All about the Themes
Wall-E was definitely a Pixar quality film. I learned never to doubt Pixar no matter how peculiar or odd the trailers may be. I once questioned how good a movie could be about a talking fish. I was immediately blown away by Finding Nemo. In the same way, when I saw the trailer for some animated super hero movie I thought, could they really pull this off? It was incredible (that’s right i said it). So when a movie about talking cars came out I said, forget it I trust Pixar, it’ll be great. It was. When Wall-E’s trailer first came out about some small robot that barely talks.. I was game. As expected of Pixar, the story was well written, the CG animation was truly amazing especially in the way they humanize these robots, but what made this film special was its themes. No I am not talking about the romantic aspect of it (in fact I thought it was a bit too much) – but the themes of loneliness, relationships, comfort and materialism. Without giving away any of the story, the movie really highlights where our society is headed. Perhaps the extremity of what we see in the movie will never quite come true, but it does highlight the comfort driven mentality that all of us has. In fact in a span of 700 years (which the movie depicts), who knows, perhaps its very possible.Comfort is what drives us to do much of what we do. We study hard and try to beat everyone else in school so we could graduate with top honors. Why? So we could work hard and get a great job so we could live in comfort. It is common in our society to leave family or friends behind to go to a new school or a job. Parents may be sad, and friends upset but ultimately it is almost a given that leaving relationships like this is the right thing to do because hey, you have to earn a great living right? Perhaps it is due to technology and the ease of travel and communication, but honestly does it have to be this way? Is it really wrong for us to forgo a going to a good college or pursuing a great job because we value our relationships just that much more?
Fiction of Non-Fiction?
The film also highlights a truth that one could easily miss. The people are depicted like robots themselves, simply doing the same things over and over again, never once stopping to notice what is going on around them or the people who are mere inches away from them. One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is when a lady is bumped off her routine and suddenly notices where she is, that they have a huge pool in the middle of the plaza and how beautiful the stars are. They are lost in their world. This subtle theme really hit me as true to life. It’s like a hardworking businessman who is so consumed by his work. He pursues success either for significance or comfort and along the way he ends up missing out on so much of life. Or perhaps a child who is so consumed by his video game that he never learns to notice the beauty of nature or the love of his parents. Or perhaps all of us who are so consumed with our daily lives and routines that we never notice the people around us or are even interested in their stories. There was once a time when neighbors knew each other, said hi while walking down the streets, and heaven forbid, had block parties and bbqs. Now its unheard of. The United States as whole come to mind, as we live in luxury consuming a ridiculous percentage of the world’s goods while so much of the world starves and barely get by.
In this movie it’s so easy to feel pity for the humans because we recognize their sad state. We feel bad for them. We are even disgusted by their living habits. Yet do we need to see the extremes on film to see that it is no different in reality? Do you really think that as we slowly gravitate to that kind of extreme that we would really be able to catch ourselves along the way. Look at how much has changed from a mere 5-10 years ago.
Do we even notice?
In the beginning of this film we were also treated to a little history about the Alameda Theater, a recently renovated historical theater in the city of Alameda. It is a truly a beautiful little theater with a lot of history. But what bothered me was a small segment where they showed the “evolution” of ape to man. This is a common depiction of anything evolving, but how would have people reacted if the depicted God creating man? Evolution by all means is a theory just like atheist would call creationism just a theory. However why is it that one can be depicted so freely with barely a notice, while the other would probably escalate into protests and court? There just seems to be so many things that are fed to us by media that are simply accepted while others rejected while nobody really notices. This is by no means a protest that one is right or wrong, but just the sheer ridiculousness of how differently they are treated and the lack of understanding of how much seeing such things impacts our way of thinking. We are adults could be influenced greatly by what we see day to day, how about all the children in that theater?