We took the girls to see WALL-E the other day. Pixar does a fantastic job of creating good movies that happen to be child appropriate, as opposed to the typical “let’s string together a bunch of fart jokes and some animals – voila, a children’s movie” offering from other studios. I think that WALL-E is the pinnacle of Pixar know how.
The visual display is simply stunning – you quickly forget that these robots don’t actually exist. In addition, there is no dialogue for the first 30 minutes – none, zip, zero. The story is so beautifully told that words would detract from the message. You know exactly what is going on and who everyone is without one word. Incredible!
If you haven’t seen the movie and are planning to, please stop reading now – I’m about to go all Spoiler Alert on you…

Seriously, this is a Spoiler Alert…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Okay, several themes from the movie:

Good Science Fiction. I love classic sci-fi (Heinlein, Asimov, Niven, Hubbard) stories that could be true and don’t require total suspension of belief. WALL-E measures up. You see a world that could be ours in a few decades (full of trash in a runaway consumeristic society), a logical solution to the dilemna (ship everyone off the planet and let the robots clean it up), and absolutely believable outcomes (the effects of 700 years of space travel on human beings and the need to return to Earth when it can sustain life again).

Noah’s Ark. EVE, the Apple Macish looking robot, plays the role of the dove looking for the olive branch. Her “directive” is to find sustainable life and bring it back to the starship so the crew can plan to return home.

Love. Hard to believe that a movie about robots would have such a strong romantic theme. WALL-E has been watching Hello Dolly for hundreds of years and when he meets EVE, he realizes that she is what he has been waiting for. To him, love is holding hands and he seeks that reassurance every step along the way. He devotes himself to her completely and risks his life to help her accomplish her “directive”. He sacrifices himself so that she may succeed, and his sacrifice is repaid when she restores him to life. Soccer Mom was bawling like a baby at this point – tears of joy when WALL-E recognizes EVE again.

Change. WALL-E helps those around him change. Not for his sake, but for their own sake. Robots that have followed a lighted trail for hundreds of years learn that they could still be productive and contribute to society without blindly following others. People that he jolts out of the self absorbed world they live in realize that there is much more to life than the screen in front of their face (I wonder if the girls got this…). EVE risks her life to bring WALL-E back to life. WALL-E doesn’t ask nor expect others to change – his attitude and perseverance make this happen.

If you only watch one movie this year, go for WALL-E!

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