Friday, July 11, 2008

What Wall-E gets wrong about obesity and the enviroment? (Sweet Mother of Mercy... A non-Batman post!!!)

In the category of 'smart, thoughtful articles that you don't have to agree with to appreciate', has a terrifically detailed article up now that deals with some of the allegedly simplistic ideas and potential falsehoods found in the latter half of Pixar's Wall-E. I don't agree with every point in the piece, hell I may not agree with the scope of the article, but it's worth a read anyway.

I found the first half of Wall-E visually stimulating, but narratively inert as I didn't get into the robot love story. The second half is thoughtful when it fixates on specific characters (I find the captain's verbal and physical battles with the mother ship to be incredibly compelling), but it also makes broad somewhat stereotypical (and possibly false) statements and tries to pass them off as cutting-edge social satire. Also worth skimming is this heartfelt rebuttal to the 'fat = lazy' message of the second half of the Pixar film.

For a mathematically plausible, genuinely terrifying look at a similar scenario, check out Mike Judge's little seen 2006 comedy Idiocracy. It's disjointed, sloppy, and reeks of studio tinkering, but the central conceit is genuinely disturbing to the point where it works better as a horror film than a comedy.

Now, to be fair, Wall-E is overall a pretty good movie and is another entry in the thesis that permeates most of Pixar's pictures. Safety of survival vs the danger of living.

"I don't want to survive... I want to live!", the captain joyously screams at a key climactic moment. And that is the key dilemma for the Pixar universe.

In Toy Story 2, Woody must choose between living and dying as the favorite toy, or living forever as a collectors item. In Finding Nemo, Nemo's father must learn for his son to truly live, he must be allowed to venture outward and risk the various dangers that life puts in our paths. In The Incredibles, the whole family constantly battles with living in peace in normalcy, or living to their fuel super powered potential with the risks that come with that. Remy the Rat doesn't just want to exist in the world, he wants to contribute, to make it better using his natural gifts as a chef.

Base survival vs. full-blooded contribution and living. It's a fitting moral for a company that constantly challenges itself and has given the world such wonderful and thoughtful entertainment. I'd rather disagree with the a few points here and there of a good movie than suffer through a mediocre movie that has nothing to say.

Scott Mendelson

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails