Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 2, 2009

Wall-E

Filed under: Ecology,Film,racism — louisproyect @ 6:37 pm

The Disney animated feature Wall-E received many Academy Award nominations including one for best original screenplay. It was also named the best animated feature by my colleagues in NYFCO, a group that I obviously have much more respect for. Since the movie supposedly embraces environmentalist values, I finally decided to order it from Netflix despite my misgivings over anything associated with Walt Disney.

It turns out my misgivings were well-founded.

Wall-E is the acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class, the robot star of the movie who is a blend of R2-D2 and ET, in other words just the kind of cuddly creature that can lend itself to vast ancillary sales in toy stores. (One Wall-E replica sells for $49.95 on amazon.com.)

For the first 20 minutes or so, we follow Wall-E on his daily rounds as he wheels around an uninhabited metropolis that is literally deluged with garbage. His job is to sweep up the garbage, compact it, and stack it in heaps that are now as tall as the buildings. Although we don’t learn why or how it came to pass, the robot possesses a human personality that leads it to salvage bits and pieces of junk that strike its fancy, including a diamond ring in a blue velvet box. He throws out the ring and saves the box, one of the few genuinely comical touches in this grating film.

We eventually learn that the earth has become uninhabitable. All of its inhabitants are now in a space station far from earth where their every need is attended to by robots. So pampered are they that they have lost the ability to walk on their feet. More corpulent than anybody ever seen in a Minnesota shopping mall, they look rather like Jabba the Hutt. One gets the strong sense that director Andrew Stanton doesn’t care much for overweight people. Ironically, he cast Jeff Garlin as the voice of the captain of the space station. Best known for his role as Larry David’s agent on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, Garlin has struggled with weight issues all his life. A N.Y. Times magazine profile reveals how serious his problems are:

I eat some food and gain some weight. If it were a logical thing, I’d be having a great time all the time. But it’s not, and I don’t know how to fix it. I know that I don’t want my kids to have eating issues. My mother didn’t understand a proper serving, but I don’t blame her. That’s how she was taught. But you’ve got to say, “I’m not passing that down.”

A robot named Eve (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) eventually joins Wall-E on the ruined planet. She has been sent there from the space station in order to look for vegetation. Like other Disney movies, the two robots fall in love just like Lady and the Tramp, or Bambi and Faline. Since the two robots are rather weak in the character development department, their relationship just doesn’t generate a lot of warmth-at least that was my reaction. It is rather like seeing one vacuum cleaner French kissing another, if you gather my drift.

As it turns out, Wall-E has already discovered a plant before Eve’s arrival. Once she discovers it in his shack, her mission is accomplished and a space ship returns to earth to bring her back to the space station with her discovery. Since poor Wall-E can’t live without her at this point, so to speak, he hitches a ride on the rocket and returns with her for the final two-thirds of the movie, which I found utterly uninspired. It turns into a struggle between our lovable robot couple and the computer controlling the space station, which has decided that a return to earth is futile.

Played by Sigourney Weaver, the computer is an obvious imitation of the one that ran the space ship in 2001. Indeed, one of the more notable aspects of this movie is its almost feverish desire to recycle movie iconography from the past 50 years or so. The plot itself borrows from Waterworld, I, Robot, and Artificial Intelligence: AI. Meanwhile, Wall-E’s comical peregrinations are an obvious homage to Charlie Chaplin and Woody Allen’s robot turn in Sleeper. I strongly suspect that a failure of imagination led to this reliance on pastiche.

But my real problem was with the movie’s faux environmentalism. While the planet is suffering from a crisis of corporate pollution and waste products, the movie is so detached from what is happening today that its message would be lost on any analytically minded child, or adult for that matter.

There is also the issue of the movie’s fat phobia. Despite my distaste for Spiked Magazine, a libertarian publication out of Great Britain, I think that they are on to something when it comes to fat phobia:

One of the more depressing things about the constant talk of an obesity epidemic that is killing us all, and most particularly our children, is the media’s constant readiness to give room to almost any nonsense so long as the word fat appears in it, while ignoring significant research that fails to fit the now-conventional wisdom that ‘being fat = death’.

