The moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived: Pixar Animation Studios’ ninth feature film WALL-E has opened in theatres across North America in what is an historic day for Pixar, Disney, and the genre of animation.
My review of the film follows. Just for kicks, I’ve written it in what I now believe to be an amateurish imitation of a formal movie critic tone. The message is simple, though: WALL-E is a spectacular motion picture, go watch it right now, and congratulations in advance to Andrew Stanton and everyone at Pixar for the Oscars (and many nominations) they’re gonna pick up come February.
Here we go…
There have always been grand, ominous scenes in animation —scenes like Pinocchio discovering Pleasure Island or Belle searching for her father, finding instead the Beast's castle. In this tradition are the opening scenes of WALL-E, where, after listening to the cheerful tunes of “Put On Your Sunday Clothes”, the audience finds itself in a rusted world of decay, with music to match. Everything is abandoned, nobody’s around, and few things seem identifiable through the cloud of dust that pervades the atmosphere. So begins the best film you’ll see this year.
WALL-E is an amazing piece of art. Pixar’s most mature and compelling picture yet, it captures the essence of good filmmaking, and more broadly, storytelling. It makes you forget that you’re watching a “cartoon”, or a movie of any kind, for that matter, and instead grabs your attention as long as it plays. It’s emotional, moving; it’s funny; it’s exciting. A classic, it puts Finding Nemo to shame. WALL-E, the film’s eponymous star, is, as you may have already suspected, a character so endearing that words fail me.
The best aspects of the film are found where many would least expect them. The “silence” really is ‘golden’, and the apparent “mistakes” are what make the movie work.
To illustrate: WALL-E’s robotfriend EVE is not a ‘loveable’ character, even after she does learn to love. She’s not ‘cute’, she’s cold, and occasionally more than a little mean. But WALL-E loves her, and so you end up wanting to know more about her too. You actually want to see more of her character. As for the romance between her and WALL-E, it just works. There’s this scene where —well, let’s just call it a robotic version of Sleeping Beauty. To see WALL-E’s love and caring for EVE just in that one scene alone made me say to myself, “If this doesn’t warm the hearts of those (insert swear word)s at the Academy, nothing will.”
But WALL-E is not merely a love story —it is a breathtaking, modern epic, a rarity in today’s indie-obsessed Hollywood. Not since Forrest Gump has a film blended comedy, action, romance, and drama so well, and not since Star Wars has a film taken the cinematography of space to such a level. Once again: A work of art.
Mr. Stanton, WALL-E crew: Put on your Sunday clothes, you’re going to the Oscars.