Summer Film Series – Vol. 6, No. 4: WALL•E
July 1, 2008 at Movies 14, McKinney, Texas
The critics have crowned WALL•E as Pixar’s “best yet”. I had my reservations about this, of course, because I hold so many of the films dear, but I was happy to keep my judgments at bay until first viewing. At the end of the film, I could easily understand the critic’s claims. While I don’t believe WALL•E to be the best Pixar film ever, I think it just might be my favorite now.
The film is a love story — pure and simple. WALL•E is a robot assigned to clean up all the refuse that has piled up on the Earth and forced all inhabitants to live on large cruise ships in space. For centuries, WALL•E has dutifully performed his tasks, carving out an actual life for himself on the desolate planet. He is the only robot still working, in fact, and has the company of only one other creature: a lively little cockroach. WALL•E is shown to move through his daily routine with joy and purpose, compacting piles of trash into small cubes and stacking them into skyscraper structures, all the while selecting treasures of bygone days to keep in a collection in his home. That he has a friendship with an insect and keeps a home full of tchotchkes goes far to endear the audience to this little guy in only a few minutes at the beginning of the film. WALL•E is adorable and sweet and funny, all before uttering one intelligible sound. But it is when a “female” probe arrives on the planet to scan for signs of viability that WALL•E truly comes alive.
EVE is a spitfire of a robot, all purpose and laser pistols, and WALL•E is smitten at first sight. They learn to communicate in a common language (with just enough phrasing to make their speech understandable to humans), and they begin a sweet little courtship, of sorts. But then EVE’s directive interrupts their budding romance, and WALL•E must leave all he knows to venture into an unknown world. He is as devoted to EVE as he is to his duties, and this gives the movie such heart and such tenderness that my own heart swelled increasingly throughout the last hour. But the film is immensely humorous, as well, and shows just how mischievous and playful WALL•E can be. In the span of 100 minutes, I came to love the little robot like no other film character before. Perhaps this is why the critics continue to rave on.
The film WALL•E proves that Pixar has more genius and creativity flowing through its team than anything we will ever imagine. They have reached new levels in the realism of animation, and I daresay that other studios will be hard-pressed to ever match it. This film has visual depth never before seen, as well as story depth that rivals anything with human actors. I still can’t say whether this film is the best Pixar yet, but I do know that WALL•E (and the little M-O) are my favorite of their characters. And the fact that Pixar made a theater full of people root for a tiny little cockroach says a great deal about their brilliance. I cannot wait to see how they top themselves!
image from Rotten Tomatoes