By Dinah Chung, NAPAWF Law Intern
Pixar has done it again and captivated the hearts of a mass audience. Wall-E is a strikingly poignant movie that not only entertains but educates, as well. With an environmental consciousness as the movie’s backdrop, this little hero embodies a loud and simple message: one person can make a difference.
This movie is about an unassuming robot, whose sole purpose is to clean up after a consumer-driven society—he is relegated to a somewhat futile existence, however, when left behind and forgotten on an Earth abandoned by its inhabitants. Having consumed all of Earth’s resources and driven by its ever-increasing desire for more things, the human race deserts its natural home and relocates to a spaceship somewhere in the outer galaxy, where they do nothing but consume more. As a stark contrast to the desolate and melancholy city he cleans up, Wall-E represents a symbol of hope. This dichotomy is remarkably illustrated in the first forty minutes of the film in which there is no real dialogue and all that is shown is a diligent robot hard at work. He picks up trash one bundle at a time, while finding pure joy in discovering random knick-knacks along the way. Despite his lonely existence for hundreds of years, he never gives up, but remains inspired to fall in love by a Hello Dolly video and ever so earnestly cares for his only companion, a resilient cockroach.
The movie traces Wall-E’s journey from a lonely beginning to falling in love to ultimately saving planet Earth. The beauty of this movie is not just in the endearing love story, nor is it in the incredibly heroic ending, but it is in the infectious ability of Wall-E to invoke hope in those around him. By the end of the movie, he unintentionally inspires a gang of robots and all of human kind to yearn for a new life. During the movie, I could not help but examine my own lifestyle and how I have participated in the current downward slope of our environmental situation. Inevitably, I too, was inspired to take action and change my life to be part of the solution, and not the problem.
The movie does a great job in conveying an environmentally conscious story that both inspires an urgency to save our planet before it’s too late, and reminds us that we all can and must be agents of change. Ironically, the movie uses an unlikely hero in Wall-E to convey a very humanistic message and a sense of optimism that one person can, indeed, make a difference in the world. Whether it is recycling, growing one’s own vegetables, or riding a bike instead of driving a car, each person carries a responsibility to ensure the survival of our planet. I left the theater amused, inspired, and ready to make a change in this world. I think most people in the audience felt the same way because really, what is more inspiring than two robots falling in love?