Welcome back to Pixar Countdown Reviews, which we take a look at and review all seventeen theatrical Pixar films every Friday leading up to the release of Pixar’s Cars 3 this summer. Take a look back at some of our previous entries and stay tuned every Friday as we cover all of Pixar’s incredible films.
What I love so much about animation is the infinite potential it has. It has the power to create some of the most unique worlds and characters ever seen on film and express things visually in a way that live-action simply cannot. Enter WALL-E, a film which, to me, is one of many animated films that epitomizes the potential the art of animation can have in storytelling.
WALL-E is a unique story about a lonely robot who wants to find love. It’s a very out there concept, but one that is pulled off brilliantly. Never have I been so convinced that a robot can actually have real, human feelings.
WALL-E doesn’t even speak throughout the entire film! Instead, he communicates through expressions and body language, which is, again, very impressive seeing as how he is a robot. The movie itself actually does not have that much dialogue. For example, the first 22 minutes of the film are completely silent! I love when films put such a focus on visual storytelling, and Pixar knows how to do it right. Both WALL-E and EVE don’t talk, but you can see their romance unfold and their bond strengthens simply by watching the movie and following their actions and body language. It’s such a beautiful way to build a romantic relationship between two characters and it’s amazing to watch.
The lack of dialogue between the two characters does a lot more than build their relationship. It also gives us a lot of hilarious visual gags. Pixar definitely went all out knowing visual storytelling will be the focus, seeing it as the perfect opportunity to bring in a lot of visual humor, with WALL-E’s curiosity being the driving force of a lot of it. The result is perhaps one of the funniest Pixar films and it’s wonderful to watch.
The film’s main characters are WALL-E and EVE. As mentioned before, the characters are developed greatly throughout the film as their romantic relationship slowly develops. And from the very beginning of the film, you can tell how much of a romantic WALL-E is simply in the way he watches Hello, Dolly! over and over again, just wanting to be loved after being alone on Earth for so many years. It’s a perfect way to develop a character who cannot talk.
The film has some excellent world building as well. It builds the world that Earth has become in the year 2805, but also builds Axiom, a mothership where all the humans currently live. Of course, Earth is not in the film for as long and much of the focus is on Axiom, where all the humans are lazy and get around in moving chairs and everything seems to be run by the major corporation in the film, Buy N’ Large.
The animation in the film is incredible. With every single shot on Earth, the animation perfectly conveys what happened there, its history and how it ended up being the wasteland that it is. That’s of course contrasted with the sterile look of the Axiom. Through the lighting and set design, it gives us very contrasting looks, seamlessly bouncing back and forth from feelings of loneliness, intimacy, and claustrophobia, evoking the feelings the characters are currently feeling.
The way the animation conveys so much history and emotion is due to the brilliant direction of Andrew Stanton. Known for also directing Finding Nemo and Finding Dory at Pixar, he brings all of his experience to this film and gives it his all, with a focus on even the most subtle details that help develop the characters and the world. The cinematography is just as excellent, giving a hand in evoking those feelings I have been talking about.
The score is also great. It is composed by Thomas Newman, who also composed the score for Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. He does an excellent job creating atmospheric music, and his work on WALL-E is certainly no exception.
WALL-E is a remarkable landmark in showing just what the art of animation can achieve. Creating a romance told entirely through visuals and using the animation, lighting and set design to develop both story and backstory is glorious for an animation aficionado such as myself to experience. The film also being a major hit with audiences just proves the impact it can have on people. If you for some reason have not seen this film by now, I can’t recommend it enough.
Film Grade: A+