Critical Review Of The Movie Wall-e

The year is 2008. I was around eight years old when I first saw an advertisement for this movie while watching Nickelodeon. The trailer really got me excited for the movie because I was always fascinated with robots and space as a kid. Now looking back, the ending when Eve basically has to reboot Wall-E really hit home for me because of how emotional it was. Wall-E is your typical love story except instead of a boy, it’s a robot living on Earth 700 years into the future. This Academy Award winning film is worth watching for its amazing soundtrack, high quality animation, and character development.

The first half hour of this film is simply put, extraordinary in the way it is crafted. I really liked the use of the song “Put on your Sunday Clothes!” in the beginning because it gives the scene such a retro quality, making it feel like you’re watching a classic Disney film such as Dumbo. The song can be seen as foreshadowing the rest of the story as Wall-E goes out into the world to find adventure and romance. Another song called “It Only Takes a Moment” is played often in the film to symbolize Wall-E’s love for Eve. For example, this song is played when Eve goes through her security camera footage and when she tries to fix Wall-E’s parts and bring his memory back by humming the tune. He leaves Earth with Eve, makes new friends, and lives his life to the fullest even though some of his mechanical parts get damaged.

In addition, the filmmaker’s portrayal of Wall-E makes him very likeable early on in the story. The robots in Wall-E are similar to the droids seen in Star Wars where they are portrayed as machines with a function as well as characters with feelings that progress the plot. As the last robot on Earth, he spends most of his time cleaning up trash and collecting treasure. A common criticism of this movie is that people found it hard to empathize with a robot; however, unlike other animated films featuring robots, Wall-E is treated less like a robot and more like a human with personality. His most prized possession is his VHS tape of the musical Hello Dolly which helps him discover what love is. He seems to be lonely as his only friend on Earth is a cockroach which I suppose can be seen as his pet. The robot is given a story on their purpose and the ability to express emotions through his eyes.

Not only was the portrayal of Wall-E well done, but also the animation stood out to me compared to other movies released at the time. As written by magazine author Richard Corliss, it has a photorealistic quality especially the earth scenes which “look like a gorgeously arid, live-action waste dump”. It is artistically crafted in a way that viewers can find it beautiful to see the Earth being polluted with trash is Pixar nailed it when it came to making Wall-E seem as realistic as possible. For example, throughout the film there are these subtle movements where it would manually focus as if it was being shot with a handheld camera. This allows the audience to closely observe every little detail in order to craft the characters and the environment. A strong shade of brown is used to emphasize the lack of life on Earth compared to the Axiom cruise ship with its machines and vibrant colors. Even the polluted Earth is just so beautiful to look at. Film critic Roger Ebert points out that the movie “finds a color palette that’s bright and cheerful, but not too pushy, and a tiny bit realistic at the same time”. This aspect extends to the characters with Wall-E looking rusty and dirty from living on Earth whereas Eve and the other robots looking more futuristic.

One thing about this film that I feel is very underrated by many is the acting and character development. There is little to no dialogue in the film with the exception of the captain and humans living on Axiom. Film critic Christy Lemire describes Wall-e as a little old man but has the innocence and wonderment of a child, and Eve as everything he’s not. I liked how the gender stereotypes were reversed with Wall-e being the one interested in intimacy and relationships while Eve ignored him every time; he went out to hold her hand even though the poor little robot went through so much just to protect her. It surprises me how well the characters are developed and likeable compared to those from other animated movies. It reminds me a lot of cartoons like Tom and Jerry and Pink Panther which were almost silent. The animators can be seen more like the stars of this film for making characters like Wall-E and Eve and how they express themselves by their emotions and movements. Like his previous work in Star Wars, Ben Burtt continues to provide unique sound effects such as the cockroach’s chirps and the robot driving around Earth.

Wall-E has shown how humans have become too dependent on technology; people just sit on their chairs and stare at their screens all day. People have every luxury right at their fingertips and yet they’re still bored. Humans are shown more as machine parts rather than people. The citizens of the Axiom are conditioned to believe that their current state is all they can aspire to be. The way humans are portrayed in space makes is easy to believe that this is what the future will be like if we spend more time on our phones instead of focusing on the people around us. While it sounds great at first to have machines control our lives just so we can have all the leisure time we want, you can’t really succeed without any struggle. The humans weren’t enthusiastic about returning to their home planet and they’ve lost interest in their own surroundings. The captain is the only one who knows that returning to earth is a possibility but even he just feels relieved when he believes the trip is cancelled.

It is very rare to find an animated movie that goes above and beyond its capabilities, one that surpasses its previous achievements, and set a new standard for the industry. This is one of those movies. Every element is crafted to be its very best. The story offers top quality content, the animation is some of the finest in CGI. The director, Andrew Stanton does a fantastic job of telling the story visually and capturing the mood. He made sure every character served an important function whether it be to follow orders or to learn how to love despite it being outside of their normal functions. In general, I think this is a great film worth watching on any occasion. 

16 August 2021
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