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Wall-E an Save-the-Earth Allegory

By Staff | Jun 30, 2008

Leave it to the premier animators at Pixar to conceive a futuristic love story between two robots that sends older viewers a clear message that we must take action to take care of Mother Earth. Anchored by detailed animation graphics, “Wall-E” tugs at your heartstrings as the quirky waste gathering robot continues his recycling directive amongst the ruins of a major city. Only, as the story unfolds do we learn that a Buy and Large mega corporation had whisked the human population into outer space when environmental contamination rendered the planet unfit for sustaining life.

Harkening toward the allegorical visions of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the electronic ‘bots and probes dominate the production, which for a long period relies only on a repeated audio soundtrack from the “Hello Dolly” musical, which establishes that the metal trash compactor has emotions, in particular an awareness of loneliness.

Animators have found methods of maneuvering the robot’s mechanical parts to simulate reactive emotions, such as by slowing his tread to a mere fraction of speed or bending portions of his lifters to simulate hands.

While the premise places Wall-E romantically chasing an egg shaped robot probe known as Eve, the contented fat couch potatoes on board a large ark-like spaceship resounds with one extreme result of virtually taking care of one’s self and ignoring anyone else. Obviously, the filmmakers have taken a bulls eye shot at the notion of gathering more and more stuff for oneself by depicting those on the cruising art space ship as stuffily ignoring neighbors sitting on a floating pillow nearby. Having accepted groupthink to the max, the obese earthlings allow computerized instruments to take care of them, which means they do nothing but sit on the pillow and watch virtual images.

The coming of the end to the planet’s contamination shakes up the mindless, don’t think routines of pampered humanity, leading eventually to a re-birth of individualism and a growth of displaying love to someone other than yourself.

Likely most anyone will promptly identify with those lazy beings who do nothing other than select a virtual image in front of their face. For example, how many times do you walk through a room of workers at terminals who barely, if at all, notice that someone has passed within their line of sight?

Has the proliferation of information and diversions drawn most men and women into narrow ‘worlds’ to which no one else is allowed entrance? Do not the flickering images on the screen(s) serve hypnotically as self gratification at the expense of projecting a ‘my space’ force field around our attention spans?

Of course, by counter conjecture, why have we locked ourselves inside these invisible barriers? Having seen rejection upon rejection, we retreat to amassing more and more ‘things’ while the planet’s environment deteriorates. No, “Wall-E” does not harp on global warming; instead, it’s a total package of ignorance to environmental damage that left unchanged could make the planet (or most of it) inhospitable to life as we know it.

Next time someone trips and drops their digital assistant in your lap, don’t hand it back and continue typing, readjust your perspective and actually exchange a few verbal vowels of communication. Just think of the beautiful, yet lonely, Vogue model in NYC who jumped nine stories to her death after months of writing beautiful prose in her search for a soulmate.

Ironically, “Wall-E” opened on a day when scientists warned that for the first time in history the North Pole could melt free of ice this summer. We don’t have the luxury of a space ark with which to flee to another planet. The much belittled and put off crises are staring us in the face — such as the impact of astounding gasoline prices and the overlapping impact on costs of goods and services.

Allegorically, two metallic robots and a tiny green plant growing out of a discarded shoe appear prophetic, perhaps hyperbolically representing the concept of love for another, the necessity for community and the fragility of the balance of nature. 

Contact Tony at trutherford@graffitiwv.com