First off, so sorry to anyone who still visits my blog for being absent so long. We had two weeks off from school between the summer and fall semesters, and now we’ve hit the ground running yet again. Three weeks in and my head has already begun to explode slightly. Hopefully my dog and cat will clean up the mess after I explode…
This semester we’re doing Multimedia 2, and our first real assignment was to watch a film that we think has cultural significance and then write a paper about it. I chose to research the film WALL-E. I love this movie, so it was nice to watch it and have it count as school at the same time. As part of the assignment we are supposed to post our paper on our blogs. So, with only one further ado, I present my paper.
One Further Ado: I’ve missed my blog quite much, so I’m hoping to start up again during breaks from homework. I’ve got a small collection of things to share, so hopefully I can get those posted soon. 🙂 NOW without further ado…
Movie Research Assignment–WALL-E
WALL-E is a film about a small robot left behind on earth. He has adventures, meets new friends, makes mistakes, and ultimately saves the day. Although WALL-E isn’t strong, he’s not big and impressive, he isn’t a bold, dashing hero, there are many things to be learned from him and the circumstances he lives through.
WALL-E is set in earth’s future. Humans have evacuated the planet. Left behind are squads of debris-clearing robots. Only one bot remains though; the rest have fallen into disrepair and ceased to work, lying where they die. That one is WALL-E. Day in and day out he continues with his job of cleaning up, stacking cubes of trash, and preparing for the day humans will return to earth. The problem is, humans aren’t coming back, not until the planet is able to safely sustain life again. That’s where EVE, a robot visiting from space, comes in. Sleek, modern, and searching for any sign of life, she and WALL-E form a special friendship over the course of their adventures.
In this film, the main, obvious point given to viewers is that we as humans cannot waste and waste and waste and expect to receive no consequences for our actions. In the movie, a huge corporation called Buy ‘N Large has essentially taken over the world. Electronic billboards and speakers ring with advertisements wherever you go. But with the mass consumerism that Buy ‘N Large presents come the aftereffects: massive waste, trash covering the earth, and, eventually, a planet that becomes uninhabitable. This is a reminder to us here and now to be careful of how we treat our planet. Sure, earth can take a lot of hits, but that doesn’t excuse poor treatment on our part. It’s our responsibility to care for what we’ve been given. There are many easy ways to help our planet out even a little, things as easy as walking or riding a bike instead of using gas to power a car, recycling as much as can be recycled, buying used items instead of new from the store, and even simply turning off the light when you leave the room.
In WALL-E, not only was the earth left in disrepair, but the humans themselves were in sorry shape. After evacuating earth in the Axiom, a huge, high-tech space craft, everything was done for them, brought to them, they were carried constantly by powered floating chairs, and all their food was consumed from a cup and straw. They grew fatter and fatter, lost all muscle mass, and became akin to adult-sized babies. As the years passed, they even lost the ability to walk on their own. Our own world is gradually moving this way. Fast food restaurants reside on every local street corner, many sporting drive-throughs so you don’t even have to get out of your car. You can pay and move on to your next destination, never stopping, never slowing. In recent years, America has made a step toward awareness of these sort of issues. Advertisements and commercials urge kids and families to go outside, take a walk, and eat healthier, all trying to avoid this imaginary-but-possible future of having everything done for us all the time.
WALL-E was released in theaters at a time when people were, and still are, becoming more and more aware of all these issues. It was meant to hit home for viewers that, though an extreme picture, the sort of things that happen in the movie could potentially happen on a smaller scale to us. It’s a call to action. The captain of the Axiom, the spaceship where all remaining humans lived, began to investigate and research. “Computer, define dancing,” he once said. After living 700 years in outer space he had no idea what dancing was. He dug deeper and discovered all the wonderful things earth used to be and to have, things like farming and pizza, and he was not content to stay in space any longer, not while there was hope of returning to earth and starting fresh. We need to be like that. If we take it upon ourselves to protect the place we live, to research and to study, we can keep our home a safe and beautiful place.
In addition to the environmental side of the film, there is another side as well. This film is full of emotion and magic, ideas grasped by people of all ages. When we meet WALL-E, he has been living by himself for a very long time. All the bots similar to him have broken and died. He is alone. When EVE comes to earth, searching for any sign of life, WALL-E is captivated. He begins to follow EVE around, watching as she searches for any growing thing that could signify life is sustainable on earth again. Eventually they meet, and he takes her back to his home, shows her where he lives and all the wonderful little things he collects. When EVE realizes that WALL-E has found a small plant, proof that life can grow on earth again, she takes the plant into her own care…and promptly shuts down. WALL-E, initially worried about her, continues to look after her in the following days and weeks. He takes her touring through the abandoned city, although she can see none of it, he sits beside her gazing at the sunset, he holds umbrellas over her in the rain, and places her in the sunlight in the hopes that her batteries will charge in the sun and that she will wake up again. All of this is driven by his one great desire: to hold EVE’s hand. Touch is such a huge factor for humans. Something so small and seemingly insignificant can mean more than anyone ever realizes and, although he isn’t human, the same holds true for WALL-E, the lonely little robot. Throughout the movie he tries to tell her that that’s all he wants, though he’s shut down each time. Finally, at the end of the film when it seems WALL-E has been lost, overcome by all he’s been through, it is EVE finally grasping his robot hand in hers that brings him back.
Audio was a huge part of the film. Since the first half of the movie has almost no dialogue and there is little dialogue throughout, filmmakers had to rely heavily on sounds and sound effects. Everything from the sound of the wind, to spaceships blasting off, the voices of the bots, not to mention the myriad of noises that WALL-E himself makes as he moves, bends, works, and speaks, every sound had to be found or created before it could be inserted into the film.
From the day it was released in theaters, WALL-E was almost unanimously popular. It ranked in as the fifth best opening weekend for a Pixar film, at that time. It was nominated for eighty-two awards and won forty-seven in total. Among the wins was an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a Golden Globe award for Best Animated Film, as well as the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Family Movie. There were rumblings of dissent when WALL-E failed to earn a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The only animated film to ever be nominated for the Best Picture award was Beauty and the Beast in 1991. Despite being passed over for the Best Picture award, WALL-E received hefty ratings and was loved by just about everyone.
Although WALL-E is a gentle warning to be wary of the direction we as humans head in, it is also a reminder to be human. We must remember to take care of the world, but equally we must remember to look out for one another, to dream, to stop and notice the small things in life, and to love.