This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WALL-E: The Next Generation E.T.

With triple digits temperatures here in the San Fernando Valley, the best thing to do [besides staying indoors and eating ice cream] is to go to the movies.

Temperatures in movie theatres are always similar to doctor's offices. (It's always chillier than you expect--which in the heat of summer is a good thing.) Given the two options, I'd always pick the movie theatre though...unless maybe I was dying. Although... if I was dying, I might as well die watching a good movie so perhaps I'd choose a movie theatre even then.

In the chilly theatre, I recently saw both WALL-E and Hancock. Hancock has all that a summer blockbuster needs. It's entertaining, comedic, lots of stuff blows up-- and the main attraction is a swashbuckling-boozing anti-hero in the form of Will Smith. I witnessed some Hancock filming in downtown L.A. In person, the effects were powerful and nearly unimaginable. Granted, it was a good film, but I'm not really here to talk about Hancock.

Instead, I'm here to talk about Wall-E. If you haven't seen it--GO! If it wasn't on your "must-see" list, write it down--in pen. I'm an intelligent adult and I don't have kids. Yet, I chose to see Wall-E. I was prompted by the critics who continued to rave about the film. Plus, Pixar has never released a letdown. Think about it.

Wall-E is funny, sophisticated, and frightening. There were times when I nearly cried. There were times when Wall-E rolled across the screen and I saw E.T. But Wall-E is a terrestrial and it's the humans in space. Instead of a geranium, it's a green plant in need of care.

Wall-E is lucky. Unlike many humans, he has been programmed to know his "directive"--his purpose in life. Many humans are still looking (myself included.) Unluckily, Wall-E is alone and, as a robot, seemingly incapable of emotion. That isn't true though. Wall-E in his way has the ability to feel--especially in his connection with a newly-upgraded robot named Eve. The first 30 minutes of the film contain little, if any, dialogue. Wall-E is alone in an appalling, nearly apocalyptic Earth without a speck of green. We are watching what Earth could become after humans are gone.

Wall-E treads a fine line. On one hand, it's entertainment and on the other, it's a powerful statement on where we are headed, both as a species and as a planet. The beach-ball humans that exist in Wall-E seemed to be governed by advertising and big business. They ooh and ah over the newest, shiniest products before them. They are all together, but are startled by even the slightest human contact. They aren't all that smart. With their roly-poly physiques and empty brains, they are also absolutely defenseless. And, no coincidence here, they are mostly Americans-- or at least it certainly looks that way.

The messages in Wall-E aren't that difficult to grasp: Dirt [ i.e. Nature] isn't dirty. Virtual anything will never replace the power of human touch, sight, taste, and feelings. We need to take care of the planet. We need to take care of each other. We need to wake up and not let the powers that be tell us what to do. We're in charge of determining our own directives.

Wall-E could easily offend the wrong person, but if it does offend them, it is probably offending the right people--because those are the ones that most need to listen. We all need to listen. That's why Wall-E is an infinitely important film to see--no matter what planet you're on.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

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