Thursday Thoughts: Why I Love WALL-E
If you follow me on TikTok (I’m sophieakatz there, too), then the following may sound familiar. But here I don’t need to limit myself to three minutes!
So Dan Povenmire, co-creator of the brilliant show Phineas and Ferb, posted a video to TikTok a couple months ago in which he said, “You do not love the movie WALL-E. You love the first forty minutes of the movie WALL-E.”
Now, if he had said that the first forty minutes of the movie WALL-E is his favorite part of the movie, I would’ve said, “Great!”
If he had said that the first forty minutes of the movie WALL-E is the best part of the movie, I would’ve said, “Okay, that’s fair!”
But to say that the first forty minutes of the movie WALL-E is the only part of the movie that anyone loves…
My gut reaction here was to give a long list of things I love that are in the last fifty-nine minutes of the movie WALL-E. But then I realized – that’s not the point.
The point isn’t that there are things in this movie that I love. The point is that I love WALL-E, as a whole movie, from beginning to end.
The story of WALL-E, the unifying theme of this movie, is about hope.
WALL-E the robot lives in an objectively terrible world. The Earth is covered in trash, and humankind gave up on trying to fix that centuries ago. They’ve given up on everything else, too. Nobody makes genuine human connections with other people anymore, or sees the beauty in nature anymore. Nobody works at anything or exerts any effort, except for the robots, but there’s no creativity or passion to their work; it’s just their narrow-minded job. No one has any joy, no one faces any challenges, and no one has any hope.
And then there’s WALL-E.
WALL-E, who still goes to work every day even though there’s no way he could ever finish the job. WALL-E, who looks at a pile of trash and sees treasure. WALL-E, who loves music and dancing and looking at the sky and seeing pretty stars. Who believes that when you meet someone, you should shake their hand and introduce yourself. Who wants nothing more than to connect with another being!
WALL-E thinks that the world is a wonderful place, and because WALL-E thinks that the world is a wonderful place, every person he meets in the second half of the film is transformed by him. They are inspired to step out of line, to move forward, to care about each other, and to care about the world. Ultimately, WALL-E puts all of humanity back on track!
The movie WALL-E is about how it doesn’t matter how far we fall. As long as one person, just one person, still believes that the world is a wonderful place, as long as one person still believes that it’s worth it to put effort into the world and to care about things and to care about each other, we can make a comeback.
If you stop watching after the first forty minutes – if WALL-E never changes anyone’s life – you miss out on the whole point of the movie. You miss out on the reason that this movie I fell in love with in 2008 is still my favorite movie today.