2008 in Review: ‘Wall-E’

Every so often, Pixar has found a way to wow audiences in ways we never thought possible. When “Wall-E” was first released, I spent my weekend watching an action flick “Wanted,” because I was in high school and thought a movie about a robot would be boring. However, that was a terrible read, especially given the incredible work that Pixar put on display here. Instead, I missed Andrew Stanton’s masterpiece, and one of the greatest animated films ever made.

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There are few films in the history of animation with more groundbreaking work than “Wall-E.” “Ratatouille,” released just one year earlier, remains one of the most beautiful films in Pixar’s filmography. Yet despite the excellence of that film, the photorealism of “Wall-E” continues to amaze a decade after its release. It was the first time that Pixar’s animation had reached this level, and it would not again until “The Good Dinosaur” in 2015. Yet to discount the film as solely an artistic achievement would be a disservice. Instead, let’s break down the iconic Disney romance.

The Moment I Fell in Love With “Wall-E”

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When the opening moments of the film blast through your speakers, know I was already hooked. The music from the iconic music “Hello, Dolly!” is the perfect soundtrack for this film, although it was not always the case. Specifically, the use of “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” felt innovative and fresh. I had never heard of the musical before, and will never be able to hear it without thinking of space and the great unknown. Wall-E is obsessed with the music, to the point where he becomes a hopeless romantic. Recontextualizing the musical through the prism of a post-apocalyptic world is exciting in its own right. Set against the stars, the music takes on a resounding quality that excites and thrills. “Wall-E” combines two of my favorite things, Space, and Musicals. As soon as they combined the two, I was going to love the film.

Most Rewatchable Moment

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This was a tough call, but it comes down to two moments. The first is when Wall-E discovers Eve for the first time. Eve is exploring, looking for life, and Wall-E is instantly in love. This kicks on “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong, a song I love so much that it was the first song my wife and I danced to at our wedding. This scene is beautiful, funny, and brilliant. There are few films that have moments like this, and as the romantic comedy has passed us by, this feels like the classic rom-com moments we don’t get in film anymore.

Best Moment in the Film

Wall-E 8 Wall-E and Eve floating through space as the Captain defines dancing. As they dance amongst the stars, Eve with her jetpacks, Wall-E with a fire extinguisher, we realize that Eve can love Wall-E. It’s the first time that we see Eve genuinely care for another being, and that she had feeling beyond her objectives. Their dance is visually stunning and combined with Thomas Newman’s marvelous score, it is simply heartwarming. When Wall-E’s extinguisher runs out, Eve gently catches Wall-E, and they return to the ship.

Why You Should Watch It Again

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There are few films in the past decade that one can consider a true romance. Yet “Wall-E” might be the best of them. It is a daring artistic journey that combines a love of classic cinema, a romance on an epic stage, and a sci-fi opera. The blending of so many genres, ideas, and concepts is no easy feat. Yet “Wall-E” pulls it off unlike any film to date. To then visually advance and bend what animation was capable of 2008 only further enhances the brilliance. “Wall-E” should be the first film you discuss whenever you talk about 2008 and will remain a classic for generations.

Thanks for reading our first post celebrating 2008 in film! Expect at least one per day for the next two weeks!

Check out our other retrospectives on 2008 here

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