Recently this trend has been on display in the way in which the British press has uncritically reported the views of Professor David Hunter of Durham University. Described by the Daily Telegraph as a ‘leading public health expert’, Hunter has claimed that the UK National Health Service (NHS) will become unaffordable due to the costs of treating obesity-related diseases, opined that obesity requires ‘strong action’ from government, and demanded that the government require tobacco-like warnings on foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar. Claiming that the obesity epidemic posed as significant a threat as terrorism, Hunter derided the official response as nothing more than ‘piddling’. According to Hunter, half the British population will be obese by 2032.

Despite the fact that most critics agreed with the N.Y. Times’s A.O. Scott that the movie advances “a critique of corporate consumer culture”, director Andrew Stanton disavows any such intention, stating in one interview:

I hate to not be able to fuel where you want to go, but it’s not where I was coming from. I knew I was going into that kind of territory, but I didn’t have a particular message to push. I don’t have a political or ecological message. I don’t mind that it supports that view, it’s a good citizen way to be, but everything I wanted to do was based on the love story.

Just a final word on the Disney corporation, which has the gall to distribute this movie and produce others like Madagascar in the save the planet vein. This is a predatory corporation that seeks to impose its culture on the rest of the world. Before Disney sold WABC radio to Citadel Broadcasting (the financially ravaged company has just be delisted from the NY Stock Exchange), it gave a voice to some of the worst pro-corporate and pro-pollution personalities on the planet, from Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity.

Earlier Disney products

And that’s the “enlightened” Disney Corporation of today. Let’s never forget how it got started:

Green Left Weekly, March 31, 2004
An American icon
Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince

By Marc Elliot

Andre Deutsch, 2003
305 pages, $30 (pb)
Review by Phil Shannon

“Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Walt?”, read the placards of striking Disney cartoonists in 1941, mocking the popular lyric from Walt Disney’s Three Little Pigs. They were on to something, because Disney, whose name is synonymous with “wholesome family entertainment”, had a dark side every bit as bad as his cartoon wolf.

Disney spied for the FBI for a quarter of a century, red-baited and wrecked Hollywood careers and lives, and teamed up with organised crime to deny his workers a union. He was a virulent anti-Semite strongly sympathetic to fascism.

Disney, whose films were praised by the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover as “dedicated to the highest standards of moral values”, had a self-serving understanding of good and evil. Marc Elliott’s new muckraking biography demonstrates that Disney was as capable of black deeds as the next reactionary capitalist.

Terrifying paternal violence had left its mark on the young Disney, who was to bully and intimidate his employees, particularly the restive ones, throughout his career.

Born in 1901, Disney broke through to animation success in 1928 with Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie (Disney did Mickey’s screen voice for seven years). The non-sexual, apolitical, harmless mouse made Disney a favourite of a conservative film industry. His Silly Symphonies set to classical music, and his “golden age” (1937-42) of animated features (Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Dumbo, Fantasia) consolidated Disney’s reputation as a major, and politically safe, animator. Wealth and Oscars were his reward.

How Disney made his fame and riches, however, is the ugly underbelly to his celebrated cartoons. In a labour-intensive industry (it took 14,000 drawings to make a 10-minute cartoon), Disney was obsessed with keeping wages low and unions out, thus generating chronic grievances in his workforce of more than 1000.

While Disney was pocketing US$2000 a week in 1941, his highest paid artists got only $300, inkers and painters (the lowest paid of the creative staff) only $18, and apprentices a less-than-subsistence US$6. Favourites were unfairly rewarded, hours were long and overtime unpaid.

Wages were docked for minor breaks from work, all employees having to punch a Bundy time machine every time they left their drawing board for whatever reason – getting a drink, going to the toilet or sharpening a pencil. There was arbitrary dismissal for “immorality” whenever Disney’s puritanical “house rules” were breached. Disney took all public credit for the creative process, the lack of screen credits for his animators resulting in non-recognition and poor career prospects in the industry.

Disney’s workers were ripe for organising. The Screen Cartoonists’ Guild (SCG) had become a local of the Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers union in 1941 and secured good contracts at Warner Brothers and MGM. Disney had formed a “company union” to ward off the SCG, but 400 of Disney’s workers rejected it and signed SCG pledge cards. Disney’s illegal sacking of 20 leaders of the organising drive and his refusal to recognise the SCG, drove Disney workers to strike in May 1941.

