Even for Pixar, WALL·E is something that this animation studio has accomplished for the very first time & is quite possibly their most perfect film to date. Surpassing Pixar’s very own genre-defining standards, pushing the boundaries of animation to an entirely new level & effortlessly transcending the conventions of its genre, WALL·E shows what animation is capable of when used as a medium to narrate a story & is one of the greatest achievements in the history of filmmaking.
Set in a distant future, WALL·E paints a very bleak portrait of our planet that has been abandoned by mankind after it became too unfit to sustain human life and chronicles the adventures of a robot that was designed to clean up the whole mess, has been alone on the waste-covered Earth for centuries & has developed sentience. When another robot named EVE arrives to survey the planet, WALL·E falls in love with her at first sight & follows her into outer space on a journey that would change the fate of mankind.
Co-written & directed by Andrew Stanton, WALL·E marks another impressive high for the very filmmaker who previously dazzled the world with his breathtaking underwater adventure, Finding Nemo & this time, presents him raising the bar for movies set in outer space. While the fabulously written screenplay touches on current world issues like pollution, mass consumerism, sedentary lifestyle & dependence on technology amongst other things, it’s how these themes are presented that makes WALL·E an instant classic.
Opening with what isn’t entirely an unrealistic view of our planet’s future, the first act of WALL·E is also its strongest for the sequences set on Earth are an absolute marvel to look at & even the storyline in this act makes minimal use of dialogues, relying mostly on visuals. Humans do make their appearance from the second act onwards but it’s the robots here in whom we invest our emotions with assured confidence, and they don’t let us down for their arc is deftly written, carefully handled & confidently presented.
From the technical point of view, WALL·E is in a league of its own. Production design team makes expert use of real world entities for its sets, Cinematography is jaw-dropping for it blends live-action with 3D animation unlike anything seen or done before but as far as animation photography goes, it ends up setting new standards with its inventive use of lighting, colour palettes, camera placements & focus shots for this picture is the closest animation has ever come to replicating live-action cinema on the silver screen.
The computer animation has always been a state-of-the-art aspect in Pixar’s features but in WALL·E, it opens up a wide range of possibilities for its medium unlike ever before & explores the new realms with sublime artistry. Editing exhibits a steady control over its pacing & every frame throughout its 98 minutes of runtime serves a meaningful purpose in the end product. And then there is Thomas Newman’s heartwarming score that makes WALL·E a deeply intimate, beautiful, touching, innocent & soul-stirring experience.
The two adorable characters we have here in WALL·E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth-Class) & EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) are elegantly designed and express emotions so well that we are instantly connected to their thoughts without any requirement of verbal exposition. The entirety of WALL·E’s expressions come from those binocular eyes & his rugged design fits the environment he works in while EVE presents a much advanced technology & her precision finish resembles the design aesthetics found exclusively in Apple products.
Also, ever since 2001: A Space Odyssey happened, almost every single feature film set in outer space has gone on to pay homage to that quintessential sci-fi classic yet of all the space operas out there, WALL·E is by far the best tribute to Kubrick’s magnum opus in my opinion for it treats that masterpiece’s legacy with utmost respect but is also able to carve its own identity by retaining its originality. The film also makes reference to the 1969 musical Hello, Dolly! and in many ways, is a wonderful ode to various products by Apple Inc. as well.
On an overall scale, WALL·E is an immensely fascinating science-fiction adventure, a whole-heartedly mesmerising love story & a groundbreaking feat of computer animation, all extraordinarily intermixed into one profoundly moving, delightfully entertaining & thoroughly rewarding cinema that effectively addresses the themes of love, loneliness & companionship, and has a lot to say about our degrading environment, inactive lifestyle, consumerism & over-reliance on technology, including where all this could lead us in the near-future unless we decide to act.
Whether you place it in the genre(s) of sci-fi, romance, adventure or comedy, WALL·E will manage to come out as a winner in all of them with effortless ease for it is a triumph in every filmmaking department & is a cinematic treasure that’ll be cherished for decades to come. Watching it only once isn’t enough for the story unravels more of its depths on multiple viewings. One of the best films of its year, one of the finest films of its decade, one of the prime examples of its genre(s) & definitely amongst the greatest films ever made, WALL·E is an unprecedented feat of animation filmmaking that simply works.