Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is he judging you with those awfully cute eyes?

This past weekend Apples and I saw Wall-E, the latest offering by Pixar, the uber-studio who brought you Finding Nimo, The Incredibles, and Monsters Inc.

Now I'm not in the business of doing movie reviews, and in fact I haven't written about a movie since I wrote about another Pixar hit, Ratatouille. But if you've seen this movie, you'll know why its subject matter pertains to this blog; and if you haven't, I'll try not to completely spoil it for you.

The setting is 700+ years in the future, and mankind has been floating around space waiting for a team of robots to clean up the mess we've made on Earth. Unfortunately, only one remains operational - our hero Wall-E, and the first part of the movie follows his day-to-day operations.

Ok, so at this point the movie is completely harmless; just a cute robot doing cute robot things.

But after the introduction of another character (Eve) and a plant, we're transported to a massive space ship where the bulk of mankind resides - and I use the word bulk carefully, because everyone is fat. And I'm not talking a few pounds overweight fat, I'm talking about can't walk anymore because robots do it for us, feed us like industrial farm cattle, and shove images in front of our face so that we'd never have to turn out necks to see what's around us.

To a certain extent, there's a great irony in this message, as pointed out by the bloggers at Rethinking Youth (link from Andrew Sullivan's blog).

This film warns us of the dangers of mass consumerism, inactivity, and general gluttony, while feeding it to us at the same time - what activity in our modern lives indulges in these three sins more than movie watching? You're paying money to sit perfectly still and watch commercials for almost a half hour before the movie starts (and even when it does, product placement is so rampant these days, that you're in for another two hours of ads) while eating (fake) butter drenched popcorn and HFCS filled snacks.

As we left the theatre, I commented to Apples on how bad every overweight person in the room must have felt after watching that movie. While I'm all about the message of taking care and responsibility for yourself, and fighting against the whole mass-consumerism culture, I found the messenger to be an odd one; but I guess a message that strong and that harsh is best delivered with awfully cute eyes.

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