I am constantly amazed at how often good films turn out to be just that, good but not great. It is, in many ways, like kissing your sister. No matter how good a kisser your sister may be, she is still your sister, and there is always something missing. With movies, that missing element isn’t caused by a lack of blood relation, it is caused by that special something that gives every great film a lasting quality that make you want to revisit them time and time again. It is that quality that seems to elude many studios each year, with the exception of one: Pixar.
Watching a film made by Pixar, anything from Toy Story to Finding Nemo to Ratatouille, has always been a delightful experience for me. It is an experience that delivers sensations that are, for the most part, unlike anything else I will experience in a movie theater during the entire rest of the year. In discovering a new film from this seemingly infinitely creative team of storytellers, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of warmth, as if I were man first discovering fire, or more simply, falling in love. Yeah… it’s like that.
So you can imagine the feelings that were rushing over me as I discovered WALL-E, a character destined to win over the hearts and minds of anyone brave enough to stand in his path, a character that just might be Pixar’s crowning achievement. We meet WALL-E on Earth, where he is the last remaining robot working to clean up the planet 700 years after the human race has long blasted off into space, where they will wait until Earth’s atmosphere is once again suitable for organic life. The only problem is that WALL-E has developed something very special, a personality — now instead of being a mindless worker, he has become a curious being and above all, a hopeless romantic. Then one day, out of no where, a probe droid named EVE arrives to look for life on Earth — what she finds there is WALL-E, and together they find an adventure unlike anything you could ever imagine.
Now I know that it sounds corny and rather childish in nature, all romanticized and enhanced by my predisposition for liking anything that comes out of Pixar, but believe me when I tell you that WALL-E is the real deal. Director Andrew Stanton and his team of wunderkinds at Pixar have once again delivered a story that resonates with all ages, cultures and creeds. They have delivered a character whose personality and warmth could prove to be timeless. And above all, they have once again delivered an animated film that is simply beautiful.
The only possible hang-up that one could possibly have about a movie like this is that it is a message movie — it tells of an Earth overrun by pollution, commercialism and apathy toward the care of our world. It also tells the story of humanity, a society that ran off into space and became fat, lazy blobs, mere remnants of their ancestors who lived on Earth. Yeah, it’s a message movie, but what kids film isn’t a message movie to some degree? With WALL-E, the storytellers tread carefully, sure to never use the message in a heavy-handed way. As well, for those of us who enjoy living on planet Earth and would like to have that discussion with future generations, WALL-E offers us the opportunity to do by showing kids the world’s problems through the doughy eyes of a damn cute little robot.
Alright, I promise that is the last time that I will use the word “cute” in this review — you get the point. WALL-E is another in the long line of fantastic achievements from Pixar, a studio that continues to find original, creative ways to entertain people of all ages. Whether or not he will be their greatest achievement is as much to be seen as it is in the eye of the beholder — but for me, at least until their next film comes out, I am once again in love.