After the endless tosh shown on BBC one this festive season, what with all the comedy shows which weren’t funny, the soaps where you just felt like slapping the actors for using that ridiculous, irritating accent (Eastenders) and the same films showing again and again (The Incredibles), they finally showed something with substance and genuine quality, with Wall-E. I’ve used every possible excuse in the book to avoid watching Wall-E. This time I ran out and I’m glad I did because my first opinion of Wall-E was what an unbelievable experience.
What’s it about?
In the distant future, whereby humanity has left-behind a trash-filled earth for a space station, a garbage collecting robot called WALL-E has been left to clean up the mess. WALL-E is alone on Earth with just a pet cockroach and seeks companionship given his fascination with Earth’s history and traces of show tunes. His existence is shaken up however, when the lustrous, polished reconnaissance robot, EVE, arrives on Earth to search for any indication life is sustainable once again on Earth.
The most important thing to know about WALL-E is that it is an exquisitely told story. For a film with such a significant message it is just a simple straightforward story. Yet, the message isn’t thrown at you to make you feel remorse, but told as a mere caution that you are doing wrong to the planet and you should be aware of the consequences of your action. The film touches on several issues including mass consumption, how technology can make us lazy and the risk of corporations brandishing too much control; and the way this message is clearly conveyed, yet steering away from the road of self-indulgence, is one of its biggest pluses.
The technical prowess displayed here is astonishing – both for visual and sound work. In terms of visual it is clear PIXAR have made a lot of effort with the small details from the grime and garbage to dust storms and fire extinguisher froth drifting in outer space. Apparently PIXAR hired seven time Academy Award nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins. Looking back what a shrewd decision it was.
The Sound Is The Story
There is hardly any sound aside from WALL-E and EVE’s gizmo noises and the other robots yet you understand the characters emotions which in essence appear as human emotions. The sounds are the dialect – you understand what they’re saying and more importantly you understand WALL-E’s loneliness and his desperation for companionship. Given the fact that WALL-E talks in just sounds means any culture can appreciate his emotions.
Also, the majority of the first two acts of the movie is consumed by silence with dialogue presented through video clips, robo-blips and out-of-date messages. Yet without any dialogue the story perseveres with a honest goal in sight. It’s interesting to note that the noises generated by WALL-E are on similar par to R2D2 in Star Wars, because the sounds were formulated by the same man, sound designer Ben Burtt.
I believe the biggest facet of the movie is its identifiable soul. Literally the whole revelation of his isolation in the beginning of the movie had my heart sunk and had my hands immediately reaching for the tissues. It’s just pure poetry. How can you feel sorry for a robotic garbage clearer? Just ask PIXAR to show you.
What’s also great about the movie is its utilization of several notable cinematic Sci-fi references, such as Alien, Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Recently I saw Duncan Jones’ Moon which also explored the whole issue of segregation in space. The difference here was that for some unbelievable reason you feel compassion for a small little robot.
In essence Wall-E was a genuine triumph. A heart-warming, charming piece of work looking into how our actions and lack of care for earth can impact the world and also obviously the risks of technology on the human race. The film was an absolute gem, which will be stored deep in the cinematic archive and our souls for a very long time.