Western Animation: WALL•E
After 700 years of doing what he was built for, he'll discover what he was meant for.WALL•E
's 9th film, is a Science Fiction
In 2105, humans abandon the now-inhospitable Earth
so it can be cleaned up by a small army of "Waste Allocation Load Lifter
" robots (WALL•E — the E stands for Earth) whilst they enjoy a five-year vacation cruise in space. The plan doesn't really work; seven centuries later, the last of those robots to still be running — the WALL•E in the title — is still collecting junk and living with his pet cockroach. One day, WALL•E is going about his business as usual when a spaceship drops off a much more modern robot. Her name is EVE, and WALL•E is smitten at first sight. When the ship comes back and picks her up, he stows away. The return trip brings him back to the remnants of humanity, and that's when things get really
Known for its excellent CGI
and sound design, the film hearkens back to the silent film days of yore, with no dialogue for the first forty minutes of the movie.note
For information about the DVD
, check the Pixar Shorts
WALL•E provides examples of the following tropes:
- Acme Products:
- BnL makes everything humanity uses (and makes it to last, apparently). A BnL logo appears after the Disney/Pixar logos in the ending credits, hinting that the film could very well be one of their products as well.
- North, the direction, is a brand of theirs. They call it "Directional Marketing." Has the Carmen Sandiego company been absorbed so they can actually do that?
- Action Girl: EVE doesn't like things getting in her way. When in doubt, she will shoot it. With the plasma gun built into her arm.
- Advert Overloaded Future: BnL adverts are everywhere, from the screens on the dead Earth to the nurseries on the Axiom. And, as mentioned above, they own and license north (as in, the cardinal direction). There also appears to be an ad in what looks to be Hadley Plain, the site of Apollo 15's landing.
- After the End
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
- AUTO. See The Computer Is Your Friend, below.
- The robots in the repair ward, however... most of them are crazy and some are violent.
- Actually played straight with WALL•E and the various robots he recruits to his cause: They save the day because they are not operating as intended, while AUTO ends up as the villain because he is operating as intended. Tropes Are Flexible.
- All Animals Are Dogs: A cockroach is made adorable. WALL•E even commands it to sit in one scene. It doesn't work. Though he does it a second time and it DOES work. For the rest of the film.
- All There in the Manual:
- A significant amount of the backstory is provided by the Onion-esque Buy n Large website.
- A little more information is covered on the DVD. For example, Buy n Large started out as two companies. The BUY part sold frozen yogurts. The LARGE part sold Tall and Large clothing. They combined forces after realizing eating one made you need to buy the other.
- One of the Flash games created to go with the film mentions that the cockroach is named Hal Roach.
- Also Sprach Zarathustra: See Theme Music Power-Up.
- Alternate Robot Affection
- Amusing Injuries: WALL•E during the first half of the movie, up until AUTO almost kills him, twice.
- Anti-Mutiny: AUTO does just this.
- Apocalypse How: Subverted in one sense, played straight in another. Earth appears to be barren at the start of the film, but in reality, the humans simply left the planet. Class 1, though the evacuation of humans makes it a technical Class 4.
- Apocalyptic Log: Override Directive A113.
- Arc Symbol: The plant.
- Arc Words: "Directive."
- The Ark: The Axiom and all the other ships that left Earth. Although they're pretty depressing Arks.
- Arm Cannon: EVE
- Artificial Gravity: It's mentioned that the Axiom's artificial gravity is weaker than the Earth's, which caused the humans to lose bone mass (the excessive blubber, though, was obviously the result of them lounging on flying couches for 7 centuries while drinking liquid fast food).
- Art Shift: The credits use this trope, showing a series of vignettes in progressively more recent artistic styles, going from cave paintings and hieroglyphics to straight-up imitations of Seurat and Van Gogh. This is to show how humans relearned the skills they had lost on the Axiom, such as artistry. And then? It goes to not-quite 8-bit sprites.
- Astronomic Zoom: Out there, there's a world outside of Yonkers...
- Babies Ever After: John and Mary.
- Bedlam House: The robot repair ward seems to be a more lighthearted version of this.
- Berserk Button: M-O: Foreign Contaminant!
