Mechanically Beautiful: WALL-E

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“WALL-E” is a 2008 film produced by Pixar Animations. The story is set in the year 2085. The human population has abandoned Earth due to the vast amounts of pollution that have caused life to be unsustainable. They are now living on the Axiom, which is a large spaceship that caters to all of their needs via robots and other forms of futuristic technology. WALL-E, a quirky garbage composting robot left on Earth, ventures off with EVE, a robot he has fallen in love with, to get his newly discovered plant into the Halo-Detector, head back to Earth, and restore life once again.

 

This synopsis barely scrapes the surface of what “WALL-E” is about. The movie has an incredible theme: we should protect the earth that we live on. It also manages to capture problems in our society without using much dialogue. Buy N’ Large is a corporation that has taken over most of the world. The CEO of Buy N’ Large actually becomes the President of the United States. This is an underlying theme of how society as a whole tends to be dependent on large-scale corporations, such as Walmart. The movie also captures the themes of human laziness, showing the bone loss of the humans in the Axiom as a result of them spending their whole lives in hover-chairs.

This movie manages to pack so many things in without having to shove it in the audience’s face. The only characters who give much dialogue throughout the movie are the captain of the Axiom and Auto, the autopilot robot. WALL-E and EVE never say much besides their names, each other’s names, and “plant”, along with a few other words. There are occasional sections of dialogue from the passengers of the Axiom, as well as the former CEO of Buy N’ Large. Other than that, most of the emotions and plot of the movie can be inferred through the animation. Even though WALL-E barely says anything, you come to love him as the movie progresses. The introduction to his character is fantastic – it shows all of his quirks and humanoid characteristics purely through his physical mannerisms. I especially enjoy his fascination with objects that we today take for granted, like engagement ring boxes or lighters. EVE also does not say much, yet through both her and WALL-E’s mannerisms you can see how they are feeling. You still get the reaction you would by seeing people talk in a normal movie. You feel sad when EVE doesn’t hold WALL-E’s hand; you get angry when WALL-E is crushed by the Halo-Detector, and so on. That, to me, is art; being able to convey such strong emotions to the audience while barely saying a word.

The graphics of Pixar movies are, without debate, amazing. Pixar is known for having extremely realistic animation that captures the audience and brings them into the world of the story. WALL-E’s world is incredible because we see the potential for it to be real. We pollute our earth every day. We have large-scale corporations. This helps really bring the message home. The way that they show the desolation and isolation of WALL-E helps us be sucked into that world of 2085. The scenes where WALL-E is in space are especially beautiful. The stars are so vibrant and sharp that you wish you could stare at them forever. All of the other little details throughout the film are also incredible. Whether it is the dirt on WALL-E or the reflections of the lights on EVE, the animation was truly beautiful and well-done.

Music is also an important element in movies. The soundtrack of “WALL-E” is especially unique because it contains original, futuristic pieces as well as old classics. The 1964 musical “Hello, Dolly!” is referenced frequently throughout the movie. The song “It Only Takes a Moment” is used as the backbone behind WALL-E and EVE’s relationship; that being them wanting to hold hands. One popular song, “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” is also played frequently throughout the movie. “La Vie en Rose” by Louie Armstrong is used during one montage of WALL-E falling in love with EVE. Using these older tunes gives a nostalgic feeling that counteracts with the futuristic world and characters. I personally loved that contrasted effect. You know that the music doesn’t belong in that time period, yet it fits so beautifully. It also reminds us that, even though they are robots, they are sentient beings who have the same feelings then as we do now. It shows that the story and characters are timeless. Even some of the originally composed pieces help add to the tension, tone, and mood throughout the entire film.

Overall, WALL-E” is an incredibly artistic piece. Whether it is through the music, animation, story, overall theme, aesthetics, or mood, “WALL-E” manages to nail it in every single category. The graphics blow you away; the music transports you through time as well as into the story. The theme of protecting the environment is great; the parallels to our current society are subtle yet fantastic. All of the emotions are evoked out of you while using a minimal amount of words. WALL-E may come across as just a Pixar movie for kids, but it is really so much more than that. It is a work of art.