Flickering Myth’s writing team count down to the UK release of Monsters University by picking their favourite Pixar Movies; next up is Martin Deer with WALL·E….
As the ninth feature film to be released by Pixar, WALL·E had a lot to live up to, and the tiny little robot stands tall and proud. There are so many ways to enjoy this film – from the purely entertainment perspective to a much deeper level with the numerous themes it explores. However, whichever way you cut it,WALL·E is a tremendous piece of film making.
WALL·E is an endlessly enduring character, full of charm and personality. He is both heart warming and inspiring. Whilst WALL·E is alone as he wanders the Earth cleaning up after the rest of us, he’s full of the joys of life, taking pleasure in the many treasures he finds and collects. A beautiful touch is how EVE and WALL·E are so fascinated with a lighter and the flame it produces. As humankind progresses and technology marches forward we really shouldn’t forget how far we’ve come since we were first able to create fire – the simple but essential aspects of life.
The environmental message in WALL·E is strong, as we move through the film and learn of humanity’s destruction of our only home, of our recklessness and apathy towards life itself, consuming every resource we can like a cancer until there is nothing left but a barren wasteland of death, we feel the impact of our ways on our home. WALL-E is so ahead of its time, and the image of the space junk surrounding the Earth (which is already the case and becoming a problem) really shows the environmental impact of our species in the pursuit of “greatness”. The film presents two very likable characters in WALL·E and EVE and both provide great life lessons to all of us no matter our age: clean up and take care of yourself and your environment and preserve and protect life at all costs.
What is WALL·E’s strongest and most important message however is the one of love and friendship. WALL·E is a hoarder, he collects material things that make him happy and keep him entertained – Rubik’s cubes, TV, singing fishes. But WALL·E has an appreciation of it all, there’s no apathy in his desire of these things and he is truly appreciative of them, but with the arrival of another life form on Earth WALL·E falls head over heels in love. From the moment of EVE’s arrival he is befuddled by beauty, and completely enamored by her. The scenes in which WALL·E tries to gain her attention are brutally sweet: in such a short space of time the film has made you care so much about this character that his failed attempts to gain the attention of the object of his attraction are both heartbreaking and hilarious.
Perhaps the sweetest moment in the courtship comes when EVE has shut down having found the plant and powered down awaiting collection. WALL·E doesn’t quite understand what has happened but he stands guard and even shelters her from the rain. A lovely moment occurs when he pries open her arm to hold her hand and it inevitably clamps shut on his. It’s incredibly touching.
Many have found the second half of the film dull, but it is here that it becomes so much stronger as WALL·E and EVE’s relationship blossoms and they affect so much around them, fighting for each other and for us. The scene in space in which WALL·E and EVE dance among the stars is magical. It’s a scene in which the bond between the two is solidified and where mutual affection is born, executed in such a way that it is far more effective than any live action rom-com. And set against the backdrop of stars and nebulae the imagery is breathtaking.
From the moment WALL·E met EVE he wanted nothing than to hold her hand – he risked his own limbs to do so – and after the arrival of our two heroes back on Earth EVE’s attempts to repair WALL·E after the damage sustained on board the spaceship are wrought with tension. It is truly heartbreaking when, having repaired WALL·E and replaced various parts, he doesn’t remember EVE. He’s been rebooted. Memory wiped. As EVE holds out her hand and interlaces her fingers in WALL·E’s in a desperate attempt to gain a reaction, for what feels like an eternity we are utterly distraught with the belief we have lost someone we have come to care for deeply. But then, the glimmer of hope and relief as WALL·E squeezes back and grips her hand. Beautiful. Moving. Film making at its very best.
As the human race marches forward and technology advances we’re losing something – we’re losing that connection to each other. How often do you now find yourself with friends out socialising only for them to be consumed by their phones or another electronic device rather than focused on the people around them? WALL·E reminds us that there is nothing more important nor more majestic than human interaction, than love and friendship – to put the technology aside. WALL·E explores what it means to be human through two robots who stole our hearts.