WALL-E’s Critical Ideologues
July 3, 2008 in Reading Response
Tags: adult, audiences, bickering, conservative, consumerism, family, film, g, general, liberal, message, mindless, movie, narrow, one, political, rating, review, sentence, wall-e
My one-sentence review: WALL-E is an excellent adult love story, and, though it is appropriately G-rated, it will probably bore the most impatient kindergartners.
Though it’s a movie I found to be a little heavy-handed with its message, I thought well-done, anyway. As we’ve come to expect from Pixar, this film’s message is handled with greater panache and insight than most studios use over twelve films, a quality which more than makes up for WALL-E’s overwrought focus on having a message.
This film’s themes are environmentalism and slothful consumerism — I don’t give anything away to say that one is shown as good and the other is shown as bad — and, even so, the film doesn’t quite flesh with any single political ideology. Not that it matters — nothing could ever stop political ideologues from bickering.
Due to the nature of their bickering, spoilers ahead. I paraphrase in blockquotes.
One called it a movie that Al Gore would like, because of its environmentalism, making a cheap shot that forgets that global warming is never mentioned in this movie; another countered that WALL-E was quintessentially conservative, because it criticized the marriage of business and government, missing the entire point of the movie.
Ideologue the Third reported that his 5-year-old child was whining to leave within the first 15 minutes, proving that the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree; another observed that this Disney film was hypocritical for preaching against consumerism, even though, by contract, Disney has exactly zero creative control over a Pixar film.
It’d be worth noting that all of the quoted ridiculous observations come from conservative critics if left-wing pundits weren’t regularly guilty of equal or worse sins.
WALL-E is one of the most elegant arguments for stewardship of our planet in ages — it doesn’t argue that pollution hurts the Earth, rather that pollution intrinsically hurts humanity — and the film serves as one of the best-executed arguments against pursuing easy convenience at any cost.
Each of those arguments apparently clash with simple, narrow-minded conservatism. It may not clash with simple, narrow-minded liberal, if only because they’ll inevitably focus on the simple, surface-level message against pollution, skipping entirely the attacks on the perils of our culture of entitlement.
Simple, narrow-minded ideologues from either side could ever make heads or tails of this movie. Their loss.
Every day, we experience a thousand moments, each of those moments setting in motion a thousand slightly different possibilities in the future. When we make these choices, we are thrust toward another day's crossroads, where we have another thousand choices.
Given the infinite number of choices we make in a lifetime, why do we choose so many of the same routes and make just as many of the same mistakes as our parents and grandparents?
I plan to learn from their mistakes. Let's see how far I get.
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