For a film that has no dialogue for the first forty minutes of the film, Wall-E does an impeccable job of conveying two clear and important messages. Wall-E, the titled main character, is a robot that remains on earth cleaning up waste, while the humans cruise throughout outer space in luxury. Set around the year 2800, the remaining humans have grown accustomed to living in space and no little to nothing about the wasteland of a planet their ancestors left behind 700 years ago. In an attempt to stay in the company of an explorer robot (EVE) that he has become acquainted with, Wall-E stows away on a rocket that is set to return to the luxurious spaceship carrying the humans. A discovery by EVE begins a series of events that take herself, Wall-E, and their outcast friends on a journey that decides the future of humanity. The message that the film portrays to kids is that friendship and teamwork are tools used to succeed at any task. As for the underlying and more serious message, it may be that only older children and adults will see its blatancy. It warns against the reliance on technology, over consumption, and the deterioration of our planet. According to Giannetti, this would fall under the leftist agenda. Watching this movie as an adult, I cannot help but notice the obvious message that Pixar presents about the possible future of humanity. It overtakes the more innocent message about friendship and teamwork and can almost be considered leftist propaganda.
Throughout the film, Wall-E befriends anyone and everyone that he meets. His friendship with EVE leads him on a journey to space where he meets more robots and has his first human interaction. Putting himself first, he helps EVE track down an important item and takes it to where it needs to be, although he has now ulterior motive other than the desire to help a friend. He sacrifices his metal body near the end of the film to keep open the slot where the all-important item needs to go (pictured below). Wall-E suffers severe damage to his body and needs major repairs following this incident. No one asked him to do what he did, but he risked his life for a cause that did not benefit him. A character like Wall-E shows children that selflessness is a valuable quality.
However, it is not just Wall-E that does all the heavy lifting to save the day. The captain of the ship as well as the robots who did not function properly all played a vital role. A scene that sticks out is when all the robots and people relay the important item across the deck to EVE who slots it in the opening Wall-E kept accessible by sacrificing himself. The clip is featured below and is a prime example of teamwork. Pixar shows kids that you cannot do everything yourself; sometimes you need your friends to help you out.
(Long, but a great example of teamwork)
As a kid, it is hard to look past all these other messages to see the serious underlying message that speaks to our flawed society. Now that I am older, however, it is hard not to notice these stern messages and they even overtake the others. The beginning of the movie depicts Earth as a toxic land full of waste, uninhabitable by any living thing. Only one company is shown the entire time (Buy-N-Large), and they seem to have a monopoly on every sector. The most obvious message to our society has to be the fact that every single human on the spaceship appears to be severely overweight and it is implied that they have not walked for possibly their entire lives. These strong messages make me wonder if the producers had more than one agenda for this film. Breitbart TV asserts that Wall-E was “a 90-minute lecture on the dangers of over consumption, big corporations, and the destruction of the environment.” It is hard for me to disagree, because even though the storyline deals mostly with a robot trying to help his female companion, a majority of the scenes contain underlying hints toward these leftist views. The images below show how blatant the leftist agenda appears within the film.
Because I am now critiquing this film as an informed adult who is more aware of the underlying themes and message of a movie, I must say that the message warning humans about going down a dangerous path is much stronger than any of the other lighter ones.
I believe that Pixar did an amazing job of producing a feel-good movie that kids thoroughly enjoy, while still conveying a serious message to its older audience. I am giving it a full 5 stars.