Pixar has a long track record of success. Their movies almost always get critical acclaim, and always are a financial hit. But many of the movies tend to be a bit overrated. Not that they are bad, but people go crazy about these movies, acting like they are masterpieces. Oddly enough the ones I connect with most, are the ones that do not get that high level of acclaim by the internet. One of those movies that I think deserves more attention, is Wall-E.
Wall-E is a fairly basic story, at least at face value. The basic plot is that the main character falls in love, and follows his crush back to her home to try to win her heart. He ends up getting involved in a quest to save the Earth. What makes it special, is how it is delivered. Our main character is not the most vocal of protagonists. Wall-E is limited to saying only a few words. His name, and the name of the robot he loves Eve. Eve also is limited with her language. So they can not have a dialogue in a way that the audience can understand. But we can pick up on what they are trying to say and do. The dialogue is through the animation. How they move, their actions, etc.
This is why the best part of Wall-E is the first half of the movie when they are the only two characters in the movie. During this part, it is a romance story, just the most adorable romance story that has ever been animated. It represents everything I love about animation. How it can bring life to things we usually do not associate emotion with. How it can be so expressive without spoken word. Wall-E has no mouth, no nose, really no face except for his two eyes, but Pixar still managed to make him the most expressive character they have ever animated.
It is weird because the stories I love tend to be the complex dialogue driven types, but my favorite Pixar movie ends up being the one with the simplest plot and the least amount of dialogue. It is hard to really put into words what makes this movie so special. It is masterfully crafted from an animation standpoint, but it goes deeper than that. There is something deeply heartwarming and genuine about this story. It tugs at the heartstrings, but never feels like it is pandering or exploiting the audience. I can be overly cynical, but even my cold heart was melted by Wall-Es big expressive eyes, and the way he says, Eve.
The second half is not quite as good as the first half, but it is still a ton of fun and has some humorous, if not obvious, social commentary. All the humans becoming too dependent on technology that they become grossly overweight, and cant even move around without assistance from technology seems like it is a bit on the nose as far as satire goes, but in this movie, it works. The whole thing about humans trashing the planet could be preachy in another movie, but they manage to do it without being clumsy or pandering.
Things I would call cheesy in other films, somehow work for me in Wall-E. At the end, when Wall-E loses his memory, and the movie wants you to think that he won’t remember who Eve is, in any other movie I Would say it is a bit lame. We all know whenever movies have these scenes, that everything will work out. But Wall-E is such a sincere movie up until this point, that I am fine with a scene like that being there. It does not feel forced to create drama.
Is it the greatest animated movie? No. I don’t think it can ever touch movies like Fantastic Mr.Fox or The Lion King, but it is a personal favorite. It has tons of charm, tons of heart, and I never once felt bored or unimpressed while watching it. It is my favorite Pixar movie.