WALL*E and Apple: A Match Made in Heaven



I had the great fortune to attend an early screening of WALL*E, Pixar’s latest feature film, on Tuesday night. And, like just about every Pixar movie ever, it’s absolutely phenomenal. As much as I love Apple, I have to admit that the output of Steve’s other company is a lot more consistently excellent. Even more wonderfully, WALL*E is filled with references to Apple. It’s a fun bonus in an already great film.

Lots of people have remarked that Apple Design Chief Jonathan Ive was involved in designing EVE, the sleek, white, glossy robot that WALL*E falls in love with. As much as she resembles an older iPod, however, the cleverest thing about EVE is that she appears to have no seams in her surface, though they appear when she lifts her arms. There’s even one scene (pictured) where WALL*E tries to find her hand while it’s in locked position, and he struggles to find the gaps — an obvious reference to the notoriously difficult-to-open iPod or iPhone.
But the Apple references run deeper. Every morning, WALL*E opens up a solar array in order to charge himself up for the workday to come. Hilariously, as soon as he reaches 100 percent power, the classic Mac booting chime goes off. And it’s definitely the older sound — it’s quite tinny. I’d bet they taped it off of a Quadra rather than a current Mac.

One last Apple reference: WALL*E’s favorite way to unwind is to watch an old VHS tape of the Barbra Streisand movie Hello Dolly (it’s OK; it is actually totally weird, if in a sweet way). But that tape then plays through a circa 2006 video iPod, which WALL*E then magnifies with an enormous lens into a projection screen.

WALL*E: Come for the love, stay for the Apple in-jokes. What could be better than that?

Pictures via About.com


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26 responses to “WALL*E and Apple: A Match Made in Heaven”

  1. bob says:

    And the voice of Auto is listed as Macintalk

  2. Jim Thompson says:

    Took my family to see Wall*E this afternoon, and happened to notice that MacinTalk actually gets a voice credit for Auto, the Axiom’s steering-wheel-shaped autopilot.

  3. Cameron says:

    Also (SPOILERS HERE!):

    WALL•E’s circuit board is BLUE. Like, Logic Board Blue.

    I don’t know, maybe that’s reading too much into it, but It still struck me as a little odd (all the other boards shown in the film are green).

  4. C Rolls says:

    Here’s two more:

    The space theme for Leopard is really similar to the space images in Wall-E (IE: the bright pinkish/purplish celestial clouds).

    “Also Sparch Zarathustra” by Strauss is also featured in the movie (it was in Apple’s 1984 commercial).

  5. Neil Anderson says:

    Awesome — I love inside jokes. :)

  6. Dave says:

    Don’t forget about Auto’s voice, played ably by Macintalk

  7. Todd Gunther says:

    Several people have mentioned that “Macintalk” is listed as the voice of Auto — if you’d like to hear Auto in Leopard, you can use the voice “Bad News.”
    Also, in the scene where Eve and WallE are sent down the garbage chute, the first scene has some “mice” scattering — and the mice certainly appear to be styled like the Mighty Mouse.

  8. lonbud says:

    I’m not certain what the intended demographic for the movie is, but I can report that my 8 year-old son just walked in the door after having seen Wall•E on a field trip with his day camp buddies today.

    I asked him how it was and he said, “horrible.”

    Surprised, I asked “how come?” And he replied, “because it was totally boring.”

    “What made it boring?”

    “Nothing fun or exciting happened.”

  9. simon says:

    Come’on. Loads more than that.

    The hand on red octagonal background on the security bots screen when they’re told to “Stop!” – straight from Mac System 6 / 7.

    Startup chime is Mac II, Quadra is a bit longer and more fancy. Any Mac II owner will confirm. I still have them all as ‘snd ‘ resources from my old Macs.

    Original Apple keyboard in the trash at the start, I still have one of these too.

  10. simon says:

    I take it back, the startup chime is from a Quadra, maybe a Quadra AV, not Mac II. Very similar to a PowerPC, but the PPC chime is a bit richer.

    And the white hand is on a square red background, when the bots chasing them command “Halt!” (not “Stop!” that I said earlier).

    Looks like a Mac II extended keyboard. Two keyboards are visible when Eve is bouncing around in Wall-E’s home. One is unrecognisable, but the one bihind has the Power button top right.

  11. Spenser says:

    Yes indeed, Auto is voiced by the voice “Bad News” from Macintalk.

    However all “Bad News” does for me is sing. I don’t want a singing Auto! Any one know how to get it to “not sing”?

    The “Bad News” voice from Leapord should be the same as the one I’m using on Mac OS 9. Unless the Leapord version doesn’t sing….

  12. Spenser says:

    I just tried out “Ralph” voice and it is identical to “Bad News” The only difference is that “Ralph” doesn’t sing. Or at least I was able to make Ralph sound like “Bad News” by changing its modulation with “Tex-Edit” Unlike SimpleText or the Speech control panel, Tex-Edit allows me to change the modulation, and Pitch. so with a tiny tweak (modulation is the only differance between the two voices, except the singing of coarse)

    “Bad News” had a modulation of 0, while “Ralph” had a modulation of 50. The pitch were the same, and according to my ears, they are the same voice. Except that Ralph doesn’t sing.

    So if you want your own version of Auto, choose Ralph, and use Tex-Edit for text to speech (since Tex-Edit gives you more voice edit options)! SimpleText doesn’t even let you change the speed of the voice, so I don’t recommend this for text to speech, especially if you want your own Auto.

    More then likaly most of you are using more “modern” MacOS’s, so it may be possible the Leaperd version of the Speech control panel may let you change pitch and modulation (or even more settings?). But I only have MacOS 9, so thats all I have for referance. Not sure what the Leapord version of Ralph sounds like, but I would suspect it would be the same.

  13. kohlcass says:

    What about the “TADAA” at the end of Wall-E’s dance for Eve?
    I thought that referenced the TADAA at the end of the Apple Puzzle in Macintosh LC II.