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  • Shaikha Al Thani

WALL - E, an analysis.

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

The prompt of this blog post was to pick out a Pixar character and analyze why exactly said character is successful. Although there was a great deal of back and forth between popular Pixar characters, from Mike Wazowski to Woody, I ended up settling on Pixar's most lovable robot: Wall - E. Wall - E is the titular character from the 2008 animated film, Wall E. In spite of the fact that this is mainly driven by personal opinion, I find that Wall - E is an exceptional example of how well designed and animated characters can bring forth a very memorable viewing experience that lasts with the audience long after the credits roll. Without further ado, here are a few reasons why and how Wall - E is a brilliant example of extraordinary character appeal.

I will first explore the technical elements of his character makeup before venturing into the little narrative details which contribute to Wall - E's overall appeal.

  • A Delightful Physique.

Wall - E is, for the better part, short and stocky. This makes him appear unimposing in stature which automatically sets him as far from the archetypal villain in animations (which are more often than not, tall and thin). At the same time, it also makes him look somewhat physically inadequate for great adventure. (I mean, look at his arms. The joints are towards the back of his body/ box - there isn't much he can do with them) Almost as if this physically limited robot needed to be sheltered and safeguarded. This garners sympathy in the viewers and makes him appear very lovable.

  • An Expressive Face.

Not unlike the effect created by Wall - E's short and stocky build, his face, or what constitutes a face, is one of the major elements in his character that feed into his appeal. Essentially, Wall - E's face is comprised of only eyes (cameras?). One would think that this very limited collection of features would mean that expressions are difficult to translate through to the character. Far from it, Wall - E's eyes are the most expressive aspect of his whole character. In place of other facial features, including eyebrows, Wall - E is animated in a way that his eyes rotate with emotion. Whether it is to move each eye out of sync to almost mimic the effect of readjusting spectacles or the virtual melting of them when they droop in a pupply like manner.

The sheer size of his eyes only serve to exaggerate this effect.

The following examines Wall - E's human traits which adds to his character appeal.

  • Companionship (pet).

The fact that Wall - E has a pet, albeit one as unorthodox as a cockroach, brings

him one step closer to appearing human. Furthermore making him relatable to the viewers. His companionship with his pet cockroach is explored through the care and compassion that is shared. All of which are amicable traits that makes him an appealing character.

  • Desire for Connection.

This is perhaps the most salient element that works in Wall - E's favor when it comes to his character appeal. After all it is the instigator in the films plot. The need to form connections is a very human one. Pairing something as inhuman as a robot with such a human trait not only makes him relatable but also garners empathy in the viewers.

  • Hoarder.

Initially, I didn't know what to make of this but the more I thought about it the more I felt it was a smart ploy in making Wall - E relatable (to a certain degree). That's not to say that to be human is to be a hoarder. But it does say that to be sentimental is to be human (or as close as it gets for robots). It also paints as imperfect - and who doesn't love an imperfect character.

Although there are so much more to why Wall - E is such an appealing character than what was mentioned in this blog, this is the tip of the iceberg. Nonetheless - the following clip is a good example to show the previously mentioned points. Namely Wall - E's desire for human connection, his sentimentally and his character design.

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