Alarms sound almost daily now about what we are doing to the planet. We are told that we are destroying the fabric our societies are built in, that our economic system will collapse, that our environment will not be able to survive the abuse we are heaping on it. The movie WALL-E has always felt to me like a lessons wrapped in a cautionary tale; the virtues displayed by WALL-E and EVE are in a way the ones that, should we have had more of, would have kept us out of this mess. Maeve’s review of this movie is quite insightful in this regard and is the focus of this month’s Maeve’s Monthly Movie Review feature.
WALL-E — Honoring our environment and ourselves
Synopsis (from NetFlix):
In a futuristic world, human beings have destroyed Earth and evacuated the planet, leaving the cleanup to an army of robots they’ve programmed to do their dirty work. Due to a mishap, the dutiful WALL-E is the only one left. But with the arrival of a female probe named EVE, the monotony of WALL-E’s existence is broken — and he experiences love for the first time. Andrew Stanton directs this Golden Globe-winning Pixar tale with a sci-fi twist.
This film transcends its medium. It speaks to us on multiple levels, from plot, to social commentary, from personal transformation, to collective responsibility. There are several themes which are quite profound and that people struggle with (or struggle to ignore) daily.
One theme is of hope, and specifically how it can overcome even the greatest obstacles. We see this exhibited through WALL-E himself. He is the last of his kind, alone attempting to accomplish an impossible task. Yet instead of giving up hope he works diligently, gleaning what good he can from the mess that is left of earth. When EVE comes, he is so happy, and patient with her initially cold (robotic? 🙂 ) reaction to him.
“Just as the earth bears those who dig into her, it is best to bear with those who despise us.” ~TiruVuluvar (the Jain saint)
The theme of hope is also exhibited in the greater society as they send forth the EVE droids in search of a habitable planet. While it has been 700 years or more, they still go out searching for plant life. Hope has been a large component of 2008, the year this film came out, and even more so I would say in 2009 as the world embraces the new US President Barack Obama and his message. Over the last year the world has seen the largest economic collapse since the great depression, with countries like Iceland going bankrupt. We have seen wars and conflict, from the most recent installment of Israel/Palestine, to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the horrible act of terrorism in Mumbai. This film is part of the greater conversation of hope, a way to help both children and families engage in this conversation in a more uplifting way than the nightly news might. If we can keep this conversation going, then maybe we can transform the words into deeds and come up with the small, daily solutions that together can build toward peace
“Release yourselves, O nightingales of God, from the thorns and brambles of wretchedness and misery, and wing your flight to the rose-garden of unfading splendor.” ~Bahá’u’lláh
WALL-E did not worry about the insurmountable task at hand, cleaning up the entire world, a mess that he did not create but that was his mission to fix. He just went out each day and did what he could, bit by bit, and while it may have seemed like emptying the ocean one teaspoon at a time, it had an effect. I think that is a lesson for all of us.
Read the rest of Maeve’s Review here.