The Found World
"Science fiction typically involves a fantasy tale, often set in space or the future: therefore, everything (and I mean everything) is made up. And almost every member of our cast is a robot. The questions and demands of this world were nearly as infinite as space itself. But the goal was always clear—to make us believe this world already existed and that we, the filmmakers, had just simply found it," recalls director Andrew Stanton.
The Language of Sound
Set in a time and place yet to exist, WALL•E required an entirely original language of sound. Because the film featured few humans and almost no traditional dialogue, every beep or clank would have to mean something. To answer the challenge, the filmmakers turned to the father of modern sound design, legendary Star Wars veteran
The dystopian planet of WALL•E was a blend of the fantastic and familiar. Audiences needed to recognize Earth but also understand how things had gone wrong on such a massive scale. In a short scene that followed WALL•E on his daily routine, the filmmakers wanted to reveal the planet's history in entirely visual terms. Dubbed “The Walk Home,” the segment used 10 of the most complicated sets ever created by Pixar, at the time, to tell a wordless, one-minute story.
Even a robot on a dystopian planet needs a place to call home. At first WALL•E’s truck is enlivened only by a cockroach and a Hello, Dolly! video. The atmosphere changes when EVE comes in. “We wanted it to feel really romantic,” explains Danielle Feinberg, director of photography for lighting. “So he plugs in a cord and turns on the Christmas lights he’s got strung all over and you immediately feel we’re in this nice, cozy intimate interior and this is WALL•E’s date night.“
Every film presents new opportunities for Pixar to interpret and design environments, imaginary or not. Using computers makes the art design choices as limitless as outer space. For WALL•E, the goal was not to reinvent space but to make design choices to enhance the story. The filmmakers wanted to ensure the audiences would be immersed in the story's action so they made a design choice to cheat the stars closer to camera than they would actually be in space so that the stars would move in the frame and allow the viewer to easily perceive the movement
of the characters.
The luxury spaceship Axiom cuts an impressive profile. But unlike the mammoth space vehicles in most science fiction epics, it wasn’t designed to inspire fear or engage in deep space battle. Instead the Pixar team envisioned the last refuge of a consumer culture, a self-contained world built by the Buy n' Large Corporation, loaded with excess and wandering adrift with the remnants of human race.
A colorscript is a sequence of small pastel drawings or paintings used to emphasize color in each scene and establish a
film's visual language.
"I started by separating the two worlds using color. Earth is dusty, high contrast, and monochromatic, to support the idea that WAL•E’s life is drab and never changing. Then as EVE arrives and WALL•E cozies up to her, the colors become a little warmer. When we get to the Axiom it’s all about sterility…the passengers don’t have to think. The colors are more artificial, more planned, more consumer oriented. It’s not gaudy, but there’s a lot more color in Act Two than most people anticipate," explains production designer Ralph Eggleston.