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Movie Review: WALL-E

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Author/Source: Nancy Keith

Topic: Movie Review

A review of WALL-E, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>WALL-E</i>

Overview

The year is 2700 and the planet Earth has not been inhabited for hundreds of years due to said inhabitants' greed and general disregard for the planet. Trash is everywhere and there are no signs of life... except for a cockroach and a robot named WALL-E! WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class) has been performing his job of compacting and stacking trash for, oh, 700 years - although the job was originally thought to be accomplished in 5 years! Along the way he collects treasures and watches Hello, Dolly. He longs for the love and friendship he sees in this film, but, alas, his only companion is the cockroach.

One of the treasures he finds is a plant. WALL-E realizes how important this discovery is when EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetative Evaluator) probes Earth on a mission to detect and secure proof that the earth is once again habitable. Although it takes a little while for them to connect, WALL-E is smitten by EVE and follows her back to the Axiom, the space station where earth inhabitants are "temporarily" dwelling.

The humans are fat and happy, looking a bit like beached-whales, floating around on hover chairs, attended to by robots, captivated by what is on the screens in front of them, finding nourishment from drinks, and oblivious to everything around them. Despite many perils along the way, WALL-E and EVE's arrival helps the humans realize at last that it is time to re-colonize the Earth. When a robot named Auto tries to keep the ship from returning to Earth, the captain of the Axiom, WALL-E, EVE and others join forces to change the course of the destiny of humankind.

When you see the trailers for this film, you think you may know what this film is about. It is your basic robot meets robot, falls in love, and saves the world. But, this is Pixar and since Luxo Jr. revolutionized the world of animation back in 1986, we have learned to expect the unexpected and to be amazed by it. There is NO DIALOG in the first half of the movie, save the names of the two main characters. In the second half of the movie, the dialog is pretty insignificant. While some have said that WALL-E was patterned after the robot in Short Circuit, WALL-E's creators say that he was patterned after Charlie Chaplin.

This movie is deeply poignant and engaging. You will truly feel a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity as you watch.

One note: Don't leave! You must watch the end credits to see how the earth is colonized.

I love this quote from WALL-E's director, Andrew Stanton, who told Christianity Today, "They tell you that as a storyteller, it's vital to just stick with and be honest with your values system. The last thing I want to do is go to a movie and feel like I'm being preached at. ... I think it's more honest — and you're going to have more effect — to be truthful with the values of your characters. ... That was the case with WALL-E. The greatest commandment is to love one another, and to me, that's the ultimate purpose of living. So that was the perfect goal for the loneliest robot on Earth, to learn the greatest commandment, to learn to love."


Concerns

This movie evoked no real concerns. The raciest thing that happened was when WALL-E finds a bra and briefly blinds himself with it. There are some explosions, robot chases, and scary moments, but my sensitive 4½-year-old niece didn't have a problem with them.


Teachable Themes

  • Work Ethic
    WALL-E has been doing his job day after day for over 700 years without any supervision and never slacking off.

  • Being Good Stewards of our Planet
    While Global Warming seems to be the only reason to take care of our planet in the world we live in, as Christians we are given dominion over the Earth, we should take good care of it as good stewards.

  • Rampant Consumerism
    Okay, you might not think of this as a child's theme, but Madam Blueberry conquered it, too. The major corporation featured in this film (Buy 'n Large) has an interesting corporate motto, "We Want More For You." This would be a great place to discuss wants and needs.

  • Doing What Is Right No Matter What
    Though everything seemed to be against them, WALL-E and EVE do what they know they should do.

  • Friendship
    It wasn't easy to make friends with EVE, but WALL-E was persistent and it paid off.

  • Loyalty
    As a friend, WALL-E is faithful and loyal.

  • Love One Another
    This theme was taught throughout this movie in so many ways.

  • Take Time to Smell the Roses
    Two human characters, John and Mary, are jolted from their computer screens for what seems to be the first time in their lives. They notice the beach, the stars and can enjoy their lives. This is a good place to talk about getting off the computer and away from TV!

Biblical References

  • WALL-E, like Adam, is lonely and desires companionship... then EVE comes! :
    • Genesis 2:18-24 - "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

      The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."
  • Much like Noah sends out a dove to find out if the earth is habitable, EVE is sent from the Axiom for the same purpose.:
    • Genesis 8:6-13 - "After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

      By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry."

Discussion Questions

  • What was WALL-E's job and why was it so hard?
  • WALL-E was very lonely. Have you ever felt lonely? What did you do when you felt lonely?
  • What kind of things did WALL-E treasure and why? What kind of things do you treasure?
  • Was it easy for WALL-E to make friends with EVE? Do you think it was worth it to WALL-E to keep trying until EVE became his friend?
  • What did John and Mary discover when they got away from their computer screens? Do you spend too much time in front of your computer?
  • What kinds of things can you do to be a good steward of the planet that God has put us on?

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