Anthony Carniello’s review published on Letterboxd:
Believe it or not, I only saw Wall-E once in my entire life. It was back in 2008 when it came out. Funny enough, I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it, it was well made, and the first half was a masterpiece. My big problem with the movie was the second half. I thought it was turned into a different movie. It became an environmental film, boring, and it overshadowed the best question in the film. What happened to human life? I wished that they focused more on that first half or made it into a short film. 12 years later, a bunch of my friends freaked out on my thoughts of the film. They told me; how could you say Wall-E is a 5.5/10? There are no excuses, you should give Wall-E a second chance. I’m a person that wants to learn more and does take chances. Maybe there was something about the film that I was missing. I decided to give it another go, and I can’t believe I was wrong about the film. When I reach to the 1-hour mark, I was not bored one second. Why is Wall-E so special? Why is Wall-E one of Pixar’s most controversial movies? Is Wall-E that much of a masterpiece? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with the first half. The first half was flawless as I remember it to be. It was very creative, charming, imaginative, has quiet moments, one of Pixar’s best in years. Everything was told through visual storytelling, not a single word of dialogue. There is no life except for a garbage truck robot. We see what happened to Earth and why was Wall-E build. Every shot, the environment surrounding it, and the questions on what happened to human life was powerful, fresh and new. It felt like you were watching 2001 A Space Odyssey. A film that wins you over through its visuals. You even connect with Wall-E, that little guy is the soul of the entire film. the design is adorable, we feel the situation he must live through every day, and how caring he is. Wall-E even has a personality; we see him feel lonely, want love, even have a thing for a movie.
To discuss that interesting point about Wall-E; this is the very first Pixar film to add in live-action characters and references to their movies. Wall-E has a thing for the movie, Hello, Dolly! and we see actual scenes and sounds from the film played throughout Wall-E’s journey. Fred Willard even has a role and we see the actual real-life actor playing the president. This is a point I would never think Pixar would create. It feels strange, and when you look at the people when it’s animated, they all look the same, very cartoony and have one thing in common. I will get to more specifics about the humans in the next paragraph.
10 mins later we see another character name EVE, a robot Wall-E falls in love with. There the movie finds the story, ok so we are going to get this story about the two robots falling in love? In the first half we did, and they do build a strong relationship. Are we going to see them learning on what happened to life on earth? Well not quite, when we go into the second half, that’s where the movie goes into a different direction. This is the part of Wall-E where people are split on. Wall-E goes into a spaceship and we find where humanity was the whole time. We get tons of references to 2001 A Space Odyssey, and the story becomes this environmental film. Wall-E discovers this plant and they use it to see if Earth is still an Inhabitable planet. Coming back to the humans, we see them fat, lazy and all they want to do is eat, chat, and sleep. They let technology do the work for them. We don’t see mankind suffering; they look fine and they are very likable. It just; what’s the point of having live-action characters if they are going to look the same animated? It felt misplaced to me. The only animated human that kind of has a personality is the Captain played by Jeff Garlin. We see him learning about what Earth was like and wants to learn more. He would even take the risk to help his kind like an actual captain should. One of the best things in the movie is AUTO or H.A.L. 2.O if you want to reference 2001 A Space Odyssey. The design was cool, the voice was creepy, and I enjoyed every moment he was on screen. Re-watching the movie today and he still kicks ass.
Coming back to the plant, that bothered me in the past. I get what they were trying to do, but the lesson was already there. The message was explained at the beginning of the film and they gave us the answers with its visuals. You didn’t need to add in the plant or have this race to see if humans can go back to earth. Adding that in made the film into a basic environmental film. Now to be fair, it wasn’t badly written, it didn’t hurt the movie, they don’t do the men are bad trope, or was hammered down your throats. It was still a good message, it just felt unneeded. However, after re-watching the film and seeing the society we are living in today I think it is something we should keep an eye on. Plus, there was something else I discovered in the second half. There was a scene in the film where the Captain said, “They did nothing, I’ve done nothing.” “I don’t want to survive; I want to live.”
Those two sentences summarize on what humanity should be doing right now. Take Action! Plus, with the technology that they have, we should use them for stuff like this. Even Wall-E himself would risk everything to fix humanity's problems. That’s how much he cares despite the world being messed up as it is. It’s amazing how a film can plan back at its time and not get the attention it deserves. Years have gone by, and it presents itself with the tools on what we need. A real look and the negativity of reality, while also balancing a love story between two robots. I made a PSA video at my school on how we can save the environment a while back and I felt more of the connection with this movie.
It’s time for a change, not for the world, but ourselves. Wall-E surprised me for how powerful it was. It still has problems, but with the atmosphere, moments, animation, first half, two leads and a deeper look at what our world could look like makes it a symbol. Wall-E has always been a passion project for Pixar. If you look deep into Pixar’s library, Wall-E has always been an Easter Egg. The results were a mixed back at first, but after the re-visit makes this a gem worth recommending.
My Rating: 9.5/10