For the “nth time,” Pixar creates an animated masterpiece pushing the limits of computer animation and storytelling possibilities. By now, it’s safe to say that Pixar’s creative genius appears to have no boundaries: from the vastness of the sea to the nooks and cranny of the kitchen to the galaxy far, far away…
Other Movie Reviews from 2010 Archive:
Animation, Children, Family, and Teen Films
Wrapped around in a romance so touching and engaging courtesy of its pair of robots in the main roles, WALL• E is one of the best love stories ever told in the big screen.
Another groundbreaking work from the makers of the now classic animated films Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, this animated masterpiece about a robot’s journey as he travels the vastness of the universe to be with his beloved wins the heart of the human audience. It leaps beyond its mechanical pieces to convey emotions of true love. It is very simple on many aspects, but at the same time, it is pure of movie magic. It is a rare picture of hope, wonder, and joy. Its every deft little touch brings complex, heartfelt circuitry to the characters; thus, transporting the viewers into a cosmic place filled with the future’s “what if’s.” All these are presented through the eyes of the main character WALL• E, a poetic figure of a robot drawn to human splendor.
So far and yet so near… The story primarily showcases robots and humans enslaved by technology. And this archetypal fable about loneliness and love is both simple and deep. The filmmakers extends the parameters of the art form to create a whole new universe of pure emotional content, amidst the film’s very superficial blueprint and physicality. The genuinely heartwarming story may happen hundreds or thousands of years and light-years away, with all the machines programmed to do specific physical works and humans don’t even know what touching a fellow human being is like, but there is an amazing amount of life and humanity all throughout the film. Indeed, the wit, invention, and sheer charm of a wonderful story told well can never lose its touch regardless of the kind of character and mise-en-scene used.
Withstanding the pitfalls of human existence as a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class robot, WALL• E is an utterly adorable character with a welcome surge of honesty, impishness, introspection, humor, determination, and sentimentality. This “humanly mechanical hero” supplies such surprising and engaging moments with his earnest robot reverie. He is built with such emotion, brains, and humor that the heart of the story revolves around his whirring tones and binocular eyes. Amidst his mechanized clunks and beeps, he moves like a true human character holding on to his dreams. His fantastic journey on a never-before-imagined vision of the future is deeply moving and fun. His irresistible rattles and eye rolls keep up with his ingenious sight gags needing no words for them to actually work. And for the most part, this considerably silent comedy reveals a lot of personality with its robots… more than its human characters who seem to have actually lost the true humanity in them.
This computer-animated cosmic comedy is nothing short of magical. At the same time, it is an endearing post-apocalyptic romantic adventure that is as fresh as it is funny, as heartwarming as it is innovative. WALL• E never feels preachy or pushy. Its animation is spectacular without being a mere show-off. While the film’s social message comes through loud and clear, it never detracts the heart of the film, especially the unlikely romance between the knick-knack collector Wall• E and the sleek search robot EVE. It works in recreating such an intricate world that is moving too fast and changing too rapidly. It gives serious moments to pause and reflect on what makes life valuable to live without losing its sense of wonder. It has a social and moral conscience without pushing too hard. It promotes an ecologically minded message with an artful nod for its modestly profound portrait of loneliness, duty, and desire for reciprocated attention. This film saves the world through the “power of holding hands.”
On a personal note, what makes WALL• E even more striking is how it successfully pays homage to one of my best-loved films 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. From the music to the visuals to the aspect of the story where the computer tries to outwit the human and vice versa, this film gives justice to paying homage to the work of a master. It also has a Charlie Chaplin feel to it, especially with its almost comedic splendor for its non-talking scenes.
Academy Award-winning writer-director Andrew Stanton (also the director of Finding Nemo) and his crew incorporate surprising elements that mix vintage sci-fi with old musicals, armageddon environment, and a futuristic rendering of man’s complete dependence on technology. WALL• E is in full battery, powered up as it makes a massive leap in technological talent with its textural, tactile quality pushing CGI and 3D animation into uncharted and artistic heights. Its approach to being committed to a touching robot romance validates how animation is capable of much more than talking animals and fairy tale characters. Along with its fantastic and hearty visual value, it also provides a marvel of sound design and music courtesy of Ben Burtt and Thomas Newman. Indeed, this film illustrates Pixar’s downright heroic commitment to the craft by combining the wonder of art and fantastic entertainment value for the audience. Add up its continuing take on featuring a short animated film as a worthy prologue to its every feature film… and things just become even more wonderful. Pixar really allows the witty storytelling and expressive animation transport the viewers into a whole new but touchingly familiar world.
Central to its serious, thoughtful, and vital messages about the environment and humanity, WALL• E is a smart, heartwarming, and savvy story about love, loneliness, perseverance, and triumph. It hits its pro-green, anti-consumerist points remarkably as well. It shows the transformational power of love in such a beautiful, energetic, intelligent, and satirical way.
Joining WALL• E and EVE is a hilarious cast of a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots, a pet cockroach, “evolutionized” human beings, and a naughty computer. The film’s visions of a ravaged, abandoned Earth of the future and a mechanized, corporately controlled space ark/pleasure cruiser vs. a small waste collecting robot doing his job in the barren planet make up an exciting and imaginative adventure.
WALL• E’s determined courtship to the completely indifferent EVE has as much truth about humanity’s sweetness and struggle as any effective piece of story with real human characters. Interestingly, the central characters for WALL• E merely show affection through their overall body movements, the rolling of eyes, and the mechanical sound they make. Yet, everything just works so stunningly. And with WALL• E chasing EVE across the galaxy, against all odds, the story validates the human need to find a partner and friends with whom they can share their life experiences.
WALL• E is a rare, precious gem in cinema. It’s a great work of art. It’s a sci-fi funhouse and a romantic animated feature film for all ages. It draws the moviegoers with a close encounter with an enduring classic.