Undoubtedly the web will be flooded with Wall-E reviews tonight, and those would be a good starting place for learning about the flick. If you haven’t seen it (do!), this has no spoilers.
One of the most notable things about Wall-E is that it’s a children’s story set in a post-apocalyptic world, with extremely heavy anti-corporate, anti-consumerism messaging (though artfully enough done that it doesn’t feel heavy handed), done by one of the largest corporate entities in the world (Disney). You spend the first 10 (brilliant) minutes of the movie watching a cute robot in an absolutely horrific landscape, with massive piles of trash and toxic storms, where the only living things are a cockroach and a single plant (that grows because it’s encased in a refrigerator? radiation?).
You often see children’s movies pander to the parents by squeaking in a political nod or some softball message, but at the very core of Wall-E is human fuckup on an utterly massive scale, and they do not spare you from it. There was a Matrix-like quality about what was left of humanity, except contrary to the Matrix, there was no purpose to their existence. They powered nothing, and they did not even dream they led meaningful lives.
This domain used to be the playground of cutting-edge political satirists and artists and so it is amazing (read: disconcerting) to see it come from something like Disney (some might argue that Pixar is a different ball of wax, but this surely is going out with Disney oversight).
The Walmart digs were overt and powerful, as was the commentary on our obese, fast-food culture. Either corporate America has so thoroughly adopted the language of their critics as a means of self-empowerment, or someone at Pixar is doing some very daring, very impressive work. I can only hope the latter.
Now, to follow-through on the superb messaging of the movie please, Disney, abstain from selling us this crap.
I suppose I can take some hope in that they’re not yet selling plastic cubes of fake junk, junk in the shape that Wall-E crushes. That would really hurt my brain.