More important, though, is – Can a robot ever love me…eh, I mean…a human, in return??
Pixar have a gloriously wealthy back-catalogue of computer-animated films from their approx. 20 year existence. We’ve been entertained by the antics of Woody and Buzz, marvelled at the detailed softness of Sully, been charmed by Nemo and that little turtle surfer dude, appreciated the smartness of The Incredibles. Their shorts are pretty great too.
But never, until now, have we (…I) so truly, madly and deeply, completely and utterly fallen in love. I heart WALL-E.
Yes, dear reader; what could harshly be described as the bastard child of ET and Johnny 5, has been rendered by Pixar into something more real, more adorable, more human, more lovable than any robot has any right to be.
Plot details have been kept a relative secret to date, but according to director Andrew Stanton (The Incredibles), “there’s this little robot left on earth and someone forgot to turn him off”. This robot is WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth class) and he has spent 600 years cleaning up the accumulated rubbish left on the planet, all humans having departed to space stations many centuries ago.
WALL-E’s day to day existence is interrupted by the arrival of EVE, a probe robot. EVE is a Mercedes to WALL-E’s tractor, according to Stanton, and WALL-E is suitably smitten. When EVE returns to one of the space stations, WALL-E follows her across the galaxy and ends up on a cruise ship called Axiom. Stanton says, “it’s one of the lone cruise ships that had left hundred’s of years ago. Humanity’s still alive, yet the whole soul of life seems to be missing. WALL-E manages to give humanity a re-boot”.
As for the casting, there have only been a few confirmed. Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) will voice the space station captain. In an interview with Moviehole (since removed from their website at the request of Pixar), Garlin stated that he is “the only animated character that speaks” (further indication of its almost-silent film intentions). Fred Williard is cast as a character called Shelby Forthright, who is purported to be the CEO of the Buy N Large Corporation, who are responsible for the over-pollution of Earth. Beyond that, we can only assume that Pixar’s lucky mascot, John Ratzenberger, will have part to play somewhere too.
(As an aside, what’s a big film release these days without some form of additional online marketing – check out www.buynlarge.com, the website for this fictitious company, where you can read about the likes of their “vaccubot” SALL-E!)
Sold yet? No plot synopsis could possibly do justice to how darned appealing this character and film looks. Early reports indicate that the first part of WALL-E is largely dialogue free, which has me thinking that this ambitious project could be Pixar’s Fantasia. A lack of dialogue, however, is clearly no obstacle to WALL-E being a rounded, delightful character, full of expression and personality.
This looks likely to be a stunning piece of work from a confident, ambitious studio who are on top of their game and consistently provide quality films. Pixar look to be continuing their trend towards films with even more for adults than children and for that, my own private love affair with Wall-E aside, I salute them.
(Okay, one final picture, then I’m done, I swear!)