- Beta Couple: John and Mary.
- Big Bad: AUTO
- The Big Board: With Sigourney Weaver's voice.
- Big Good: Captain McCrea
- Big Fat Future: All of the passengers of the Axiom are obese. This is explained by the differences in gravity from the cruise ship and earth. Plus people being lazy.
The Captain: We have a jogging track?
- Big "NO!":
- EVE gets one of these when WALL•E gets a shock to the circuits from AUTO.
- And again later when WALL•E gets crushed beneath the Holo-Detector.
- Also when WALL•E accidentally fires her Arm Cannon in the repair ward.
- AUTO has one in the midst of his Villainous Breakdown as he's deploying huge waves of Steward bots to try and stop EVE and WALL•E from reaching the holo-detector.. It's not max volume or very long (it's a rather terse utterance), but it is the first time AUTO has a non-monotone, exclamatory tone of voice.
- AUTO gets one more in the fading variety when the Captain "relieves him of duty".
- Blithe Spirit: WALL•E, albeit inadvertently, towards all the other robots and humanity itself.
- Butt Monkey:
- M-O, unintentionally caused by WALL•E.
- WALL•E himself could count as well, as he gets blasted at, crashed into, broken, and tossed into walls regularly.
- BURN-E. He's just trying to do his job and fix the ship, but the events of the film keep causing chaos for him.
- Came Back Wrong: WALL•E after being repaired. He gets better.
- Character Development:
- EVE learns to embrace her "defects" by the end of the film. While she had sentience at the beginning, she was forced to keep it hidden because of her directive. Her voice also evolves into something more feminine and emotional when it was originally robotic and distant. There's a very interesting interpretation of her emotional development on a forum dedicated to the movie. Also, upon planetfall she is somewhat trigger-happy, blasting anything with her Arm Cannon if it offers the slightest sign of threat to herself. By the end of the movie she uses it only to help or defend others.
- Even a minor encounter with WALL•E seems to cause this in everyone. John and Mary break out of their normal routines and discover each other after meeting him once each, the Captain starts the Wiki Walk that leads to his determination to return home after scanning some dirt WALL•E got on his hand, M-O stops following his designated lit up paths on the ground in frustration so he can clean up the mess WALL•E leaves behind, and even a robot receptionist starts enthusiastically waving to people after witnessing WALL•E do it once. See Blithe Spirit, above.
- Chatty Hairdresser: Any of the PR-Ts (beautician robot), even if the person they're working on isn't saying anything.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The plant, the tape, the parts replacement/cannibalization, the lighter, the fire extinguisher, heck, even the lawn gnomes, somewhat. Andrew Stanton even talks about the concept of this trope, without naming it, during the DVD Commentary.
- The Axiom's docking port, which WALL•E rolls past at the very beginning and onto which the Axiom lands at the very end. Stanton quotes Chekhov directly in the commentary when mentioning it.
- Also, WALL•E's little hand gesture.
- When AUTO makes his first appearance and scans EVE, A113 appears over his eye. Additionally, WALL•E uses a laser to cut open a wall and find the plant. He later uses this laser to break free in the Repair Ward. For one more, when the Captain is waking up, he accidentally hits WALL•E instead of his alarm clock, and it starts playing music from Hello Dolly. He later hears the same song while watching EVE's video footage of Earth, and this starts a short chain of events that motivates him to return to Earth.
- FOREIGN CONTAMINANT. At first, it causes M-O much consternation as WALL•E leaves a trail of it throughout the Axiom. But in the end, it allows M-O to instantly spot the plant, a proverbial needle in a haystack, amongst the commotion near the end of the movie.
- Also subverted, in that WALL•E never ends up using the wedding ring box. (Which seems like an obvious way to go for a romance.)
- At the beginning of the movie, before we've really gotten a feel for how developed WALL•E has become, he makes an innocuous distinction when deciding whether to place a spork with his collection of spoons or forks; he ends up placing it in between both. Computers are incapable of recognizing anything between a distinct On/Off parameter (that's how they're coded), so WALL•E comprehending a state in between two options demonstrates how he's advanced beyond his programming.
