Film Review: WALL-E

One of my many goals for this year was to watch more movies - I'm ideally aiming for one a week but am prepared to let that drop to once every two weeks, depending what else is going on in my life. So to kick things off, the first movie I saw this year, on New Year's Day in fact, was WALL-E.

For those who've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, WALL-E is the story of the last robot on Earth who's been employed to do a clean-up job after the humans abandoned the trash-covered planet. He's oblivious to his fate and happy enough (if a little lonely) collecting mementoes and watching Hello Dolly. Then he finds a plant and is visited by another robot called EVE, which sends the two of them off on an adventure through space that will change the destiny of mankind...

First off, it looks absolutely stunning, as all Pixar movies do, even back in the early days of Toy Story which achieved that rare thing of a computer animation that didn't look like a computer. The devastated trash-covered Earth which WALL-E inhabits looks amazing, and the starkly beautiful rendering of outer space - all deep blues smattered with stars - contrasts wonderfully with the bright, flashy yet still somehow cold interior of the Axiom. Full credit to that art department for an absolutely sterling job.

Equally, it's a wonderful love story between our robotic Romeo and Juliet, WALL-E and EVE. Pixar hadn't previously told a love story - or at least not on such simple terms, though I suppose it's arguable that there are elements of that in the earlier movies but they've been more like marriages than pure romance - but this is possibly the best one they've ever done. Every moment between them is incredibly tender for two lumps of metal, from WALL-E's issues pronouncing EVE's name when they first meet, to his showing here around his home, right down to his unswerving loyalty when she goes back to the Axiom - something she later repays in kind. Even when she's angry with him, he persists in expressing his feelings for her in a way that would be stalkerish in a human but is oddly cute in a wide-eyed yellow robot. And their dance scene outside the Axiom is possibly one of the finest things Pixar have ever done.

I think that's also indicative of what WALL-E represents in the evolution of Pixar, as in that it began to make its heartstring-tugging overt rather than hiding it under the laughs. The themes of the movie - loss (granted this is fairly regular in Pixar, but I doubt it's been this explicit before), love, environmentalism and a slightly Terminator-esque note about letting machines take over - are pretty and even a little on the dark side for what's ostensibly a kids' movie, but at the same time there are some wonderful moments about friendship and working as a team, such as the fight back against Auto and the bots. It does sag a little about two-thirds of the way through, but is ultimately a gorgeous-looking and wonderfully fine romance.

1 comment:

  1. I <3 WALLE! Great review and great blog! :) x