Why Disney/Pixar’s ‘WALL-E’ is More Than Just a Movie

Amanda Austin, Reporter

In 2008, the animated movie WALL-E was released, seeming to be in all respects a fun family movie with some Disney “movie magic” mixed in. For the average viewer, maybe it is, but to the close observer there are many small, minute details that truly make this one of the greatest ever produced.

The entire plot of the movie rotates around a small robot, WALL-E, left alone on Earth to clean up the garbage while the humans await signs of life out in space. This may seem like an exaggerated dystopian future, but there are many parallels between this world and the one we know today.

The humans left Earth after the entire planet was ecologically destroyed, giant mountains of trash reaching up like skyscrapers and virtually no life whatsoever left on its surface. The atmosphere, it can be assumed, was filled with CO2 and possibly toxic, but as all the plants had died off, there was no way to fix it. Instead of staying to clean up themselves, they left a small army of robots to clean it up, and once a sign of life was reported by an exploratory probe, message would be sent to the starship Axiom, and they could return.

This prediction sits close to home for many people. The mountains of trash seen in the movie are oddly similar to landfills of today, and global warming continues to get worse. Not only does WALL-E predict an entirely plausible future, but it shows what our world has already become, and our steady decline toward irreparable damage.

There is also a more deep, psychological message hidden within the animation of WALL-E. The first instance of this is the intense conflict of nostalgia and futurism in the story line. Stuck alone on Earth, WALL-E tries to piece together the history of the past, of a world bright and new, so different from the one he lives. The many small, ordinary pieces of daily life that he collects are mementos of the past, as well as the movies and songs he doesn’t understand. As the movie develops, WALL-E becomes interested not only in the past, but in the present and future, and what it may hold.

One of the greatest, if more obvious messages in the film is that of noticing the world around you, and taking a different path. When WALL-E arrives in the Axiom, he inadvertently makes the people on board finally notice the wonders around them, and realize how beautiful it really is out there. The story of WALL-E is more than just a movie. It is a tale of what happens when we ignore the problems we’ve created, a story of hope, rebirth, love and second chances. It teaches us lessons that we must never forget: That things may not be entirely what they appear, and that sometimes we must face the hardest thing of all: our own mistakes.