Friday, December 19, 2008

    What's Wrong with Wall-E


    As the year draws quickly to a close, I thought one 2008 post that was worth revisiting was my review of the film "Wall-E" which generated more responses than any other post in the history of this blog. Needless to say, I had some real problems with this film and when my review here was linked to a national political blog, the comments starting rolling in (mostly from a lot of people who thought I was crazy). I loved the first 40 minutes of the film. It was the rest of the film that I, sadly, found offensive:
    Unfortunately, the second half of the film finds us and Wall-E on a floating ark in space, the home of the human race for the past 700 years while they wait for creation to reclaim itself on their garbage-strewn home planet. While the humans wait for the little white robot Eve (the "dove" in this version of Noah's ark) to find an olive branch and bring it back to the ship to show them the earth is inhabitable again, the people have nothing to do but wait. It is here that the Pixar folks demonstrate an amazing amount of insensitivity in portraying all the humans as shockingly obese "do-nothings" who spend their days laying on hovering lounge chairs, sucking on sugary slurpy drinks while watching TV and being waited on hand-and-foot by robots. As soon as this part of the story began playing out, I immediately wondered how any heavy-set people in the theater must be feeling. Even worse, how might any overweight children in the theater be feeling about this obviously negative portrayal.
    You can read the rest of the review (and subsequent comments) here. And just for the record: I stand by my original critique of the film and I have to imagine that Disney is also concerned about the perceived bigotry in the film. Why do I think this? Well, just as with the ad campaign for the theatrical release, there is no sign of the overweight characters in any of the ads for the DVD version.

    Now, if I could just find a home video copy with only the first half of the movie....

    --Brian

    2 comments:

    mcdaniel clan said...

    isn't that a message against consumerism and over-consumption that we desperately need to hear? maybe it's a bit insensitive, but it's true, right? childhood obesity and type II diabetes are on the rise...

    chad said...

    thought you might want to read what the director had to say...
    Well, what really interested me was the idea of the most human thing in the universe being a machine because it has more interest in finding out what the point of living is than actual people. The greatest commandment Christ gives us is to love, but that's not always our priority. So I came up with this premise that could demonstrate what I was trying to say--that irrational love defeats the world's programming. You've got these two robots that are trying to go above their basest directives, literally their programming, to experience love. -Andrew Stanton [director of Wall-E]





    “With the human characters I wanted to show that our programming is the routines and habits that distract us to the point that we're not really making connections to the people next to us. We're not engaging in relationships, which are the point of living--relationship with God and relationship with other people.” –Andrew Stanton [director of Wall-E]
    “Well, when I started outlining humanity in the story, I asked myself: What if everything you needed to survive--health care, food--was taken care of and you had nothing but a perpetual vacation to fill your time? What if the result of all that convenience was that all your relationships became indirect--nobody's reaching out to each other? A lot of people have suggested that I was making a comment on obesity. But that wasn't it, I was trying to make humanity big babies because there was no reason for them to grow up anymore.”– Andrew Stanton [director of Wall-E]

    .....this conversation is taken from an interview which can be easily found through a google search. I think there was deeper meaning missed.