Into Film Project: 9 – Wall-E

Today I watched Wall-E for World Food Day, which was last Friday. I have seen it before but it is one of those films where I frequently forget what happens. This doesn’t mean that it is a forgettable film, but I think I first watched it at a time when I was just too old for Pixar’s target market but still felt it was a film I should watch, meaning I did not pay enough attention.

On a second watch it is slightly more captivating, although a film that for the most part consists of about 2 words of dialogue repeated by the two protagonists can be quite hard to concentrate on. It is a slow start but gives a fantastic comment on the direction in which modern society is heading, and the future seems pretty bleak. Of course, it is given the Disney treatment so that the subject matter is palatable for the young audience, but as my housemate said “It is another example of Disney tackling complex issues within children’s films”. I’m not going to argue with that, the evolution of technology we see in the film and its consequences is something that could easily happen in centuries time.

It is not the best Pixar film, as you may have gathered from my previous comments, but the character of Wall-E cannot be described as anything less than lovable. His naivety and different outlook is refreshing in a world that follows the crowd and follows orders rather than thinking independently, and his kind nature is heartwarming.

Spoilers begin now. Why the film was chosen for World Food Day is slightly more cryptic. It centres around a rubbish clearing robot and the food based theme only really appears around the middle of the film. It’s not a theme that automatically springs to mind whilst watching, but once you think about it, there’s a lot of sense in linking Wall-E with food. The main problem addressed in the film is that of obesity, with the characters living off processed food in a cup. The whole idea of growing their own plants is completely foreign to everyone, and the captain has almost childlike joy at finding that a seed can grow into all types of food (although pizza trees are not a thing, sorry Captain!) In a small way this film shows the importance of providing the means to grow food to every person on the planet and the massive benefits a seed can bring.

The other predominant theme in the film is the reliance on technology. The residents of the spaceship no longer interact physically with each other, choosing to talk with friends via video calling. They do not walk because they can travel by hoverchair. They have all their food and needs provided by robots. Even the ship is controlled by an auto-pilot, with near catastrophic results when the pilot chooses a different path. John and Mary are the characters that bring the most hope for technology not being the be-all and end-all and their promising romance is a reminder that we need to get away from technology for a bit and really live in the world. I definitely don’t do this enough!

Childlike but not childish, Wall-E tackles serious issues in an understandable way, with a robot protagonist that will steal your heart. Three stars.

The next film is 12 Years A Slave for Anti-Slavery Day today (18th October) but I don’t have it so stay tuned for the next review!

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