• Teresa Xie


Released by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Andrew Stanton, Wall-E is a G-rated cartoon film about the last robot on Earth. The name Wall-E stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth Class, as Wall-E spends his days collecting and compacting the remaining garbage on Earth. One day, he meets an Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator (Eve), who has been sent to Earth to scan the planet for plant life. Eve is shaped like an egg and captures Wall-E’s heart. Wall-E and Eve adventure into deep space, where Wall-E discovers what went wrong with the human race and tries to fix it.

The genius of Wall-E is its appeal to both children and adults, who will inevitably take away different things from the film, while both appreciating common elements. An audience of all ages will be encapsulated by the lively animations in this film, from a hazy landscape of an empty Earth, to Eve’s bright personality and presence. Furthermore, Wall-E is glazed with elements of nostalgia. Although the first half of the film is almost entirely silent, the robots' expressions tell all. Eve and Wall-E communicate with beeps from their respective machines, but it is their face that reveals emotions ranging from indifference to desire. The integration of humanity in this film is stunning, as it is etched onto the actions and expressions of cartoon robots. To a more mature audience, Wall-E tells the story of the danger of human mass consumption and the destruction that comes with it. In Wall-E’s world, humans have destroyed earth’s environment with piles of trash, and are forced to relocate in space. Much of this consumption is rooted in convenience. When we see humans in the film, they are akin to babies; they have to be fed and services are immediately done for them.

Although broadly Wall-E explores themes regarding consumption, the future economy, and a destroyed environment, the central, encapsulating plotline of the film is the romantic relationship budding between Wall-E and Eve. We can see that when Eve comes down to Earth, Wall-E almost immediately falls in love with her, leading him to try to care for her when she shuts down and is also what drives him to follow her through space. This love is what makes Wall-E more humane than the humans in the movie. Throughout the film, Wall-E's love for Eve expands to include the Earth itself. When Wall-E sees images of Earth in its prime, he is taken aback by its beauty and wants to save it. Wall-E’s love for Eve is also reciprocated on Eve’s end, as can be seen best when Eve replaces Wall-E’s circuit when she comes back to Earth at the end of the film, only to find his memory and personality gone. Eve is heartbroken, and gives Wall-E a kiss, rejuvenating both his memory and his personality. The two reunite as both humans and robots take their first steps on Earth again.

When we consider Wall-E in today’s world, its message becomes increasingly relevant. As we consider the invention of services like Uber Eats or Amazon Prime, convenience is at the heart of many businesses. As long as something can be delivered, consumed, or received quickly, it is deemed a commercial success. Our world has become so fast paced, that we hardly recognize the potential destruction this could inevitably cause, as shown by Wall-E. An ironic symbolization of humans’ future potential dehumanization is achieved through portraying robots as the empathetic saviors of our future society. The story of Wall-E and Eve is not so much one of AI, as robot stories often are nowadays. Instead, it is an embodiment of machines surpassing what was once the human race, both emotionally and physically.

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