Wow, with the brilliant and delightfully subversive WALL-E , Steve Jobs almost redeems himself for Cars, his studio’s 2006 salute to stock-car racing and the planet-frying glory of internal combustion.
I took Duncan, my four-year-old to see this flick this afternoon (his review: "GREAT!"). I was impressed with the film’s subtle subversiveness; Buy N Large, the big-box megacorporation that ushers in the future abandonment of our completely trashed planet, is an obvious play on Wal-Mart. The humans have devolved into slurpee-sucking blobs who ride around in hoverchairs, obeying endless Buy N Large come-ons that feel a little creepily close to home: "We have everything that will make you happy!"
The turning point of WALL-E echoes an idea I’ve been playing with for months: We will only each begin to reclaim our future if we can find a way to take ourselves off "autopilot." Indeed, this is exactly what the obese Captain B. McCrea does in the nail-biting climax of the movie.
WALL-E ‘s green message is wrapped in a kind of goofy satire–palatable enough for the kids in Omaha, but cutting pretty damn close to the bone, given that many Disney Cruise Lines customers are, in fact, recliner-cradled hunks of lard who slurp sugar drinks through a straw and bark orders for shade umbrellas all day long.
Ironic downer footnote: After buying our tickets, the box-office clerk gave us a crappy vinyl WALL-E LCD wristwatch and a collection of plastic cards pimping another upcoming Disney flick (see above). The watch is a useless piece of crap. Disney’s marketing czars–one can only hope they didn’t see the film– doubtless ordered up zillions of the things, and just about every one of ‘em will be in the landfills within six months.
Either that, or some version of WALL-E will one day be sweeping them up and crushing them into tidy stackable cubes as we head for the waiting rocketships…