- CAUTION: ROGUE ROBOTS.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- Not only are Shelby Forthright and AUTO both shown in the ad for the Axiom cruise, but so are most of the bots WALL•E winds up meeting in the repair ward.
- There's also M-O, who at first seems like comic relief, but stops WALL•E and EVE from getting thrown out the garbage airlock, and recovers the plant later.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- WALL•E using a fire extinguisher to jet-propel himself.
- Also, WALL•E swapping his worn-out treads with newer ones, showing he doesn't have a problem scavenging for parts to repair himself with. First referenced when he was knocked into the wall by EVE, which transfers the skill to her, so she can bring it up later on her own.
- Not to mention the electric power of EVE's kiss is demonstrated in the space dancing sequence.
- M-O's ability to identify "foreign contaminants" lets him find the plant easily in a crowd of people.
- The laser between WALL•E's eyes. He first uses it to open the abandoned fridge that holds the plant, then later to break out of his cell when EVE is in the repair ward, and once again to free the malfunctioned massage bot who then takes it out on all those service bots.
- Coat Cape: The Captain wears his coat like this, presumably because he's too out of shape to wear it normally.
- The Collector of the Strange: WALL•E keeps a wide assortment of random trinkets that catch his fancy. The items he collects don't seem to have any particular theme, other than having some quality about them that caught his attention beyond the regular garbage.
- The Computer Is Your Friend: AUTO, the autopilot program. He started out as an assistant to the captain, but as time has gone on (and on), he's slowly gained more and more control over the Axiom. As for his attempt to stop the re-colonization of Earth, it's not so much that AUTO is crazy or evil. He is merely following the last order he received (to keep humanity forever "safe" in space, rather than return them to a more-polluted-than-anyone-believed Earth) to the letter.
- Computer Voice: The filmmakers deliberately sought out Sigourney Weaver to voice the Axiom's computer as a Shout-Out to Alien.
- Context-Sensitive Button : The amount of damage EVE's Arm Cannon does varies, mostly in inverse proportion to the distance of the target. In one scene, she fires at an electromagnet holding her, which only deactivates it, then immediately fires at the ship below, causing an enormous explosion. Not hard to figure an energy weapon could be turned up or down depending on desired boom size.
- Convection Schmonvection: Well, technically "no radiant heat". WALL•E has no problem on the outside of a ship while it's buzzing the sun. In fact, he just takes the opportunity to charge his solar-cells pretty much instantly. He apparently was able to endure very high temperatures, as evidenced when EVE's ship lands on top of him.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The BnL CEO, especially once it's revealed that he ordered all the autopilots to never return to Earth, and to never tell anyone about said order. Earth was completely uninhabitable, and he had no reason to believe that it would ever be able to support life again. Forthright didn't even have to make a secret conspiracy of it, but he did anyway, to keep the Muggles placated.
- Crapsaccharine World: The Axiom. The humans seem to lead a cheerful and carefree life, albeit an incredibly confused and often boring one, but the utter disregard for responsibility on the part of the humans and the history regarding Earth's decay and the plans behind the Axiom is depressing.
- Crapsack World: Earth, though thanks to WALL•E and his ilk it's become a crap-cube world.
- Creative Closing Credits: The credits start with a series of vignettes depicting the Axiom's passengers readjusting to Earth life represented by evolving art styles (cave paintings -> Egyptian -> Greek -> mosaic -> Da Vinci-style sketches -> Monet-style Impressionism -> Pointillism -> Van Gogh-style), then shifts to various scenes of the characters running around with faux 8-bit video game graphics.
- Creepy Monotone: AUTO, who speaks using the old MacInTALK "Ralph" voice. While M-O also has a monotone voice to announce the presence of "Foreign Contaminants", he primarily communicates with cute beeps and hums, as do the other nice robots.
"A" is for Axiom, your home sweet home. "B" is for Buy n Large, your very best friend...
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The captain and, more subtly, WALL•E.
- Cue the Sun: Literally aboard the Axiom: when the captain awakens somewhere around afternoon, he rewinds everything — including the simulated sun — back to morning so he can give his morning speech.
- Cute Machines: The title character as well as most of the other robots in this movie.
- Cyber Cyclops: Yet another thing that makes AUTO an Expy for the HAL 9000...