About once every ten years Hollywood makes a movie that is so “outside the box” that you wonder how it ever got a greenlight. “Citizen Kane” and “The Godfather” clearly come to mind. Pixar’s new movie, “Wall-E”is so wonderfully subversive that it is a miracle it ever got made. I think it is clearly the best movie Pixar has ever made and beyond that it is a planetary lesson of grace and beauty. That the Walt Disney Company paid for this parable about excess consumption and the corporatization of the planet is extraordinary, but they are to be commended for it and come Oscar time they will be rewarded.
Wall-E depicts a world of the future that WalMart (called Buy N Large in the film) made. A world of Superstores selling super amounts of junk to a country drowning in trash. Eventually, in order to keep selling, BNL ships all of the humans off the planet into space colonies, where the human race evolves backwards into fat lazy entertainment addicts serviced by a colony of robots. But the film is no ecology lecture. First off, it is as close to a silent film as we have had in 75 years. It has echoes of Modern Times, Metropolis, 2001, Bladerunner and yet it is a love story with a decidedly optimistic ending (stay through the end credits). I have written before about the dystopian artist and the age of anxiety. But Wall-E is something far more ambitious. When the history of the first 100 years of animation is written, I’m pretty sure Wall-E will be right up there with the earliest Disney classics in the pantheon.