WALL·E ★★★★★

Over the past few years I have grown to deeply admire the silent era of cinema, a period that lasted from the birth of the medium until the end of the 1920's. When I was younger I made the erroneous assumption that a silent film would equal a boring film, that a lack of verbal dialogue would lead to a disconnect between me and the narrative portrayed, and it simply isn't the case. The genuinely funny slapstick efforts of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. The devastating power that lies in the eyes of Renee Falconetti, on trial for claiming she could speak directly with God. Fritz Lang crafting science fiction ahead of its time, bringing us the brilliant and bizarre performance from Brigitte Helm in front of a surreal, cityscape backdrop.

Silent films brought us characters that spoke to the audience without literally speaking, a feat that shouldn't be taken for granted. Movement, mannerisms, and emotional depth portrayed through a look in the eyes, these were what made up a performance rather than the delivery of words, and when it was done right like some of the examples I mentioned above, it resulted in arresting, overwhelming cinema.

Fast forward to 2008 when the world laid eyes on WALL-E, a film that benefits from all the bells and whistles of modern technology yet inside that glossy, gorgeously animated package is a tender, nuanced film with silent era sensibilities. We hear what amounts to dialogue between WALL-E and EVE, but the literally robotic communication is limited and not what resonates with me. I fell in love with these characters and their story because of the clever, touching and beautifully realized ways they connect on a deep and profound level without being able to explain their thoughts and feels with coherent sentences.

I am not one to bash the recent efforts by Pixar Studios because I have been able to have some fun with even their lesser work. I find the Cars hatred to be rather silly because it's easy to assume creativity and the passion for the art should be first and foremost, but the truth is, Disney loves money and Cars is a massive financial winner for them. It would be a poor decision not to continue to make those films, no matter what critics say or people complain about.

Still though, I haven't felt the true magic of Pixar in years, which is all the more frustrating because we know it is there. Two robots look into each others eyes during WALL-E and say no words, yet I truly feel as if I can see into their souls. Their happiness and their pain, everything they share together has an emotional core and shocking depth to it all that seems unfathomable given the fact that they literally have no heart.

If you think you are too old for animation, you're not. If you think you won't believe in a love between two cute little robot characters, you will.

If you haven't yet seen WALL-E, you should.

Check out this review on my blog, No Blogging for Old Men

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