Animation. Cutesy romantic plot line. Futuristic setting. Feel-good ending- this movie is set up as something entertaining for the kids to watch, but ends up being just as engaging for every age. Then again, as a movie produced by Disney & Pixar, that’s about par. Yet the message is rather unique for their style of movies; instead of focusing on anthropomorphic animals and friendly human companions, or kids off on an adventure, or the major plot point centering around love and family, this film focuses on something else entirely.
There’s not much dialogue in WALL-E, and it was originally planned to have next to none. This makes sense when you consider that the movie centers around non-speaking robots who communicate largely on noises, movement, expressions, and perhaps a few “words” that rely on intonation instead of conversation or sentence pattern. But it’s the human subplot that really stops to make you think. Humanity as a whole are the villains at the movie’s start, as they’ve littered so much on Earth that there’s no space or resources left to live on, and now subside in a spaceship where they no longer need to walk thanks to technology and have all become obese and trapped behind screens due to their lifestyles. Now i’m not dissing technology (I can only write and publish this article thanks to modern miracles such as wifi), but to become so dependent upon it as to physically atrophy and to no longer even walk by oneself is quite the situation. And the humans in this movie use technology as an escape- deserting Earth without really knowing if or when it will be inhabitable again, and living in ignorant bliss- sound familiar at all?
Amongst robot antics, the movie ends on a happy note, with humanity reconnecting with nature and with each other sans technology and sand disregard for their home; but on a realistic scale, the happy end wouldn’t hasten to arrive. It may not be our future, or even our kids’ future, but we are headed down a path not dissimilar to that portrayed for humanity in the movie. The sooner we take action, the less of an inevitability this path becomes and the better of a chance we have to preserve what little nature we have left, instead of losing it all entirely. But that’s more my musings than the movie; Pixar keeps things colorful and optimistic, and I love this film for the sense of hope it instills even in the face of such a self-made future.
Check out Vox’s piece along the same lines for more thoughts on the movie’s message!
By Danica Bergmann