I love it when Science Fiction is taken seriously. I just saw Wall-E, the Pixar film, and it is truly wonderful. Frank Rich wrote a great column about how much more this film is saying than either candidate running for President. Check out his column–and check out the film.
Wall-E, like most Pixar films, is written well–playing on two tracks simultaneously: one for kids, one for adults. Wall-E and Eve could be a silent film–but it’s also the same comedy that fuels other Pixar short films, where there is usually no dialogue, and also has E.T. and the droids of Star Wars to thank for their non-verbal comedy.
The film does have great characters–again, I am shocked by how well minor characters are portrayed. Full arcs for the Captain of this floating Cruise Ship; for the two cruise passengers; for the cleaning robot; for AutoPilot. The heroes are well drawn too–ultimately sacrificing what they wanted for each other. When I got to that moment–call me a writing geek–but I smiled because it was just thing to complete these main character arcs–that sacrifice, especially in a love story. It had an O. Henry moment for a minute.
But in this age where all we can do is stare down a variety of Tunnels to Apocalypse, science fiction is telling the tales we are listening to. We’re either looking at a life changed by climate change, mass consumerism, lack of exercise…etc. Wall-E serves as a cautionary tale slipped in through the side door of a romantic comedy. When you get to the line “We have to get off our butts and do something” you know that the film has nudged you just a little. But it’s okay because the story is so compelling. It’s not a story written to tell a message; it’s a story that happens to have a message.