WALL-E is a robot with a pure and gentle heart. He is a charming and endearing character with a big job: cleaning up the trash left behind on earth by humanity before they jumped ship and headed for the cleanliness of outer space.
It’s a decent message and one, I admit, we all need to heed. However, as sweet and soulful WALL-E and the movie are, it still boils down to yet another self-loathing poke at humanity. Wall-E’s earth wasn’t ravaged by war or a meteoric catastrophe, but by mans greed and neglect.
The film focuses on how self-indulgent we are as a species and how we must change. There is no good news here about humanity, only our whims and downfalls are illustrated. We have destroyed the world. We have no place in it. We should be ejected, and have been. Just like the semi-documentary recently airing, Life After People. As though we are somehow apart from the general habitation of the earth, a pariah.
We are, after all, animals. We have no less a right to be here. We may make mis-steps, but history has shown we are well able, and in most cases, well on the way, to good stewardship of this planet. I tend to want to opt for the optimism here, for I believe it is ONLY in optimism that solutions are found.
I confess that, as cute as WALL-E is, and as beautifully done the movie was, I came away wondering why man seems to hate himself, and his place in the world, so much.