Edge

Pixar could score big with unconventional character

Take an unconventional idea and drop it in a conventional movie. That’s the concept behind Pixar’s latest feature film, Wall-E, about the last robot on Earth after humankind has abandoned it.

What kind of risk is Pixar taking? For starters, the protagonist Wall-E does not speak – in a conventional sense – nor does he have any facial features. And director Andrew Stanton, speaking during a conference call, said he is hoping it will be more fun for audiences to guess what Wall-E is thinking throughout the movie, rather than having him explicitly expressing himself.

The concept for Wall-E first swam around Stanton’s head as he was writing Finding Nemo, which won him the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003. Wall-E was a long time in the making though, because Stanton felt that he “needed a few hits under his belt” before he could sell the idea to producers. Because Wall-E speaks his own language, much like R2-D2, Stanton felt the project was riskier.

“That’s just enough of a radical idea for a conventional movie,” Stanton said.

As the last robot on Earth, Wall-E passes his days cleaning in isolation. This makes loneliness and questioning one’s existence the premise behind Wall-E. This may seem like weighty material for a children’s movie, but Pixar claims to not even create its films for children, necessarily.

“We never think about who our audience is,” Stanton said. “We sort of assume it’s going to be anybody.”

This artistic freedom seems to have worked well for Pixar in the past, as many of its films have received awards and nominations, allowing the creators to make unique and meaningful animated films.

Wall-E seems like it will live up to that lofty standard of success for a Pixar movie, in its own quirky way. What’s not to love about a pile of moving metal and bolts, right? The creators of the robot took a risk with the character, as they designed Wall-E to be “a machine first, and a character second,” Stanton said.

Stanton expects people will project personalities and human characteristics onto the robot as they do with pets. Even without facial expressions or language, from the trailer, Wall-E looks every bit as cute and empathic a character as any of Pixar’s talking fish, toys or rats.

Almost every year, Pixar releases an animated feature, and almost every year that film becomes an instant classic. Wall-E looks like a promising addition to the company’s impressive list of films.

Stanton doesn’t deny the pressure of having to live up to the expected success and quality, but he says that they’re used to it.

“It’s almost like a sports season,” Stanton said. “You just get out there and try to play a good game.”

From the looks of it, the release of Wall-E this summer could be another big win for both Pixar and audiences.

Carla Tabag can be contacted at c.tabag@umiami.edu.

April 3, 2008

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Part four of a five-part series on UM’s defense with the start of fall camp a month away: Cornerback ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Political polarization, distrust in fact-based knowledge and verbal targeting may be fueling the ons ...

University of Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara announced the additions of K ...

Three-time CSCAA Honorable Mention All-American diver Wally Layland and two-time ITA All-American te ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Thursday the signing of two more ...

University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt was among the 20 coaches selected to the preseaso ...

Miami opens the Wooden Legacy against La Salle on Thanksgiving Day in Fullerton, Calif. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.