WALL-E: Pixar’s Magnum Opus
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the value of a movie is incalculable. Pixar, since its inception in the late 80s, has strived to push the boundary of what is thought possible with animated pictures, and WALL-E might just be their greatest triumph yet.
WALL-E is a masterpiece of writing and animation. The first half of the movie plays as a silent film, with nothing but the old movie WALL-E watches to punctuate the lack of any spoken words. He is, after all, a robot. Then his world, that has been running like clockwork for a very, very long time, suddenly shifts with the arrival of EVE. Our boy is stricken and he does everything he can to help EVE with her “directive”, despite the fact that it’s much different than his. To cut this summary short (because we’ve all seen the movie), WALL-E straps himself to a rocketship to make sure EVE is safe, and accidentally starts a human rebellion on the Axiom.
There are many reasons why WALL-E is Pixar’s crowning glory, so I’ll try to name a few
First, it tells a story with the animation. Pixar was founded to essentially create a new method of animation: computer-generated animation. And while they’ve had numerous successes before WALL-E (Toy Story for example), this was the first movie carried on the strength of the animation. The fact that the main characters don’t talk much, besides saying their names, means that you need to show the audience what is happening, and trust that they will understand and follow the story, and they do this beautifully. On top of that, the animation is not only functional in telling the story, but also amazingly immersive and beautiful. From the wide-angle shots that show the immense state of decay on Earth, to the futuristic haven of the Axiom, every aspect of the movie is stunning.
Second, the love story between WALL-E and EVE is perhaps the cutest thing ever put to screen. Most of that is because they don’t talk so they find different ways to be bashful. WALL-E, for his part, just wants to hold hands with EVE and travels insane distances just to accomplish that feat, freeing the human population along the way. When EVE closed up, we get a sequence that’ll rival the opening sequence in Up for emotional pull, and all this done without a single word spoken. EVE’s robotic giggle is in the top 5 cutest things you’ll ever see or hear in a movie. Sure, she tries to kill him initially, but she eventually warms up to the little junk compressor. All this leads up to what is in my opinion, the most beautiful animated sequence of all time. While the captain of the Axiom continues his journey into discovery of the human species, he asks the computer to define dancing. At the same time, floating in space, WALL-E (with the aid of a fire extinguisher), and EVE go on an interpretive dance through the cosmos. Combined with Thomas Newman’s incredible score, this sequence is truly spectacular. It is also the moment EVE fell for WALL-E.
WALL-E is proof a picture is worth a thousand words, and animation done well can tell more stories than spoken words ever could.