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 WALL•E (2008)

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: WALL•E (2008)   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:37 pm

The idea for WALL•E came to director Andrew Stanton long before Toy Story (1995) was ever made, the idea was a simple one, ""What if mankind evacuated Earth and forgot to turn off the last remaining robot?". In little over a decade, Pixar Animation Studios firmly put their stamp on the world of cinema. Over the course of the 8 feature films they've made for Disney, they've been pushing the envelope of animation and have always made good films. But they always ensure the story of each film is perfect before it's animated, and they've always had a good eye for breathtaking visuals and slight humour. In that time, Stanton would win an Oscar for Finding Nemo (2003), which still stands as the most successful Pixar film ever. After 15 years in development, he was ready to unveil WALL•E upon the world. It's their most daring film to date. Not only because the main character is a little robot who has been cleaning up all our rubbish for hundreds of years, all on his own, but also because it features a rather touching romance between two robots, and that there's very little dialogue throughout the whole film. It would be a tough sell, but Disney and Pixar were up to the challenge. Like their previous 8 films, their 9th film, WALL•E works brilliantly. It's so touching, beautiful to look at, and it's got a good sense of humour about it, and best of all, it has heart.

Set somewhere in the 29th Century, it has Earth, now a barren, empty wasteland. No humans live here, all that remains are rubbish piles the size of skyscrapers. All humans abandoned earth back in the 22nd Century, and for the past 700 years, they've been living upon a spaceship called the Axiom, owned by the Buy n Large corporation, originally run by Shelby Forthright (Fred Willard). To clean up the Earth, Buy 'n' Large sent down thousands of WALL•E robots (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class), designed to clean up the planet. When this failed, all the WALL•E robots were shut down, except for one. WALL•E is different from all the other robots, as he's been collecting assorted pieces of rubbish and keeping it, whether it be Rubik's Cubes or cutlery or even spare parts for himself. But, he's been taught to feel emotion from watching an old VHS of the Barbara Streisand/Michael Crawford musical, Hello, Dolly! (1969). One day, a spaceship comes to Earth. On board, it has a sleek robot called EVE, who has been sent to look for any proof of life on Earth, which it turns out WALL•E has got, in the form of a little seedling in a boot. WALL•E falls in love with EVE, but EVE takes WALL•E's seedling back to the Axiom for analysis. It is then that WALL•E follows her, which sets off a huge chain reaction that will determine the fate of mankind...

It's amazing how Pixar are able to continue to make excellent films, if not, then very, very good. It's almost as if they're blessed with a Midas touch, and they've always been extremely lucky to create visually perfect films, with equally good plots and characters. It is with WALL•E though, their most daring and offbeat film of all, that they've made their masterpiece. Not only is it the best film of the year so far, but it is also the best film Pixar have ever made!! No easy feat for the studio who gave us Toy Story (1995), Monsters, Inc. (2001), The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007). Each film they make is different in idea and look, but they all share the same technical excellence. They all put the characters and story first, then the animation. (Which alot of other animation houses seldom do these days.) But with WALL•E, they create a winning combination of genres. It starts out as a very light and gentle comedy in the vein of Chaplin or Jacques Tati, then it moves into 2001/Star Wars/Close Encounters territory, whilst at the same time retaining it's silent comedy roots.

WALL•E is a very beautiful film to look upon, especially with WALL•E travelling through the cosmos to be with EVE. Some of the shots are pure art, the sort you don't see in recent animation films. It's done with precision and care. The tone changes however, when the film's action moves to the Axiom. Which is a day-glo city where humans are too big to move and are pampered around, it's only when a couple are snapped out of this luxury existance, that they begin to notice the world all around them. Could this be a message about how we could turn out?? Either way, the film does have an environmental message to it, but without being overtly preachy like other films. But, the message is clear, it's not too late to make a change.

As well as being visually stunning, WALL•E is also a very emotional film too, with moments of poignancy throughout. You do feel sorry for WALL•E at first, as he's been tidying up our mess for hundreds of years, and he only wants companionship, although he has a cockroach for company. WALL•E is also very cute to look upon, he's very innocent, curious and neurotic as well. But, it's surprising how much a small robot which cleans up waste can do for it's audience on an emotional level. But, WALL•E isn't alone in the film, especially when it comes to mankinds fate. The equally pampered captain of the Axiom, Captain McCrea (Jeff Garlin), who's whole outlook on life is changed when he encounters WALL•E, plus he truly shows what he's made off, when he learns the truth of mankind's fate. The pampered humans are also affected by the presence of WALL•E, (one of whom, John, is voiced by Pixar's "good luck charm", John Ratzenberger. Razz) But, it's the sweet, innocent romance between WALL•E and EVE that's the glue of this film, he travels miles from home just to be with her.



WALL•E is perhaps the best animated movie of the decade, it's a simple, straight-forward love story between two robots who just so happen to change people's lives, and giving planet Earth a second chance. Director Stanton has created a beautiful and deeply emotional film, which is uplifting and highly enjoyable at the same time. WALL•E is a film for all time, and is a modern animated masterpiece, plus alot of the credit should go to sound designer Ben Burtt, who created WALL•E's voice, it's instantly recognisable, and it adds to the innocence and quirkiness of the character. The film is alot darker than the ads make out, but it does have a good heart, but it is ultimately satisfying and rewarding. It is tear-jerking at points, but that's intentional. There hasn't been an animated film which has done this since the golden age of Disney. Pixar have done it again, and long may their chain of unbroken genius go on for years to come. Oh, and the short film that preceeds the main film, (a tradition with Pixar), Presto. Is a work of absolute genius, just as good as they are with shorts as they are with feature films, Presto is slapstick genius, and it gets you in the mood. Chuck Jones would be proud of Presto, he would be proud of WALL•E too...

I watched it again last night, and I can honestly say no finer film has been made this year, I was in awe at it's beauty, and I could cry in the comfort of my own home at it. WALL•E is so cute!! Very Happy From watching the end credits, I see the Coen's regular DP Roger Deakins was credited as a Visual Consultant. Plus, there was a Special Thanks to David Fincher, and one to Fincher's DP from The Game and Zodiac, Harris Savides. Seeing as they made Zodiac in San Francisco while WALL•E was in production, and Pixar is based nearby, do you think they popped by to give some advice?? Wink
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PostSubject: Re: WALL•E (2008)   Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:18 pm

I've just watched it again, and I swear it gets better and better!! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: WALL•E (2008)   Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:31 am

Awesome write-up, Don!! snoopy

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PostSubject: Re: WALL•E (2008)   Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:32 am

Thank you!!
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