Watching any new Pixar film is a celebration – rare and worth savouring. Wall-E, the film, is a special kind of celebration. It continues to expand on the strengths of this super performing animation studio’s ability to create perfectly believable, perfectly entertaining and perfectly unique films. Wall-E, the curious, workaholic, tiny robot left on its own in a future Earth run amuck by waste, litter and radiation, has such charm because he is able to emulate familiar and recognizable human traits. Anthropomorphism has always been a Pixar forte, whether they’ve dealt with fish, rats or toy soldiers, but here it is elevated to an art form. Our little protagonist falls in love, chases the girl and even gets to take his socks off (tank wheels actually) after a hard days work collecting and compacting trash.

The entire film is itself a collection of vignettes featuring divine movie moments, like the uplifting space dance between Wall-E and EVE, the short-tempered robot that he develops a crush on, or the caring friendship that exists between Wall-E and a cockroach, undoubtedly, and by scientific aspects accurately, Earth’s only surviving biological creature. The film is also a blend of aspects from the best silent films, those that used minimal dialogue to move a story forward and had us transfixed on purely visual metaphors, as well as the best, classic animations that used the imagination of what could be, to thrust us into something new. Whereas all of Pixar’s previous films have benefited strongly from a stellar voice casting, Wall-E makes the gamble of having almost no dialogue. A risk for Pixar, the premise of the film is an amalgam of two very hard to juggle genres – Science Fiction and Love Story. How this works is that magic X-factor in the formula that makes any film great. It cannot be described, probably only experienced. In Wall-E this experience is both tremendously enthralling and entertaining.

From film to film, Pixar has found newer ways to challenge its animators and creators with ingenious settings that require the recreation of difficult environments or beings – furry creatures in “Monsters Inc”, an underwater world in Finding NemoWall-E is no different. Both the space animation and the early moments on Earth are pristine. Had I walked into the film midway, some of the latter scenes inside a gigantic spaceship would to me seem to be live action, not animation. So tremendously detailed and fleshed out are not just characters but their surroundings too (using foregrounds and backgrounds) that a chase of robots provides the most exciting cinema moment this year. But for all its technical wizardry, the film would be nothing without a formidable story as its soul, and here it has a strong one. What a surprise that an animated film about a solitary, lonely robot on Earth is able to inspire more awe and wonder that a film like I am Legend, essentially the same concept played out in a different setting with humans.

Director Andrew Stanton, in his sophomore effort after the equally ground breaking Finding Nemo, proves he is capable enough to play in the sandbox perfected by the likes of Brad Bird and John Lasseter,  bringing his own unique stamp of humanism with him. Wall-E gave me so much joy because it made me believe in the spirit of films and the impact of good movie-making. It has a message, is eco-friendly, funny, sentimental, sweet but ultimately, so rewarding because it is made with attention, care and the love of people who seem to have conviction in knowing what they are doing. Pixar has now, as it has done with all projects past, undoubtedly raised the bar for films in general and animation in particular to what may seem like unscalable heights. Like a well-oiled machine their efficiency remains unmatched and their track record unparalleled. By the law of diminishing returns, by, now they should have run out of steam, but they haven’t and I’m starting to strongly believe, the won’t. It is without a doubt that their method of craftsmanship will allow them to top even this. For now though, Wall-E should enjoy his deserved limelight.

Rating: ★★★★★

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and wearethemovies.com