Movie Review: Wall-E ( 2008 )
Wall·E ( 2008 )
Can Pixar do any wrong? Sure, not all their movies have been smash it out of the park huge, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a terrible Pixar movie. These guys get it. They’re not just pumping out movies because the market demands kids movies several times a year. Pixar are creating movies that are for people of all ages. My wife and I went to see Wall·E at the movies last week with no guilt or shame. We weren’t too adults sneaking into a kids movie. We were two adults enjoying a movie that was appropriate for all ages. Even better that it had a cute robot in it.
Mankind have left the planet Earth. After years of treating the planet as something to be used rather than protected, all that is left is an arid world full of rubbish. And Wall·E. Mankind left the planet on massive space arks, awaiting the time when the Wall·E robots have cleaned up all the mess and it is safe to come home. But something has gone wrong. The humans never came back and there is now only one Wall·E robot left. And he’s developed a personality.
Each day, Wall·E goes out and does his job. He goes about cleaning the rubbish left behind. Every now and then, an interesting piece of junk grabs his attention. He has furnished his “house” with all kinds of trinkets. He spends his nights watching musicals on his iPod. He longs for the fellowship and love that he sees in these movies. Then EVE arrives.
EVE is the sleek, white iMac to Wall·E’s clunky, boxy Apple IIe. And it’s love at first sight. At least for Wall·E. What follows is a frantic adventure as Wall·E follows EVE back to the human ark Axiom. The humans have got fat and lazy as they await their return to Earth. But the arrival of Wall·E sets off a chain of events that release the humans from their complacency and return them to Earth.
Wall·E is a love story. Wall·E is in love with EVE and pursues her, doing what he can to get her attention and get her to reply in kind. But it is also a story about consumerism.
Buy N Large is the face of consumer culture in Wall·E. Their logo is everywhere. It could easily be Coke or Samsung or Ford or any big company. Mankind have surrendered themselves to consumerism. All they do is consume. They take and take. They strip the Earth of all its resources. The Earth is covered in left behind junk. Even the Earth’s atmosphere is clutered with space debris. All of these things that we don’t need has left the Earth a toxic mess.
So mankind head to the stars. If they just leave the planet for a few years, all the problems can be fixed. However, things have gone to far for that. And what’s worse, mankind have not learnt from any of this. The one thing they take with them is consumerism. They have not made the connection that their consumerism has caused their problems. So aboard the Axiom, we have a ship full of people who spend their days indulging. Nobody walks any more because they have floating lounge chairs. No one talks face to face because they are constantly connected through video phones. They have surrounded themselves with information and material possesions that they no longer notice the world around them. They eat food in a cup and change the colour of their clothes instantly based on advertising. They are prisoners to their consumerism and they don’t even know it.
The humans begin to realise, thanks to the inadvertant actions of Wall·E, that there is a life beyond what they have known. That there is a planet out there waiting for them. And that they have to actually work for it and do something to get it. They have to move beyond their reliance on technology etc and determine for themselves what they want.
It’s sobering to think of how reliant we are on consumerism. How much we think we need, when really it’s what we want. Do I really need my internet connection, my computer, my car, my DVD collection? Do I put my desire for these things ahead of my desire for God? I think sometimes the answer is yes. No matter how much I justify these purchases, at the heart of it I’m really doing it for me.
The other problem with consumerism, which Wall·E points out, is that it has an impact on our planet. We were put in charge of this world. We were given the task of looking after it (Genesis 1:26). Are we doing a good job if we get to the stage where we have to jump ship for a few hundred years? This planet is a gift to us from God. It is our responsibility to look after it. As Christians, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to this issue, but instead consider how we can be good stewards of this world as we await the new creation.