Film & TV

Unconventional: Why WALL-E Will Always Be Pixar’s Crowning Glory

Disney Pixar has brought various magical fantasies into our homes for over twenty years, inventing enchanting creations such as Toy Story, Up and Finding Nemo, yet I am thoroughly convinced WALL-E is their finest work. No other motion picture reaches its majestic level of powerful depth, ambition and most importantly pure wonder. This animation is a ground-breaking milestone that lifts you up high onto waves of irrepressible laughter, ravishing romance and tormenting heartbreak.

Set 700 years into the future, WALL-E (acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is the last remaining conscious existence on Earth (with the exception of a cockroach). He spends his days compressing detritus into cubes from gigantic trash heaps that cover Earth’s horizon. At night, after collecting certain treasures (i.e. Rubik’s cube and trophies) from his scavenging of garbage, he arrives home. Then he removes his treads from his worn wheels and goes into sleep mode. WALL-E completes this routine every single day of his long industrious life.

We feel his utter loneliness, despite himself not feeling it. Why? Because this is all WALL-E has and will ever know. This concept however is shattered when a rocket lands on Earth releasing a sleeker, more advanced robot named EVE; WALL-E has finally something to live for. The beginning 30 minutes of this film is essentially wordless, ironically leaving myself unable to muster a word.

Director and writer Andrew Stanton pays homage to great science fiction epics and comedic flicks by blending the architectural sumptuousness of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and silent delicacy of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid; Stanton recycles cinema’s past and in turn delves deep into its uncertain future. I am unsure which he perfects more poignantly.

My favourite characteristic of Pixar is the resilient morals and beliefs they possess, and how they have always stayed undeniably true to them – one of which is their view of the dark consumerist world that we live in. In Toy Story, the out-of-date toys were presented as soulful repositories of youthful affection reduced to pointless obsolete possessions by more modern models. Moreover, this is depicted with the vintage Lightning McQueen look in Cars. Here Stanton destroys the subtle nature of this theme, pressing an uninhabited, deserted wasteland into our faces, where we are forced to question our idea of a perfect utopia.

The animated marketplace of Disney Pixar, DreamWorks and other studios has recently started to stagnate into unoriginality through its image and innovation; instead of witnessing an unimaginable plot-line blended with flawless animation, we put up with laboured box office grossing sequels such Cars 3 and Shrek 4, however WALL-E will always eclipse this cowardliness due to its total bravery. It doesn’t shy away from long passages without dialogue or position a popular song and meaningless action sequence in order to avert the younger audience becoming impatient; it stays true to its startling and almost misanthropic vision.

WALL-E’s charm, adorableness and fearlessness project his character onto the legendary heroic status of an Indiana Jones or Eddie Nelson. It is rare to observe a film that pulls off the story of a scrawny garbage man getting a lustrous supermodel, but WALL-E and EVE’s chemistry is endowed with such rich humanity that we can’t deny its victory. Great movies leave you with as many questions as answers and in the middle of all this splendour of a supposed children’s film, the ironic question that I continue to ask myself is why do I keep enjoying this masterpiece the older I get?

Sean McGurk

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Media courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

Film & TV

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