Did I mention how much I love a good kid’s movie?
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Wall-E is a robot designed to clean up the trash that has covered all of Earth and forced humans to flee to space in the distant future. But he’s the only one left, and after centuries of trash-collecting, he’s developed a quirky personality–and a sense of loneliness. One day he meets another robot: a cool, sleek-looking probe named EVE. Wall-E falls in love, but EVE is too busy doing her job to notice him. So he follows her back to the starship she came from, and meets humans for the first time. But while their robots have been gaining personality and free will, the humans have been losing theirs aboard a luxury ship where technology does everything for them. Wall-E just wants to hold hands with EVE, but his arrival immediately starts to shake things up for humans and their automated controllers.
“I don’t want to survive! I want to live!”
Why I Love It:
Well, let’s start with the looks: Wall-E contains some of the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen, perfectly capturing an abandoned future Earth and the empty luxury of the starship Axiom. It’s the same draw that all post-apocalyptic movies have–those ruined-yet-familiar buildings, the silence, the sense of isolation. For the first half of the movie, there is minimal dialogue (most of the robots can only speak a few words), but we still get a great sense of who Wall-E is: endlessly curious about the trinkets he collects, resourceful, fun-loving, and lonely for a companion like the one he sees in the fragments of Hello, Dolly that he watches in an especially poignant scene. Oh, and I should mention that all the music is gorgeous.
This is a Disney movie, so the robots are cute and there are lots of funny moments (I especially like the scenes where Wall-E completely misinterprets the intended uses of his trash).
But it also gets into some deep, dark philosophical territory as the film goes on. Since people have made the Earth unlivable by piling up too much junk, it would be easy to interpret this story simply as an environmental message, but it’s actually about much more than that. The real reason humans haven’t gone back to Earth is that they’ve become too lazy to find out if they can. Everything in their lives is fake: the weather, the food, and even their relationships. They’re so busy staring at screens propped up on their bellies that they never look up to see the real stars or the real people around them. The point of any dystopia is to show how bad the future could be if we continue on a certain trajectory in the present. In that sense, Wall-E is a true masterpiece of dystopia. I’m not too worried that we’ll cover the Earth in piles of trash in the future (at least not if recycling continues to be as popular as it is now), but with the abundance of mindless digital entertainment available these days, I do worry that we might someday end up looking like this:
In this movie, the robots are far more human than the humans. Wall-E and EVE are wonderful characters, and their love story is very touching, especially in contrast to the ugliness of the human world. This movie is a good reminder of what makes life truly worth living: not toys or technology or a comfy lifestyle, but relationships.
It’s actually not a bad pick for Valentine’s Day. Namarie!