Half the workforce struck and picketed, for nine weeks. Solidarity actions upped the pressure – the Screen Actors’ Guild donated to the strike fund, printers forced the withdrawal of the Mickey Mouse comic strip from the dailies, Disney film processing was banned by technicians at the Technicolour and Pathe labs. Theatres were picketed and his films boycotted.

Nervously stressed, Disney’s facial tics, obsessive hand-washing and juvenile stubbornness to negotiate, forced his brother, Roy, to send him out of the country and settle the crippling strike. The SCG was recognised, all sacked activists rehired, wages increased and paid vacations granted.

Disney, however, was an anti-communist zealot who saw the strike as a Jewish-Marxist plot to destroy him. He sought vengeance. The day after the strike ended, he sacked a leading activist (for the fifth time), Art Babbitt (creator of Goofy and the best bits of Fantasia – like the dancing mushrooms piece). Babbitt, a brilliant animator, was described by Disney as “head sewer rat” of the Cartoonists’ Guild. Other top animators and activists were sacked or fled to studios with better working conditions, higher pay, on-screen credits and a chance to use their creative skills free from the cloying sentimentality of the Disney-cute style.

Propaganda films for the US military during World War II, heavily subsidised by the government, made Disney tidy wartime profits, though the “anti-fascism” of an anti-Semite who had attended American Nazi Party rallies and was entertained by Mussolini at his private villa, stopped short of supporting Hitler’s Jewish and socialist victims.

Disney rejected a request to make an animation film on Christian/Jewish unity in the face of the Nazi nightmare and the proposal to have cartoon farmyard animals stamping out ”weasel words of hate” against Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds was seen by Disney as “promoting communism” because a Rhode Island Red could only be a symbolic communist!

Disney, who believed the war should really have targeted the Soviet Union, took his anti-communist crusade into the heart of Hollywood. With Disney’s eager assent, he was made an FBI informer in 1940. He filed dozens of reports on Hollywood “subversives”.

As a founder member and vice-president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (a rabid anti-communist organisation of right-wing Hollywood celebrities funded by the major studio heads), Disney was instrumental in getting the government red-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to investigate Hollywood. HUAC destroyed the careers, and sometimes the lives, of hundreds of Hollywood radicals and liberals.

Disney, who appeared at the hearings as a “friendly witness”, falsely named Herb Sorrell (1941 strike leader from the Painters’ Union) as a communist with the intention, successfully achieved, of destroying Sorrell’s progressive Conference of Studio Unions, which had succeeded the painters’ union, and allowing the gangster-run International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) to take control in the industry.

Sorrell never recovered, dying from a heart attack soon after. He was only in his 30s. The career of former Disney animator and strike leader, Dave Hilberman, was destroyed, too, after Disney named him to HUAC.

Disney actively supported the Hollywood blacklist which was insidiously effective – the merest whisper of a name was enough to do irreparable career damage. Depression, premature death and suicide could, and did, follow. Others were forced into exile – like Charlie Chaplin (‘the little Commie’, snarled a gloating Disney).

Disney continued to clean his own turf of all those not sharing his reactionary politics. The writer, Aldous Huxley, was working for Disney on Alice in Wonderland but was sacked after he protested the bloody beating of his picketing son by IATSE underworld goons.

When Disney died in 1966, Walt Disney Productions had become one of the wealthiest studios in the world and it continues to rake in the profits. Disney’s anti-worker and anti-union spirit lives on – strict dress and grooming codes (from fingernails to ‘fancy underwear’) – are enforced at Disney’s theme parks around the globe and when Disneyland staff in California threatened a strike in 1991 over a facial hair ban, their strike leader was sacked.

Walt Disney’s carefully cultivated image is that of a creative, and highly moral, genius. He did have a genius of a sort – a genius for making profits, for breaking unions, for exploiting workers, for glory-hogging, for spying and informing, and for red-baiting and ruining the lives of anyone who threatened to interrupt the flow of wealth to Disney. He is truly an ”American icon” – an icon of capitalist USA.

41 Comments »

  1. For an interesting piece on Disney’s politics, see ‘Leni, Walt and Walter: Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaften’ here at Esther Leslie’s site.

    Comment by Dr Paul — March 2, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  2. Interesting stuff on Disney. I knew he was fervently anti-labor, and it seems to me that Richard Schickel claims Disney made a point of wearing a Goldwater button to the White House when he went there to accept the Medal of Freedom from LBJ in 1964. But so far as Nazi sympathies go, that’s news to me.

