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Comic for: December 24th, 2007 - Click Here for more Info!
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"Wall-e"

Comic Type: Guest Strip | Posted: Monday December 24th, 2007 by Woody - [ Size: 600x450 ]
>>>WARNING<<<

Herein lie some spoilers. You are fairly warned.

I honestly didn’t know what to think when I sat down waiting for Wall-E to start. I saw most of the previews, and chuckled at the sight gags and assumed it would be another yarn much like Ratatouille, Cars, and Toy Story; much mirth and jokes, and a message for the kids to take home.

The opening scene told me immediately that this would not be another “typical” Pixar production. Wall-E begins in the not too distant future, where Earth has had some sort of disaster, but we find out later it’s an environmental disaster; and left the world inhabitable by human life. The planet is dirty, dingy, and depressing, with a landscape of a dead city partially buried in trash…with not a living person, plant or animal to be seen.

The movie goes on to portray Wall-E as a robot who’s spent decades shuffling around a landscape of trash and junk, cleaning up the remains left by a big-box-shopping culture and turning them into neat little cubes that he then stacks into futuristic obelisks of waste. The movie underscores the point that there is no end of work for him to do. In one scene, you see him repairing himself with the remains of other Wall-E’s; but the eerie silent opening makes it very clear that humans had left the planet long ago.

Wall-E gives an unalterably bleak vision of the future that humans are a frighteningly wasteful lot with plenty in common with those of us watching the film. In my mind, you could not simply ignore the film’s backdrop of devastation and waste. To me it’s clear that the Earth was destroyed by over consumption, assisted by the consumer industrial / big box store propaganda, where people comply by obtaining as much junk food and unnecessary purchases as humanly possible. Too much stuff for too many people who don’t need that stuff…which results in ecosystem-shattering levels of pollution and garbage; Earth is killed by shopping.

I wish I could say that the Pixar’s accusatory finger stops there…but it doesn’t. The movie continues to unfold and we discover that the human race had blasted off the earth, in some gigantic space ark, and now live like gigantic blobs that are shuttled around on hover recliners; all while transfixed to private holographic screens and slurping down big gulp sized drinks; obvious to anything around them. Far removed are these spacers from Captain Kirk and his ilk; instead we are treated to passive bloats that are slow, fat and stupid; and don’t seem to be aware of anything or anyone around them. This is a sad commentary by Pixar on the future of Humanity.

Yet in all of that the movie still manages to produce a love story between the two robots; which only exists because of the dystopian vision that surrounds them. The two are inseparable, which is as it should be. The setting, characters, and plot mesh together well into a cohesive storytelling mechanism; and Pixar has always seemed to perform well in this aspect. But I found as the love story unfolded between the two robots, it was defaced with the film’s quite loud and damning indictment of consumerism.

The all too obvious message in Wall-E is humans wasting the resources of this planet, which gets a bit preachy; and I think takes away from the movie. It’s hard to get emotionally involved in a story when I am constantly being reminded that I am a wasteful, flabby human.

I was amused by Wall-E and Eve but I had a difficult time identifying with the two robots; after all, they are robots and I am a human. Overall, I think that kids will enjoy much of Wall-E but may get tired in the middle, and I think I could probably say the same for most adults. There is no doubt that it is a finely crafted Pixar production, but will probably not become a popular favorite for kids. In my mind, a movie about a bleak future is not the stuff of happily ever after fairy tales; and has little that children can related to…and even less that adults want to associate with.

Beyond the sledge-hammer message that the movie delivers, is the glimmer of irony. I predict that before too long we will see shelves and store windows filled with plastic Wall-E and EVE toys…destined for some future landfill; which makes Pixar no better then the slothful wasteful humans they portray in the movie.

In my mind, the movie earns Three Stars, Four Stars if you can learn to ignore the "Stop Destroying the Earth" message.

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