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And Pixar does it yet again.

Pixar Studios still continues to be the best and most artistic makers of computer-animated films, and it is rather hard to maintain that status, what with all the other studios racing to topple them off their pedestal. But after nine films under its belt, Pixar still remains the undisputed leader in quality storytelling.

WALL-E would be a shoo-in for another Academy Award. It pushes its boundaries this time by going into outer space which, after Finding Nemo, Pixar felt it was ready to do. The camera work for the space shots were carefully researched, including the nebulous clouds and the lens flares, and without too much dialogue to hold you down, you can just sit back and let the scenery sink in.

The absence of dialogue, especially for the first part of the film, makes WALL-E transcend language barriers, and just goes to prove that an actor's performance is not gauged by how good he is at accents or voice-changing, but by how well he can convey emotions without even opening his mouth. Then again, Pixar has already been proving this point with their short film tie-ins (this particular film is paired up with the short film Presto, which works wonderfully without any dialogue whatsoever).

The design of the characters is also quite interesting. The robot EVE's design was actually based on the sleek, white design of Apple products like the iPod (it would be interesting to note that Pixar used to be owned by Steve Jobs before it was acquired by Disney). Some critics say that WALL-E's design was based on Johnny 5, the talking robot from the eighties film Short Circuit. But the resemblance is only in the binocular eyes and the tank treads, and it stops there. WALL-E is a complete character on his own, and as soon as you see the film, you'll agree that it would be an insult to state that WALL-E is a Johnny 5 rip-off.

WALL-E's voice was created by Ben Burtt, the genius behind the excellent sound design of the Star Wars prequels, and he also does the voice of several other robots in the film, like the clean-up bot M-O (which stands for Microbe Obliterator). Kathy Najimy and Pixar favorite John Ratzenberger star as Mary and John, two obese humans on board the Axiom. And the Axiom's computer is voiced by Sigourney Weaver, a clear nod to the Alien films.

Again, WALL-E is not just a children's film, but one even adults would enjoy. So I suggest you see it with your special someone, and you'd be holding hands before the film ends. Oh, and before I forget: stay for the closing credits, for a run-through of the history of art.

Rating: Five stars.


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