Bren’s writing and movies blog

Because I have an opinion about creativity and know how to use it

Saw Wall-E tonight

Posted by brenatevi on July 4, 2008

I love movies that make me stop and think.  I love movies that make me laugh, without also feeling like a heel for laughing.  Wall-E accomplished both with gusto and panache.

First and foremost, it is a “Message Movie.”  When I heard this, I was just a wee bit leery.  I tend to hate message movies, because they tend to beat you over the head with the message, by the time the movie is over, I have a headache the size of Texas, and fun was the last thing I had watching the movie.

Wall-E wasn’t like that.  Yes, the starting shots were of a trashed planet, but I got so absorbed in the life of Wall-E, that I just saw everything as a backdrop, the canvas Wall-E’s life played out on.  The cockroach was brilliant.  And for some reason I kept thinking about Fallout as I watched trundling over the trash, collecting pieces here and there, and making his garbage cubes; the song sounded like the Inkspots.

And once Eve came into the picture, and the action shot up, I knew that the message was still there, but you know what?  I was having too much fun to care.  Towards the end, I could feel the preachiness start twitching me, but I was too involved with the characters to let it bother me.  Filmmakers, if you’re going to preach in your movies, at least make the story engaging, make us care about your characters, otherwise all you end up with is resentment, and then people will just toss the message out with the movie.  It won’t matter how valid your message is, because people won’t care.

A thought that kept rolling through my mind was “what is life?”  Are Wall-E, Eve, and the rest of the misfit robots alive?  (By the way, Wall-E accomplished a key thing that every great film should: it made every joke count, and in the end, tied all of the jokes together.  If you are going to have a running gag, at least make it part of the storyline, and make it important at the end.)

Back to life.  While Wall-E and company might have short vocabularies, if any vocabulary at all, they felt alive to me.  They felt as real as any person.  Yes, yes, I know that it’s a cartoon; my grasp of reality isn’t THAT far gone.  But if they were physical objects like you and I, and they acted like that, would you consider them alive?  I think they would be, since they showed initiative far outside their programming, and did things for their own reasons, like collect certain pieces of trash, and watch musicals.

“But they aren’t flesh and blood, they don’t have DNA!” some might protest.  You corpse will be of flesh and blood and have DNA.  Should it still be considered Life?


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