Chaplin, Lubitsch, Hitchcock, Godard, Spielberg. For cinephiles, these names instantly recall a lasting and powerful artistic sensibility, a meeting of form and function so influential the footprints of their work transcends film as a medium. The Pixar Animation Studios, a visionary force of artists who have been responsible for countless cinematic wonders over the past decade, belong in this esteemed company. Pixar’s latest animated film WALL•E, about a soulful robot compacting endless mounds of trash on a desolate, human-less Earth, may be their most hopeful and touching achievement yet. The first forty minutes of the film play out like a great silent comedy (as already noted by every worthy film critic), but Earth’s stark landscape of trash heaps and discarded waste makes for an astounding contrast in tones when juxtaposed with the lovely dance of instinct and compassion between WALL•E and EVE. WALL•E seamlessly explores the contrast between want of consumption and the need for emotional contact, a crucial thematic dichotomy in our current artificially intelligent age. By now, Pixar’s skill at constructing stories for children and adults alike has become a worthy and economically successful calling card. But their Lubitsch Touch, their essential artistic element is the consistent realization of humanity everywhere outside the human self, within toys, bugs, fish, rats, and now A.I. beings. WALL•E relishes the beauty within the simplest of experiences, like the touch of a hand, the smell of a flower, or sound of water splashing beneath your feet, graceful moments which seemingly have grown out of style in a world desperately desiring images and feelings not their own. WALL•E, in all it’s wonder, shows the joy in seeking an existence beyond selfishness, consumption, and ego, and the reward of choosing life over mere survival.