Wednesday, July 23, 2008


There's a lot to like in Pixar's WALL·E: echoes of City Lights, E.T., Metropolis, Star Wars, and 2001; several Apple jokes; a doofus CEO (played by Fred Willard) whose advice is to "stay the course" (sound familiar?); the poignant use of an old musical; and a satiric, ominous portrait of a sedentary consumer-culture in which all food comes in cups. I'm very glad that I saw WALL·E, despite my reluctance about seeing "a love story about robots."

What most impressed me in the movie is the expressiveness of WALL·E and EVE. These characters have minimal language and no faces, only heads and eyes (and EVE's eyes have no pupils). Thus feeling resides in tone, gesture, and head and eye movement. In creating these characters, Pixar's animators have worked out a grammar of eloquent emotion.

So go see this love story about robots.

comments: 2

Elaine Fine said...

Come to think of it, the whole movie is kind of like a dance: think of the dance sequence from "the old musical" (I won't give it away to those who haven't seen the movie) and later the captain's request to the computer to "define dancing" while WALL-E and EVE are dancing in the air. The graceful EVE can do it by herself, but the less-than-graceful WALL-E dances with help. The idea of the people being totally without movement or a real sense of touch, who eventually express what is left of their humanity by moving on their own, is very (oh dear--there is no better word) moving.

The idea of expressing deep emotion through gesture is one that (obviously) predates animation, and it is very exciting to see the art of computer-aided animation reach for the very human art of dance to make this film really work.

Michael Leddy said...

Excellent observation, esp. about the people without mobility.

WALL·E does dance by himself early on, when watching "the old musical" (if I remember correctly), but it's a lot more rewarding with a partner.