Yufang and I just got back home from seeing Pixar’s latest animated film, Wall-E, at the single screen Highland Theatre in Akron, Ohio. It’s everything but a “silly cartoon.” I have to tell you–Wall-E is TERRIFIC Science Fiction, and GREAT filmmaking!
I’ve seen every film by Pixar except for the Toy Story series, and I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve seen thus far. However, Wall-E surpasses all of their previous work through a well-thought out story, amazing cinematography, good examples of real-world physics, and the interweaving of American consumer culture with capitalistic-paternalism and eco-disaster. The most striking element of the film goes back to Leo Marx’s work, The Machine in the Garden, but I believe Wall-E is emblematic of how Marx is wrong. Marx’s thesis is that American literature imagines an idyllic garden which has been lost and is reattainable through the embrace of technology, but the lost Edenic pastoral is gone forever, and technological progress pushes us further away from it. The characters of Wall-E and his girlfriend, Eve, show humanity the way toward regaining what we’ve lost through two key scenes (one in the film, and the other during the end credits). The earlier scene has Eve take Wall-E’s plant offering into what is best described as a womb. There, the plant is safe until returned to the corporate robot controlled Axiom starship (accepted/unquestioned truth, wow, what a perfect name!). Wall-E and Eve keep the plant safe, and reawaken obese humanity’s connection with (mother) Earth. Then, during the end credits, there are developing scenes in a variety of stylzied animations covering cave paintings to Egyptian heiroglyphics to Impressionism. In these scenes, the garden is recreated by the cooperation of humanity with its autonomous robotic creations.
Wall-E is a really fun movie for all ages, and I guarantee that you’ll be as enchanted as I was by this amazing Science Fiction allegory!
Watch some clips and trailers for Wall-E here.