Wall-E (2008)

“Wall-E” dares to be anything but predictable. It’s quiet, it’s subtle, it’s intelligent, it features barely any dialogue at all, and it asks us to think of a world where garbage has become so cumbersome we’ve been shoved off our planet by our own waste. “Wall-E” is simply a masterpiece. It’s the masterpiece of 2008, and I was in awe at how unbelievable this daring animated film was. Because when you consider how kids eat up talking animals and pop culture references, “Wall-E” was a daring and gutsy move. It dared to be different, and it paid off two fold. I loved “Wall-E,” it was one of the most stunning and incredible pieces of art I’ve seen from Pixar and features one of the most sympathetic heroes since E.T. A mixture of Johnny Five, Artoo Deetoo, and the Little Tramp, Wall-E is a mechanical cleaning robot that was left on Earth when it became so clogged with waste that the humans eventually fled.

Wall-E was never told he could stop cleaning, thus he continued, and continued, and continued. When we first open to “Wall-E” we open up on a wide shot of Earth covered in haze where skyscrapers loom over wastelands. When we pan in and zoom past the land, we see that the skyscrapers are indeed mountains upon mountains of garbage stacked to resemble something of a home by the ever discipline Wall-E who wants to stop his work, but has no idea how. Paired with his pet cockroach, Wall-E cleans up all the waste and collects whatever trinkets and antiques he finds fascinating. He’s a robot who lives in a shell of a ship storing his treasures and re-watching his favorite movie “Hello, Dolly!” every day. Kids with an affinity for surfing penguins will be restless and most likely lethargic by the time the first half hour rolls around to where we see Wall-E happening upon his newest mate, a beautiful robot named Eve.

But for audiences willing to open their minds to the genuine piece of art Pixar has given the sugar soaked audiences of Disney, “Wall-E” is a welcome change of pace, and a masterwork that mixes social commentary, childlike enthusiasm, and a provocative glimpse at a world that once was and just may be. Though it doesn’t preach, the writers do voice the moral loud and clear as the world has been engulfed by waste and dirt, while the humans now live in pure bliss as overfed, obese, lazy, ignorant buffoons who have robots do everything for them, and submit to the influence of the conglomerate Buy N Large who “suggests” to them what to wear, what to eat, and how to live their lives.

They do it because it’s comfortable, and anything beyond pressing buttons is a struggle they’re unwilling to commit to. Thus, the hope for returning to Earth is a sacrifice they’re more than willing to forget. And while they lie around looking in to monitors, the adventurous Wall-E and his infatuation Eve are living their lives better than any of them. The animation is immaculate, which goes without saying. Wall-E is one of the most stripped down characters ever created and yet with every slumped eye, and canned groan of disdain and sadness you feel for him, and you hope he can succeed in his simple task of finding Eve and being with her.

I loved every single moment of “Wall-E” and have to admit to being surprised that this was such an incredible piece of animated filmmaking that reminds me the animation art form is capable of much more than talking animals, and fairy tale characters. It always pleases me when a movie studio can take the animation medium and realize it to its full potential to appeal to all audiences without the crutch of pop culture references and pop soundtracks. Pixar creates one of the best animated movies I’ve ever seen, and prove once again that in film they’re unrivaled.