Wall – E (2008)

Directed by Andrew Stanton
Written by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docker and Jim Reardon
(number 276)

When I first watched this movie not long after it had come out I was overwhelmed with sadness. I found it almost unbearably bleak – a future where there aren’t humans left because there’s literally too much garbage around, there’s a sole clean up robot still working who is acutely aware of his own loneliness and then when we finally see the humans they have become complacent consumers of whatever they’re told to consume without thinking at all.

It’s a horribly dark future! I find that really upsetting! And I still don’t really endorse this as a nice movie, because it’s so very bleak. Then EVE comes down to scan for life and for Wall-E it’s love at first sight, he follows her around, gazing at her as she flies and we’re encouraged to feel the same way he does. When EVE first gets a sign of Wall-E her first response is to blast at the source of the noise with her cannon.

The magic of this film is the way it makes you care for robots with minimal facial expressions and very limited dialogue. It uses familiar tropes to get audience buy in – the love sick boy, the fish out of water who doesn’t understand the world and has to be shown things, the humour that comes from the differences in their technologies and their jobs (directives). Because it’s impossible not to feel for Wall-E which is a pretty huge success for Pixar.

The people on the ship are fed constant adverts which are unsubtle in their message ‘EAT! SHOP! LIVE!’ which is all very predictable/Society going downhill/evolution of intrusive adverts in our everyday lives … it seems like it’s a possible outcome but I honestly don’t think things will ever be allowed to get that bad. There’s a line which advertisers are always pushing and I think there’s always points where people push back, or install ad blockers 🙂

Wall-E, much like the character in an anime (Tohru Honda) changes people’s lives by meeting them. Having caused a man to fall off his hover chair, he helps him up and introduces himself. Then he breaks into a woman’s communication and she gasps at loud because it’s the first time in who knows how long she’s looked past her personal screen. She even comments ‘I didn’t know we had a pool’, a sentiment repeated later when the captain is seeing previously classified videos. ‘I didn’t know we had a running track. He opens people’s eyes… and makes them start to question their way of life.

There are some cute sci fi references, with Sigourney Weaver as the voice of the ship’s computer and the 2001 music playing when the Captain takes his first steps to the evil autopilot having a red glowing light for an ‘eye’ like Hal. I’m sure there are more hat tips in there that I didn’t pick as well.

Does it make me love the people? It does, which is why the movie hurts so much to be honest. It makes me love humanity, and despair for the future that’s shown in the film. I feel I have too sensitive a soul for this film, maybe.

Bechdel test: No, the only two named female characters are Eve and Mary but they never speak to each other.

Best line:
Teacher Robot: A is for Axiom, your home sweet home. B is for Buy N Large, your very best friend.

State of Mind: Yeah… I think I don’t like this movie much. It still hits me emotionally in the ‘abandonment’ and ‘dark depressing future’ triggers, the horror is apparently quite high for me, and I can’t ignore the dark elements even though there are cute bits and a promising ending with the humans excited to rebuild their lives on Earth.

Watched movie count


3 thoughts on “Wall – E (2008)

  1. You’re quite right, it is a depressing future, but I also agree that, I doubt we will let things get to that degree. It is feasible, especially the dependence on technology bit, however.
    The thing of note about this movie is that the first 20-30 min is almost completely visual, without any dialogue at all. There’s a bit of backstory, but other than that, nothing. And yet they still manage to make you fall in love with the characters as you say!
    I like, but see why you don’t.

    • I disagree on the no dialogue thing. Wall-E makes a lot of sounds and just because they’re not English it doesn’t mean it’s not dialogue when he speaks to EVE. I think you mean no human dialogue? Wall-E vocalises to the cockroach and then quite extensively to EVE about her directive.

    • I loved Wall-E’s vocalizing and was unsurprised to see that Ben Burtt is responsible for them – he also did the sound design for the Star Wars movies, so R2D2’s bleep-bloops are his work as well.

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