Monday, June 30, 2008
Obese Abusive White People vs Slim Hardworking Robots - Wall-E
Spoilers of "Wall-E" to follow so read only after you've seen the movie. This weekend I watched the much anticipated Disney/Pixar production, "Wall-E. On the one hand we have a scathing indictment of humans and their wholesale destruction of the planet. I liked this green message, if for anything, after leaving the theater I wanted to ride my bike more.
However, though containing some important cautionary messages such as global warming, consumerism, and dangerous dietary habits of too many Americans, this movie still adheres to the status quo. For instance, only privilege whites could leave toxic Earth. Through 700 years of living on what is equivalent to "the Love Boat" in space, they evolved into big-gulp-sipping, internet addicted, obese humans, unable to even walk. They live day to day in the lounge position and move about by hover chairs. This population rely completely on the labor of "robots" to keep the spaceship functioning. These "robots" (or badly disguised minorities and others on the margins) along with Wall-E from Earth save the day, but they do so only for the establishment (aka humans) to reap the rewards.
In remaining safe, "Wall-E" never quite follows through with its social commentaries. Mixed messages include: humans can destroy the planet but in due time they can return to repeat the cycle of abuse; or flesh and blood humans, because of their good heart, can learn to improve their lot if they just wake up from their virtual stupor; but really, only the hardworking, obedient robots can understand right from wrong and express real emotions.
That said, if you watch "Wall-E" for purely entertainment purposes, it's engaging enough. Animation lives up to Pixar standards.