Just back from a Sunday morning show of WALL-E and I cannot seem to put WALL-E and EVE out of my mind.
Unlike most other marquee Hollywood releases, WALL-E in India is terribly late. The timing of the release could not be worse. The summer vacation in schools is over and bootlegged copies are already doing rounds in the market. In fact, so peeved was I with Disney for being late, that I wanted to deny them that measly revenue which I would have contributed by watching the movie in a theatre. Better judgement prevailed and I was sitting in the front-row seat of a theatre waiting for the movie to begin. I found my petulance melting away even before WALL-E was projected on the screen - thanks largely to the delightful Pixar short ‘Presto’, which preceded it.
The first few minutes of the movie reminded me of ‘I Am Legend’. They brought back that same eerie sense of loneliness at having been left all alone in the ruins of a vibrant, big city that was bustling with people once. And then Pixar’s trademark story-telling begins to weave its magic. Yes, Pixar movies tend to play on somewhat similar themes. The protagonists in Pixar’s animations are usually “once-famous” before they slip into oblivion or are left behind or are separated from the ones they cherish. Then through a series of events they are reunited with their loved ones or are restored to their former glorious days. And yet there is something about the way these themes play out in each movie that keeps the sum-total interesting and fresh.
The thing I found most fascinating about WALL-E is the exploration (perhaps not intended by Pixar) into human communication. The robots themselves are not human, but their creators are - decidedly so. It shows. The robots rarely - if at all - go beyond saying each other’s name. And yet they speak to us and to each other through their “body-language” and tone. EVE has an exasperated “WALL-E”, an excited “WALL-E”, an affectionate “WALL-E” and even a dejected “WALL-E” and despite sounding as if the voice was synthesized by a computer, it conveys a broad spectrum of emotions really well. Of course the context in which “WALL-E” is said helps as well.
EVE was designed by John Ive, the man behind such iconic products as the iPod and there are generous smatterings of Apple-isms in the movie. For instance, upon fully charging, WALL-E emits the same sound that Macs make when they boot-up. Cute, depending on which camp you are in. I found the references funny, even endearing.
In short, I liked WALL-E. Not as much as some of the other Pixar works - like The Incredibles, but enough to want to own a DVD. I was misty-eyed more than once during the movie. No, it was not the wisdom tooth that the dentist so unceremoniously extracted last night.