the mega-company, The Buy n Large Corporation. Stanton shows how dangerously powerful these companies can become, and how humans can be negatively affected by everything being at their fingertips. Many years ago, and even today, people had to work hard or travel to obtain simple necessities. Nowadays, everything is at our fingertips and so easy to obtain. Even 15 years prior, Stanton was showing the audience what we can become as a race if we don't try to change our ways. Consider the scene where WALL•E accidentally turns off the blinding computer screen on one woman's recliner. She starts to realize what is around her, literally exclaiming the phrase, "I didn't know we had a pool!" Reminiscent of Edward Norton's statement in Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman", Stanton wants us to get off our devices and have a real experience.
The entire part on the ship is as wonderful as the first act of this film. While they throw away some of the filmmaking techniques they used in the first thirty minutes, such as using more dialogue to further the plot and putting humans into the mix, I still think this film is able to perfectly deliver on everything it set up. The story is rich and interesting, and makes it a great sci-fi film. It is able to thrill the audiences, but in a way that is family-friendly and fun for the audiences. He also furthers the love story between EVE and WALL•E in such a beautiful way, making them easily one of the best couples in Pixar's filmography.
The animation is of course as beautiful as always. Pixar chooses a really beautiful and bright color scheme that not only perfectly fits within the landscape of the movie, but is able to contrast the Earth from the space ship. It shows a shiny, perfect paradise on the ship, and a more-real and natural beauty to the planet we reside on. Even though the space ship may seem shiny and intriguing, it seems like the film is more concerned with showing the naturalistic side of the planetary setting. I also adore the way they give our robots their own personalities with very simple movements and eye placements. Consider WALL•E's facial movements. He is able to convey so many emotions in just a single eye or head adjustment.
This film is a cinematic masterpiece. It's not only a huge staple in the art of animation, but it is a brilliant showcase of how to make such a fantastic film. Stanton and Pixar craft one of the best movies in the studio's entire span of films, and it is easy to find yourself lost in this futuristic world that Stanton and his team have created. "WALL•E" is fun, beautiful, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, and just a visually stunning story of two unlikely characters that fall in love and save the human race.