Wall-E is the wonderful new film from Pixar Studios. Tonight I was lucky enough in Sydney to see a sneak preview with the director and voice of the main characters. It tells the story of two robots who fall in love in a world far into the future. If this sounds like an unlikely premise for a profoundly moving experience, then rest assured I was equally surprised. The New Yorker wrote in late July:

WALL-E” blends two kinds of science fiction—the post-apocalyptic disaster scenario and the dystopian fantasy derived from Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” in which people are controlled not by coercion but by pleasure. Apparently, the movie has caused annoyance in some quarters because it criticizes the American way of life. This it does, and with suavity and supreme good humor. “WALL-E” is a classic, but it will never appeal to people who are happy with art only when it has as little bite as possible.

The majority of the film is without dialogue, but has a vision of humanity, love and the future that, despite the protestations of director Andrew Stanton during tonight’s Q&A, is clearly a deeply humanitarian message about looking after the planet from degradation and pollution (something viciously slammed by right-wing attack dogs in the US).

For me the film isn’t simply a beautifully constructed work of art, but an expansive hymn to what human beings can create and destroy. After eight years of the Bush administration, that’s a message that the vast majority of the “liberated” globe can understand.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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