Sunday, June 29, 2008

WALL-E: Reviewed and Linked

Last night I saw the new animated film WALL-E at Atlanta's Starlite Drive-In, my favorite place to see films in Atlanta. I actually went to see Iron Man but thought WALL-E might be a cute distraction before Robert Downey Jr. turned in his surprisingly great interpretation of Tony Stark. Out of nowhere WALL-E floored me with its beautiful, sometimes almost life-like, animation while touching on questions involving the environment and the role of artificial intelligence as seen through the eyes of two robots looking for love. The love story between the film's star WALL-E, a trash receptor, and Eve, an information retrieval unit sent to earth in search of life after humans left the planet 700 years earlier due to an environmental catastrophe, is touching and surprisingly moving. However, the very overt environmental message took me by surprise. Earth is portrayed as a garbage strewn wasteland wherein only WALL-E the trash collector still exists, building skyscrapers out of condensed trash and hanging on to trinkets of the now departed human race. The emphasis on human laziness and dependency on technology to create luxury free of personal responsibility is also very overt and raises a number of questions for those who see technology as an escape from thinking and doing for oneself and those around you. The film's environmental awareness is especially timely given the current questions facing America and the world concerning use of energy sources.

The new and overt environmental awareness exhibited by mainstream Disney films such as WALL-E and conservative politicians such as John McCain seemed unlikely a few years ago, but now seems common with the advent of high gas prices and the questions raised by increasing energy costs and the realities of global warming. A film such as WALL-E serves as a fun but eye opening example of just how much America has changed in regards to environmental awareness. We are truly seeing a paradigm shift in America as the mainstream embraces the realities of environmental degradation. Hopefully the heart tugging love story shown in WALL-E will serve as a model for those who want to further reach out to skeptics through mainstream outlets.

The following books are owned by the CFL and deal in some way with issues raised by WALL-E.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
394.12 POLLAN
Pollan, Michael
An excellent examination of the food we eat, where it comes from, what it does to us, and how it effects the world we live in.

Artificial Intelligence: A Beginner's Guide
006.3 WHIT
Whitby, Blay

Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World
363.738 BRAAS
Braasch, Gary

-Christopher Bishop

3 comments:

Melissa said...

I know you're a high school librarian... but maybe you're familiar with Bill Peet's The Wump World?

The Librarians said...

I had not heard of Wump World before but I plan on checking out a copy from the library after reading the synopsis and reviews. Thanks for the suggestion!

shawnw said...

I can't wait to see that movie in theaters. I have heard nothing but good things about it.

Iron Man was great.