I took my girls to see WALL•E yesterday. The movie lives up to Pixar’s reputation. I quite enjoyed it. It’s amazing the amount of expression—of deeply felt emotion—communicated with so very little dialog. It’s no surprise that Ben Burtt, who, with Kenny Baker, brought R2-D2 to life in the Star Wars films, also gave voice to our new little robot who could.
Also of interest from a design perspective is the fact that Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior VP of Industrial Design, consulted on the design of WALL•E’s love, Eve. The movie’s director, Andrew Stanton, was quoted by Fortune:
“I wanted Eve to be high-end technology—no expense spared—and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design.”
Eve certainly does resemble Apple’s products, from the smooth, curvaceous, white surface, to the softly pulsing lights underneath. She isn’t the only reference to Apple. We get a quick glimpse of a video iPod in WALL•E’s truck, and the sound confirming a full power charge of his batteries is the familiar start-up chime from our dear old Mac. Of course, this is Steve’s other company we’re talking about.
Finally, I thought the end credits were sheer genius. SPOILER ALERT! The end of the film finds the human race returning to Earth uneducated and lazy, but determined to start fresh. The credit sequence, then, begins in the style of Egyptian art as the people begin the process of learning how to sustain and advance their civilization. The visual style quickly progresses through the movements of art history, touching on impressionism, pointilism, and others before finally ending in the pixelated artwork of early video games.