About three weeks ago, my son and I set out for a afternoon matinee of WALL-E and our expectations were undoubdtedly high. We love Pixar, well let’s just say we love Pixar up to Cars. I’m not sure what the target audience for Ratatoulie was–maybe foodies with rodent fetishes? I’m just not quite sure. Anyway, I was hoping that WALL-E was going to bring more charm and less smarm than “Rat Stew.” We also live near Pixar so the signs for WALL-E were up here months prior to the release. When it was released, the reviews were glowing, heaping praise upon it’s wit and charm, a sweet satire, love story and loving cautionary tale. Sounded good.Once we settled in, I kept waiting for the movie to take off and display some of the intelligence and verve that has always been a Pixar stock in trade. Now that’s not to say that there weren’t in-jokes and subtle asides like the fact that WALL-E has a cokcroach for a pet and that he and the cockroach are kind of like a cross between I Am Legend and trash compactor on wheels, you see they’re the only ones left on a planet abandoned by humans who had turned it into a trash heap. The humans (probably because there was way too many) had run out of places to dump their garbage, so off to the stars they went and LEFT BEHIND were trash compacting droids that looked suspiciously like R2D2 meets the Huey/Dewey/Louie droids from Silent Running another film about the missuse of resources and eco crisis.
WALL-E dutifully collects and compacts trash and somewhere along the way develops emotions, likes to watch old musicals and longs for companionship. There’s an ominous and dark presence that inhabits the film despite WALL-E’s sweetness and the little in-jokes. Hard questions have no answers like, “how could humans let it get this bad?” and “did the entire planet, the whole 3 bills take to the stars?” None of these questions are answered. Instead, a sleek and deadly fembot named “Eva” lands in search of some elusive object. WALL-E and the roach befriend her, even though WALL-E is basically the Maytag repairman to Eva’s Le Femme Nikita. The two strike up a little robot romance (after Eva puts WALL-E through the paces–of course) and then “Eva” finds what she’s looking for–a small plant that WALL-E has already found and is keeping alive in a dirt filled boot. This is the first and only vegetation that is seen throughout the entire film, until the very end.
Once Eva finds the green stuff, she sticks it in her belly, sends a signal back to her ship and shuts down until it arrives. WALL-E is confused. His new friend has “turned off” and he’s beside himself. Showing true devotion he stays with her during torrential rains and blazing sun. Ok, let’s stop just for a minute before we get too far and review a few facts:
• Earth is a pigstie.
• The humans, all of them, are gone.
• Cute, loveable and meek WALL-E is the only one left, dutifully carrying out his tasks.
• Eva arrives to tug at WALL-E’s heart and find a green lifeform. At this point, there are at least four theme/memes being played out:
1) There has been an Eco crisis of dramatic proportion and as a result, whether by choice or by a simple inability to continue to live on the planet, all humans are gone. This in and of itself is creepy and lends a dark, desolate tone to the first half of the film. On a biblical level, the humans that have ascended are playing out the rapture meme as they get to leave the planet while it gets cleaned up and get to return to a paradise, a veritable, “Garden Of Eden,” which leads me to number two.
2) Eva (Eve) evokes biblical imagery again and instead of ingesting fruit from the tree of life, she embodies the tree itself and keeps it in her synthetic womb until the mother ship bring her back. So what we have here is a childrens movie that borrows from the old and new testament, weaving together genesis and revelation while adding a little “green” coloring to the mix and most importantly, it conveys the message that The Earth is too crowded and the end result is an empty planet.
So what is really going on here? Why is Disney, a major social-engineering project with strong ties to the intelligence community peddling a film about de-population and extreme eco-crisis? Is it because they are simply doing what Disney does best? Implant ideas into the collective sub-conscious? Are we being prepared at some level to accept the idea that more than just a few of uswon’t be around in the not-too-distant future? By using such powerful memes such as revelations, rapture and the green movement, it’s wide ranging and broad net that’s being cast. I haven’t even gotten into the male/female dynamic between Eva and WALL-E.
Eventually a rocket comes to retrieve Eva and WALL-E manages to get catch an imaginative ride through the cosmos to the mother ship where the remaining humans are. They move around on motorized chairs with TV screens in their faces 24/7. They’re all fat and nearly limbless due to the physical de-evolution which occurs in space. Eva’s little “package” is a sign that the humans can return to Earth and re-populate the planet. There is just one, small problem–the artificial intelligence aboard the ship won’t let them do it and the capt. voiced by Jeff Garlin has an epic struggle against a robotic first mate that’s a steering wheel, because of course the machines are running things now and the fat asses just can’t be trusted. But the uber-portly capt eventually saves the day and the humans, with our cute little robot couple, the guy who will always take the trash out, and the ass-kicking, planet saving fembot return to Earth.
Compared to Cars, this is a dreary preachy sermon, with elements of mind control, sourcing biblical symbology, all wrapped up in a cute little tale about robot love.. Now you may say, “It’s just a kids film, lighten up.” I would if said kids film was not a covert attempt to have me embrace concepts like forced depopulation and rapture-like end times.
It seems clear to me that the Disney stamp is firmly affixed on Pixar. Pre-Disney, Pixar made films with “human” messages, even if the messages came in the form of fish, cars, bugs or toys delivering them, they were still very human. In WALL-E the humans are gelatinous blobs and the robots, though filled with heart left me feeling cold.
I have no plans to see WALL-E again anytime soon.