Directed by Andrew Stanton (2008)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★★
Pixar is genius. WALL-E is one of my favourite of their works. How does an animated film with an almost complete lack of dialogue, a robot that makes cute noises and a multitude of fat humans work so well? I don’t know, but Andrew Stanton still pulls off a futuristic, out-of-this-world epic tale of a small, courageous robot that saves mankind from thinning bone density. Wall-E, despite being a robot, is one of the most rounded characters you’ll see; curious, caring and adventurous, he has it all. And all these emotions are so clearly presented to us in the tiniest of details; Pixar’s magic at work once again.
The first half is entirely devoid of dialogue and introduces only three characters: Wall-E, a clean-up robot tasked with routine activities and the only one left on garbage-laden earth (all the humans left on a spaceship), his little cockroach friend and Eve, a high-tech white robot female that changes Wall-E’s life forever. Eve’s directive: to find life on this planet so as to signal the possibility of the humans’ return to Earth. Behold! She finds a plant, and suddenly Wall-E finds himself aboard a giant starship where humans are confined to hover-chairs, are ridiculously obese and spend their days eating and talking to each other through something like Skype. Mankind is doomed and disgraced forever. But the Captain is determined to return to Earth despite the prevalence of rubbish – “we must do something to solve this problem!” Way to take initiative, Captain, but obviously things will never go according to plan. Contrary to the slow-paced first half, the second half is explosive with impressive and exciting chases, all the while maintaining the friendly and sweet charm it began with.
In the midst of the unfolding events, social-political-environmental messages are evident. Humans obsessed with the latest upgraded technology with no apparent motive to step out of their comfort zones, giving up on a dying planet and leaving it to decay; can we take these as anything less than societal criticism? Blunt as they may be, these lessons are important though I feel the filmmakers could have portrayed it less conspicuously.
Will young children be bored by the first half? I don’t think so. There’s enough humour that is adaptly placed and once the second half comes around, they’ll be riveted. Adults will find this film agreeable as well; Wall-E’s determination to express his love for Eve is precious. With unforgettable characters and enchanting visuals, WALL-E is one of Pixar’s most mature and captivating films to date.