    The depth of the Disney cult among many people was an amazing thing when I was a kid. I remember a teacher of mine getting choked up when one of my classmates gave a biographical report on Disney in speech class, exclaiming that “She didn’t know if he was actually cryogenically frozen, but that she just prayed to god that he was and that he was one of the few people she knew of in history who actually deserved to be brought back to life so he could entertain us some more”. That’s Amurrika, or at least Fairbanks, Alaska in 1971.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — March 2, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

  3. Another concise, informative, entertaining piece by Louis P. Take a look at Bambi and Dumbo — among others. They’re set up to traumatize children. And they did.

    Comment by J. Marlin — March 3, 2009 @ 12:30 am

  4. WALL-E is an amazing, beautiful film that has won and deserved many Best Picture awards and will endure for decades. Whine about politics and totally miss the point and the magic, you fool.

    Comment by Matt — March 3, 2009 @ 1:51 am

  5. God forbid anybody should step outside the established discourse on a set piece of work. If a film recives best picture awards and has the potential to endure for decades, it must be magic and brilliant. That must mean stuff which is largely disregarded by the critics and is forgotten must be mundane and mediocre. So much for Oscar Micheaux and Dusty Fletcher. Their sly film commentaries on the realities of race and class in the United States must have just been whining. Silly rabbits.

    Comment by MIchael Hureaux — March 3, 2009 @ 2:51 am

  6. One thing interesting the scenes from The Jungle Book in the above clip is that both Balloo and King Louie were played by white jazz bandleaders (Phil Harris and Louie Prima). I don’t think Balloo was ever supposed to seem “black”, but I would wager that Disney intentionally cast Louie Prima to avoid charges of racism. Of course, choosing to identify the monkey character so strongly with jazz, claims of jazz’s multiracialism notwithstanding, seems a very dubious choice.

    On the “Wall-E” fat people debate, I have heard some people protesting that it’s not that the humans are meant to be fat, just infantalised– hence the stubby fingers and toes. There is probably truth in this, but at the end of the day, you’re so right, Louis, the choice of Jeff Garlin for the captain’s role– as well as Kathy Najimy for the only speaking female human role– makes charges of anti-fatism impossible to evade.

    Comment by Quin — March 3, 2009 @ 4:28 am

  7. 30% missing the point and 70% angry, non-sequitur politics. That’s a strange way to review a movie, Louis.

    I’m no fan of Walt Disney’s politics myself, but savaging WALL-E because the founder of the company that distributed the movie was a nazi 60 years ago is a bit of a stretch. And connecting the movie with a fanatical sugar-obsessed do-gooder because there are fat people in it? Come on – try actually critiquing the movie instead of using it as an excuse to get angry at people.

    If you’d *watched* the movie rather than tried to wrap politics around every scene, you might have seen what… well…, pretty much everyone *else* in the world saw – imagination, humor, and some damned fine rendering. Politics is all well and good, but when you can’t watch a CG sci-fi movie without thinking about labor unions and self-promoting college professors, it’s time to take a step back.

    Comment by PeriSoft — March 3, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  8. Sorry, I really wanted to enjoy it but I found the final 2/3rd’s quite annoying. It mostly consisted of robots careening around the space station–a spectacle that I also found quite boring in “I, Robot”. This is not to say that you can’t make a good cartoon feature about robots. “The Iron Giant” is one of my favorite movies, but it relied on the interaction between the robot and the boy who loved him. I just found Wall-E and Eve uninteresting.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 3, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  9. Lou

    What’s unbelievable is the director’s statement that he is not giving the audience a message about ecology or consumerism, but that his Wall-E is simply a love story. That would be analogous to Jean Anouilh’s noting that his version of “Antigone,” produced during the early 1940s, is simply an homage to the Greek tragedy, having nothing to do with urging rebellion against Nazi authority. What’s he afraid of, that if the buzz is about the political viewpoint, no-one will pay to see it? If Wall-E is to stand on its love story, maybe the film is a statement about how romance has become robotic. While at least one of your readers found the final 2/3 of the movie to be irritating, the first part, wherein the female robot drones on and on calling “Wall-E!” “Wall-E” is unbelievably vapid.

    A.O. Scott, by the way.

    Comment by Harvey Karten — March 3, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  10. I really enjoyed it, despite its lack of a political position I can agree with 100%, and its dangerous anthropomorphism, I found it gently amusing and fun.

