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DIRECTOR: Andrew Stanton RELEASE DATE: June 27, 2008 RATING (US): G
CAST: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, et al.
// review by Beverley

Wall-E: The robot humans love to love.

WALL-E is a pretty popular movie, so you probably know that it is the story of a little robot left to clean up earth after it has been abandoned by the original stewards, mankind. WALL-E ends up falling in love with a lovely lady vegetation probe-bot and pursues her across the galaxy, only to discover the world of the human beings who abandoned earth so long ago. In the current greenwashing wave this movie fits perfectly into the scene- is it just another corny boy-bot meets girl-bot Disney-Pixar film for kids or does it have any philosophical merit?

The story is really engaging considering the main characters only have a dialogue spanning a couple of words. Their animated expressions and creative sound effects really express their complex range of emotions. They actually make some human actors look quite robotic in comparison (hahaha). The themes are very deep and complex for a kids movie, not only focusing on the obvious environmental theme but also existential themes such as breaking out of the everydayness of human beings avoiding ecological responsibility and awakening to our duty to the environment.

The film raises of lot of questions about the scientific and economic systems we are situated in. You know you really enjoy a science fiction movie when you find yourself working through how the world the movie is situated in even works afterwards. For example, how on earth does one company, "Buy and Large", come to own the entire economy of a planet and still continue selling products? Does everyone work for Buy-and-Large? Wouldn't they just be paying people so they could buy products from them? Isn't that redundant? If the film was going to show the dark side of mega-corporations why would Disney, a ridiculously huge corporation, produce it? More questions cascade out of my head concerning the axiom, the spaceship human beings evacuated the planet with, that is named for some reason after a primary mathematical principle. Where does the population of the axiom get the resources for their food? Is it hydroponics? If there weren't enough resources on the planet to support the population, how did they get the resources to support the entire population in space? ...And the thoughts go on and on.

To me this string of questions must mean one of two things: a)it was a film that missed a lot of important points was kind of lazy or b) it was really believable and engaging. I am thinking the answer is probably the latter. Who knows? Maybe making the audience question our economic and ecological systems was part of the agenda of the movie, in other words, they were trying to say "capitalism doesn't make sense, and there is no way for us to escape our ecological limits." Of course, I could be wrong, maybe it was just a film meant to appeal to a target demographic by towing the standard environmentalist, anti-capitalist line to dupe posers into spending their money on seeing their film. Don't forget to get you free super environmentally friendly tote bags and reduced plastic water bottles on the way out.

Whatever their reason, I really enjoyed watching WALL-E. It might have been a bit cheesy and irrational, but it was a movie that pulled me in with the plot and made me ask questions about environmentalism, and that is more than I can expect from most nights out at the movies.


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