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That’s actually a public domain image of the Curiosity Mars Rover above; don’t want the Disney folk coming down on me like Franco. The real-life machine has always looked for all the world like Wall-E to me.

 

 

There are so many scenes you might pick from Pixar’s poignant, hilarious, sometimes emotionally wrenching masterpiece Wall-E. There’s the early sequence in which a woozy Wall-E wakes up, staggers on to the roof of his container like a sailor with a hangover, recharges via his solar panels (in an homage to Apple, when fully charged he emits the same musical chord that Macs do when you boot them up) and goes about his business. It’s such a joy to watch him sift through the trash for interesting items before he crushes civilization’s endless detritus into tight little cubes. His confusion over which bin best suits a “spork” he gathered up among the day’s haul of curiosities and knick-knacks, all his little treasures impeccably organized by category inside a library of little containers, is at once funny and endearing. Is it a fork? A spoon? Then there’s the shot where he finds a diamond ring in a jewel case, discards the ring, and keeps the case (it opens and closes on a hinge, cool!). I love the moment at nightfall when he wanders out on to the boarding ramp of his little abode and looks up at the stars, plainly in awed contemplation of the infinite. You might pick his enraptured viewing of an old VHS tape of Hello Dolly that he’s somehow rigged to play, sitting there, mesmerized by the love song It Only Takes a Moment, and obviously so terribly lonely that it breaks your heart.

My own favourite, linked above, is the scene that follows Wall-E’s apparent destruction, when he blasts back towards his sweetie, the robot EVE (obviously an Apple product), and turns out to have saved not only himself, but also the movie’s McGuffin, the precious plant the retrieval of which is EVE’s sole design function.

EVE is ecstatic. What follows is a glorious, graceful sort of minuet among the stars, as EVE and Wall-E soar to the accompaniment of Thomas Newman’s brilliant score. It’s a moment of pure romance and elation, while we in the audience watch rapt, and believe absolutely that two machines could fall in love.

There’s a final grace note when Wall-E’s propellant runs out, and he floats gently towards EVE. She gathers him in, cradles him like a baby, and says “home”. That’s where she means to take him, and nestled in her pristine angelic arms, that’s where Wall-E feels he is already.

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