Wall-E – Political Commentary Fit For Kids

Wall-E proves that the Pixar/Disney marriage was not ill conceived. Indeed, the union has given birth to a beautiful baby … robot … movie.

In the not too distant future, earth has been abandoned. After filling the planet with the refuse of its consumeristic society, the human race decided to take a vacation on giant resort ships in space while robots clean things up.

Eventually all the robots wear out and shut down, all except for cute little Wall-E that is, who has been running for so long he’s developed a personality. He’s also gotten lonely.

When a pretty she-robot named Eve shows up, Wall-E is smitten. Unfortunately, Eve has a directive. When Wall-E shows her his prized possession, a green plant, Eve signals her ship.

It seems the plan was, once the environment had been restored — as evidenced by the growth of plant life — the humans would return.

Of course, there has to be conflict. This arises when the autopilot on the resort ship responds to an old program command to override the return and to keep the humans in space.

Without spoiling it anymore than we have, let’s just say that Wall-E, Eve, and their pals save the day and the world.

With one thing that’s interesting about Wall-E is the depth of character the producers have managed to embody in this little robot. Wall-E, the robot, has a very limited range of “facial” expressions and vocalizations, yet he moves us more than many live-action human actors do.

Another interesting aspect is the reaction the movie has elicited in some of its adult audience. Some people have complained that a kid’s movie is no place for environmental politics. They’d prefer lighter, simpler Care Bear fare that doesn’t upset anyone, or cause anyone to think.

Others were disappointed because, they claim, the movie glosses over the real environment issues facing the world, making light of such a serious subject and not capitalizing on the film’s potential to influence young minds.

In fact, Wall-E strikes an admirable balance. If parents wish to use the movie to initiate environmental and political discussions with their little ones, they can certainly do so. But children today are likely savvy enough to get the point anyway. This is our world and we have to take care of it. And if they have a little fun while they learn that lesson, as they undoubtedly will with Wall-E, so much the better.

Random Notions rating: 4 out of 5