And that was authentic, human romance. Between 2 robots. How on earth did they do it? By taking their time. By investing us in the character of WALL-E for the first 45 minutes, a fairly quiet, dialogue-free time where we could really become invested, and actually captivated by this...little machine, and how he goes about his lonely, but purposeful daily existence. He is carving out his world, performing his proscribed task with diligence, but surrounds himself as well with his idiosyncratically chosen creature comforts and his touches of magic: the choices of the objects he brings into his little house: the fairy lights, the toys, the talismans, the fragment of movie he watches over and over.
And there is the supremely inspired and devilishly quirky choice of music on the soundtrack: a throwaway tune from the Hello Dolly soundtrack, but one that fit so perfectly, conveyed so much joy and romance and optimism, it was perfect.
The early portion of the film has the compelling quality of watching a silent film - there's nothing else to distract except the inner and outer workings of this purposeful, determined, yet charming character, we get to know him so well. Having been fully drawn into the life of the robot, WALL-E, the arrival of the flashy robot EVA, the film can really take off, because we really feel we know this little guy. We want him to find a way out of his loneliness: to be happy, to "go out and get his picture took" like the song says.
While the quiet first half of the movie was richer than the busier, fuller segment on the spaceship, overall the film was completely compelling and uplifting. Just the usual Pixar magic, but in this case it was magical and soulful - heartbreaking at times. And yes, with WALL-E's love story with EVA the robot, more true and heartfelt romance in its little finger than Sex in the City had in 4 sets of its Manolo-squished toes.