Long-established as the leader in creative, endearing and enduring animated features, such as Toy Story (1995) (and its simply marvellous sequels Toy Story 2 (1999) and the truly brilliant Toy Story 3 (2010)), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and Up (2009), Disney Pixar’s offering WALL-E (2008), from Oscar-winning writer-director Andrew Stanton nevertheless ranks as perhaps the studio’s very best, in its tale of the havoc that ensues when boy robot meets girl robot, falls in love and follows her across the galaxy.
“The movie is essentially a love story,” said Stanton at the time. “WALL-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) is the robotic housekeeper we all wish we had, left behind on Earth to clean up humankind’s garbage while mankind took their hols, some 800 years in the future. Unfortunately, that vacation never ended. Little WALL-E builds himself a house, makes friends with an indestructible cockroach, and all seems peachy. Until another robot, EVE (Elissa Knight), makes her entrance – and she’s the most beautiful thing that WALL-E’s ever seen…”
The distinct resemblance between ET and WALL-E (voiced by Ben Burtt, who also did a stand-out job on the sound effects and design for the film) is probably strictly intentional, but Stanton also stated, for the record, that he based the robot’s design on a pair of binoculars that he was playing with at a ball game – indeed, the love-struck ‘droid’s features do consist of two large, surprisingly expressive lenses. And Pixar geeks take note – the Pizza Planet truck, which has had a cameo in every one of the studio’s flicks, makes its Hitchcock-esque appearance in the film’s first 20 minutes. Keep your eyes peeled…
The film hit the jackpot big time, both from financial and critical perspectives. Said the Los Angeles Daily News: “The film’s visions of a ravaged, abandoned future Earth and a mechanized, corporately controlled space ark/pleasure cruiser are stunning, hilarious and hit their pro-green, anti-consumerist points remarkably hard.” The Wall Street Journal’s film critic, meanwhile, raved: “I must drop my inhibitions about dropping the M word – especially since I’ve already used magnificent – and call WALL-E the masterpiece that it is.”
So there you have it – if you haven’t done so already, check out WALL-E, and make sure you leave your rubbish out.