WALL·EIf by some stretch of the imagination you’re unaware of the new film WALL·E, let me give you a brief breakdown (in director Andrew Stanton’s own words): “It involves science fiction and the musical, Hello, Dolly!” Okay, so there’s much more to it than that, but that sums it up pretty nicely.  The film is about a little robot named WALL·E who’s job is to clean up all the trash left behind on a humanless devastated Earth. One day he meets a shiny new robot named EVE and together the two set out on a mission through space… in short, it’s a fairly simple concept that is already considered by many to be the best Pixar film to date. And the score is just as impressive.

We all know that a film’s score is there to provide an emotional backdrop to the action taking place on screen. With most films there’s also dialogue to give us additional hints and move the story along, but this isn’t the case with WALL·E. In fact, for the first half of the film there’s hardly a word spoken. So, how do we know how to feel emotionally? Luckily, director Andrew Stanton had the foresight to call in the assistance of his Finding Nemo collaborator Thomas Newman. Newman’s score is both the musical background and the dialogue for much of the film as we watch our robotic heroes and their exploits. And he hits all the right notes.

The strings swell at all the right times and the tempo picks up at all the right moments. More than any other score in recent years, the success of the film’s drive depends largely on Thomas Newman’s creation. And he manages to pull it off brilliantly. But he’s not always alone. Peter Gabriel also worked on a few tracks, namely the two romantic pieces “Eve” and “Define Dancing.” Though Newman has been nominated for eight Academy Awards and scored films from American Beauty to Finding Nemo, he maintains that this is the first science fiction film he’s composed for. And this is really a plus, because while the music may have a slight sci-fi feel, it all comes from a very real, dramatic place. The track “Defiine Dancing” is one of the most wonderful pieces I’ve heard in a while, and coupled with the breathtaking visuals from the film, it’s unbeatable. 

The film (and the score) opens with a brief snippet from “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” a track from the aforementioned musical Hello, Dolly (and one that you will be humming to yourself for hours after watching the film or listening to this soundtrack), the soundtrack immediately sets the stage for the whimsical and heart-filled world of WALL·E. Interesting side note: Lionel Newman, the conductor for the 1969 film Hello, Dolly!, is composer Thomas Newman’s uncle. The little snippets from the play, along with Louis Armstrong’s “La Vie En Rose” really help provide additional support for the moving vibe of the score as a whole. Somehow Newman has managed to produce a sound that is at once encapsulated and expansive. Don’t miss this score.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Playing on surround sound while looking up at the stars
Stay Away if: You don’t want to be sidetracked by non-score elements
Buy this on Itunes: “First Date” by Thomas Newman (it’s only 80 seconds long, but it’s a perfect 80 seconds)

To purchase the original score for WALL·E, visit Amazon

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