    And what’s all this fat-fear nonsense? I’m all for being allowed to smoke and eat as much as I like but we’re putting a lot more dodgy fat, sugar and salt into our bodies than before, while doing less exercise. Is this really a deniable cause of ill health?

    Comment by Tom — March 4, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  11. Tom

    First you say “what’s all this fat-fear nonsense,” then contradict yourself by admitting that we’re putting too much fat into our bodies. I’m guessing that the fat guys in the film are symbolic of laziness rather than simply eating too much. The director’s comment that he did not mean his film to be an ecological statement is belied by his obvious disgust with what’s going on in the developed world today. Often writers and directors will deny any allegorical meaning: that’s just their style. The aforementioned Jean Anouilh, whose version of “Antigone” in 1941 is a veiled call to resist the Nazis, would have been hanged or shot if he admitted ulterior political motives.

    Comment by Harvey Karten — March 4, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  12. Wall-E’s writer had this to say about the fat characters:

    “one of the consultants to NASA and his expertise was long term residency in space and the reason we don’t send a man out to Mars right now is because if we do, they’ll come back with almost no bones because disuse atrophy will kick in with very little gravity and osteoporosis will occur and you will lose a large percentage of your bones, and you’ll just be this jello blob.”

    But the thing is, the Axiom (the ship they’re on), has Earthlike gravity. And long before we’re given the bone density excuse, we see hordes of people on futuristic hoverrounds with a milkshake in one hand. There was some great physical comedy in the first few scenes, but once the narrative shifted to space, it was all downhill, except for that one scene that had Wall-E flying around on a fire extinguisher. But for the most part this movie really disgusted me. I’m glad it only cost me $2 to see it.

    Comment by John — March 5, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  13. I didn’t like this movie, but your review is flat. It was heavy handed, not in an “environmental” way (which I didn’t really even notice) but more on a wannabe-robot-love-story way.

    Comment by lasfjd — March 8, 2009 @ 5:15 am

  14. I just saw this film on video and I truely disliked it. Maybe I need human forms or at least animal ones for a supposed love story to make sense, even at a superficial level. People’s fascination with technological cleverness in film is something I cannot relate to. After the first few minutes, this was boring, boring, boring. And the writer’s/director’s contempt for the human race, all the while reeling in money for the same supposed reliance on technology is uber-hypocritical.

    Comment by Bluegreenbody — March 8, 2009 @ 6:10 am

  15. Wall-E deserves, at the very least, credit for defying the conventions of all major animated movies of the past 2 decades.

    As for Walt, he was indeed anti-union, but the nazi and Mussolini connections are fabricated. And if you think those cartoons are racist, you haven’t seen what other cartoons were popular at the time. Try search Youtube for Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs.

    Comment by zb — March 24, 2009 @ 4:16 am

  16. Actually, the FBI spying may just be rumors: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1623/was-walt-disney-a-fascist

    Comment by Jenny — March 28, 2009 @ 4:31 am

  17. Wow, I’d say your Disney bias really got in the way of your review…

    Besides the fact that Walt Disney’s personal past is totally irrelevant to the production and themes of this movie, you seemed to have a list of inferred issues which you set out to bash, rather than talk about the quality of this film.

    I have not yet seen this movie, and after reading your review, I still know nothing about it…

    And as far as the whole “director hating fatness” issue, think about the scenario… If people are lounging around all day every day, they are going to be over-weight. And yes, I’m sure the film was trying to make a corellation between the fatness of the characters in the movie and that of modern day humans, but i’m not sure I disagree with that… Being obese is not a good thing people. I’m not saying that making fun of overweight people is ever justified, but if our children can be convinced to lead healthy lives through a gateway such as Wall-E, then i’m all for it.

