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Mary Margaret Guzman

Wall-e: Environmentalism in Animation


Animation films have always been targeted to the younger audience. It is normally a very
straightforward type of story meant to teach children a moral by the end of the film. And because
the target audience was children, animations for a very long time were formulaic. The
protagonist must fight or overcome a bad guy to get his/her prize usually in the form of a
prince or princess and they will live happy ever after. Throw in a song or two and you have a
film. For a very long time this was the face of animation, then came along Pixar.
Pixar revolutionized the film genre of animation. Yes, Pixar films are still targeted at younger
audiences and still have happy ever afters but beneath the simplistic story lies, it shows us deep
moving themes relevant to society. Pixar went beyond the simple stories and presented us deep,
thought provoking and intelligent films in the form of animation.
One of their latest films, Wall-e, is no exception. At its surface, Wall-e is a story of a lonely robot
named Wall-e left alone on earth after humans left for outer space who falls in love with Eve a
robot sent to earth to find signs of life. But beneath that, Wall-e is really a commentary on the
future of Earth and of mankind.
In its opening sequence, the film shows us a bleak landscape of an abandoned Earth riddled with
mountains of garbage. No life exists except for a cockroach and a single plant. This is kind of the
films prediction of the future. In this dystopic future, mankind exhausts the Earths resources
and completely destroys the planet making it inhabitable and lifeless as the result of hundreds of
years of greed and commercialization.
This speaks multitudes of our current situation and approach to nature. Mankind has consistently
become more and more commercialized and wasteful with very little efforts toward
sustainability. Year after year we pollute our oceans and river systems, we chop down our forests
and we release harmful chemicals and toxins to our land, water and air. I think mankind as a
whole fails to realize that the biggest threat to our existence is us. Wall-e presents a very real
threat to the fate of the planet and of our species.
Wall-e is a silent reminder to mankind that Earth is our host and our home and destroying the
Earth means destroying ourselves.

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