A trash compactor robot called WALL-E is the last robot on a post-apocalyptic earth. Mankind now lives in space, generations away from what made them truly human.
They rely on mass consumerism as a way of life, floating gluttonously in super-media chairs and drinking their food like infants. When EVE (a soil examining robot) is sent to earth, she shows WALL-E just what he was made for: to find love and save humanity in the process.
Is this film a comment on our current ecological state, carrying heavy political and socio-economical messages?
“No, I don’t have a political bend,” Stanton states. “I don’t have any ecological message to push. I don’t mind that it supports that kind of view, but everything was done visually to communicate the story to the audience. The most I do is recycle, and I’m pretty bad at that if you talk to my wife!”
The film may, however, evoke a socio-ecological response from audiences. One might argue that this reaction is merely Stanton holding a mirror up to society and we fill in the gaps, much like we do for WALL-E himself.
WALL-E is essentially a box with binoculars for a face. That is ironically a very powerful way of communication.
Stanton states that much like the lamp seen in the PIXAR logo, “there is some unique power to bringing a character like that to life. It’s why we are so attracted to pets and infants. You pull from your own emotional experiences to finish the sentence.”
As the audience connects with WALL-E as a character falling in love, they may draw parallels from the world he lives in to our own.
Actor/comedian Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) plays the Spaceship Captain in the film. Garlin, too, admits that the film’s message is that “love conquers all. Their love changes the world.”
“The thing that people love that destroys the world is money. If we were more into love and less into destruction, I think we’d have a lot less problems with conservation. I feel you have to say every day, ‘How am I contributing?’ But no – it’s how much money am I making, and that’s my self-worth. And that leads to pollution. Isn’t that crazy? But that’s my theory,” Garlin offers.
John Ratzenberger (“Cheers,” cameo voice actor in every PIXAR film) is quite the conservationist. Ratzenberger has started foundations to help the education of our children and preserve life on this planet in many ways.
“It’s like an industrial tsunami heading our way. Once it’s here, it’s too late. It’s all about your children. Put ’em in a sandbox – don’t plug ’em in front of a DVD or video game because that’s dangerous to their lives,” he says. “In the movie it’s about the heart connection. Kids, when you grow up, do you really care what kind of car your parents drove? Who cares? Could’ve taken a bus – but it’s that connection.
“Every single time there’s a PIXAR movie, it’s part of history somehow. They’ve broken new ground. They could have rested on their laurels and achievements a long time ago and just done a mediocre job. They refused to do that. They’ve tried to outdo themselves every single project, and they do.”
Outdoing themselves once again with WALL-E, PIXAR has created what is possibly the most memorable “cartoon” character yet.
Wall-E releases in theaters June 27.