    Comment by Jeremy Tabor — April 11, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  18. Louis, what’s wrong with you man? Did you really even watch the movie? I ask that because you have an awful lot of inaccuracies contained within your review, if you want to even call it a review. I am currently a college student taking an argumentative writing class and the first rule to follow when you are justifying an evaluation is not to show BIAS. You must be objective rational with your argument. This review is obviously just a gateway to crack on the Walt Disney coporation for whatever reason, but you let that get into the way of what the movie was about. I don’t care whether you like or hate a movie. That is what makes this country so great. But you are a writer, so at least have credible sources to support your opinions and work. By the way, Madacascar was released by Dreamworks, not Disney. Like I said, check your sources. Personally, as hateful as this column was, I wouldn’t be suprised if you were the one who suffers from this so-called FAT-phobia. Your review seems to be the only one, good or bad, that makes such a big deal about the obvious. I am merely doing research for a paper, but after reading this garbage, now I know how to not write my paper, so thanks for that. Oh yeah I almost forgot to inform you that the AUTO pilot was the one who took over the ship. The computer who is played by Sigourney Weaver (suprising you got that right) is a separate entity who teaches the Captain about Earth.

    Comment by Rudy — April 21, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

  19. Sorry I got cut off and I had one more thing to say. Louis, if this is how you write all of your columns, then you might want to reconsider what you do for a living. Seriously because the people who eat this stuff up must be weak-minded and shallow.

    Comment by Rudy — April 21, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

  20. good. someone besides me has an objecting to the fat bashing in Wall E.

    Comment by greghousesgf — May 12, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  21. I think that, since you hated Disney in the first place and had ‘misgivings’ about the movie before you watched it, you had decided beforehand that it would be a horrible movie. If you are a GOOD critic, you should be fair and impartial and start watching a movie without having a low opinion before you view it. Shame on you. You suck.

    Comment by Lillian Tsao — June 14, 2009 @ 12:25 am

  22. “Just a final word on the Disney corporation, which has the gall to distribute this movie and produce others like Madagascar in the save the planet vein.”

    Madagascar was not a movie made and distributed by Disney. Difficult to fact-check when one is so rash, eh?

    A more appropriate substitute might be Disney’s recently released Planet Earth, the nerve! (Especially after Disney’s older films that propagated the myth about lemmings (http://www.snopes.com/disney/film/lemmings.asp) … though might blame the computer game)

    Comment by Alec — June 24, 2009 @ 3:10 am

  23. To the dumbass who wrote this review:
    WALL-E’s a great movie, you f***ing retard! It’s not overrated – it’s one of the most underrated movies out there! You have horrible taste in movies and you’re 100% wrong about this one!
    Go f**k yourself!

    Comment by Anonymous Chick — August 14, 2009 @ 1:06 am

  24. So Walt Disney is dead, and therefore probably didn’t have TOO much to do with Wall-E (the name of the movie). And here’s something, the people at Pixar have literally nothing to do with any animated Disney movie ever. I guess that sort of knocks out more than half of what you wrote, doesn’t it.

    Now then, you literally miss the point of the movie. Wall-E and Eve (and most of the other robots in the movie for that matter) show an overwhelming amount of personality for the robots that they are. They have clear motives and personality traits that are expressed through intentionally restrictive exteriors, and if that’s what you can’t wrap your mind around, please discover imagination. The fact that they can’t outwardly express as much as a human being is what makes watching them so unusual and interesting. Their interactions are completely innovative and to call them rip-offs is wrong. Sure they’re REMINISCENT of other sci-fi robots, but that’s like saying Star Trek is a ripoff of Star Wars, or something equally as anal.

    But uh-oh, we’re all still pretty caught up on how there are fat people in the movie, aren’t we? All I can say is that the people who find fault with the presence of gelatinous humans in this movie are the same people who are suing McDonalds to compensate for their own weight issues. Y’know why Jeff Garlin didn’t turn down the role? Because the movie isn’t ABOUT obesity! The captain’s character is about him discovering the beauty in what’s around him and not taking it for granted. If you’re too hung up on weight issues to enjoy the creative nature of the movie, that’s your own problem.

    All Wall-E is saying is that we can’t get swept up by the seductions of comfort and that we need to clean up the messes we make. It’s actually very relevant to today. The world is changing fast and the morals of this movie are a reminder to stay grounded and responsible. Way to argue against that.

    ps- http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1623/was-walt-disney-a-fascist

    Comment by Kyle — August 22, 2009 @ 9:30 am

  25. So…a completely innocent story of two cute little robots who, through their romance, remind humanity’s remnant of what it means to be human is “fat-phobic” and therefore evil because Disney also supports conservatives. I get it now.

    WALL-E is a fantastic movie. It’s a sweet, innocent romance that critiques consumerism without being preachy. Look around you. Sure, not everyone who’s fat can help it, but most CAN. WALL-E portrays humanity’s remnants as overweight to critique America’s obsession with entertainment and being served. The humans do nothing; therefore they are fat.

    I have watched most of Disney’s movies and do not think they are racist. Adolf Hitler was racist. Van Jones is racist. Disney is not racist. Get a freakin’ life.

    Comment by Animation Fan — September 20, 2009 @ 4:51 am

  26. Maybe if Wall-E had inspired the robots to take over the means of production, formed an unelected, tyrranical dictatorship, then murdered millions of people who happenened not to agree with the way things were run, you would have liked the film.

    Comment by Gracchus — November 6, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

  27. it’s funny how the robots in wall-e are more human than the robot that written this review, i bet your personal life is miserable, i just can’t understand people who links politics with G rated animation, this is a great movie you heartless snob!

    Comment by jason — November 27, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

  28. it’s funny how the robots in wall-e are more human than the robot that written this review, i bet your personal life is miserable, i just can’t understand people who links politics with G rated animation, this is a great movie you heartless snob! (to author – pay attention to above comment)

    WALL-E is great, fantastic movie. (PIXAR’s movie, not DISNEY’S – huge difference in between the 2). Also I wonder how you did not find any positivity in WALL-E??? The main message of this movie is message of LOVE and magic of its power and all the rest we see in the movie are secondary but important messages projected in witty way. Check your feelings… if WALL-E did not enriched your feelings, and if you did not find any value in it, then you must have some issues to deal with… mainly emotional. Take off your dark glasses…

    Comment by Jim Eric — December 21, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

  29. The makers of this film did not have this “Fat-Phobia” you speak of. Don’t you know one of the issues that NASA is trying to rectify in sending a man to Mars? It’s Gravity, or the lack there of. You spend enough time away from any source of Gravity, and your body grows weaker and weaker, to the point were you can’t even move. This movie captured that perfectly which I praise it for. Maybe you can try your Disney conspiracies with Toy Story 3.

    Comment by Will — March 2, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  30. Its a MOVIE. It doesn’t have to be a cry to people to save the environment. Just focus on what’s in the movie and less on what’s not.

    Comment by mean_machines — March 19, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  31. I don’t care about the politics or environmental message of the movie–if there was meant to be one.

    As a movie and story, it was just plain ‘ol weak–I didn’t find it pushed the buttons the way Disney flicks used to be able to. I agree with the comment about two vacuum cleaners kissing. The chemistry just wasn’t there. Pet cockroach wasn’t all that cute either.

    C’mon if you going to give me a sappy heart-touching movie, give me the works–the scene with Dumbo and his mother in jail? Now that’s as emotional as it gets.

    Comment by Theresa — May 2, 2010 @ 5:56 pm

  32. Listen to all of you going into elaborate educated middle-class movie critic detail about the politics and messages in the movie! You’ve all lost the plot! You are the very sickness in society that Pixar should be doing an animation movie on! I just watched the movie with my 6 year old daughter and SHE and I both loved it! As did 99% of all the NORMAL people out there did! At the end of the day it’s a cartoon movie with a lovely little robot love story and nice little message about fat corporate society. It’s a story! And it’s a great little story! What is it with you people? Are you jealous that you can’t make movies yourself or something?

    You are forgetting 2 major points in your review.

    1. Kids
    2. Normal people

    Don’t get me wrong, I mean after all, isn’t this a reasonably large part of the Disney/Pixar target audience?

    Get off your computers, get out of your offices, get out of the city and go do some farming out on the land yourself for a while!

    Comment by Joe — August 21, 2010 @ 7:09 am

  33. It’s very telling that of all of the reviews on Rotten Tomato, yours is the only negative one. I think that your biggest problem with the movie was having the word “Disney” attached to it. Or maybe you’re overweight and over-sensitive. Whatever the reason, you really need to check your agenda at the door and just enjoy the movie.

    Comment by Incog — July 7, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  34. Wall-E is one of the best films of recent years. This isn’t so much a review as a rant on Disney. Focus on the movie and you might actually like it when all the blurred build up you’ve created is stripped away.

    Comment by Dan — November 4, 2011 @ 8:39 am

  35. This isn’t a film review, it’s a review of Disney as a company. As such, it shouldn’t be on a film review site like Rotten Tomatoes. By the way, I thought Wall E was a beautiful film.

    Comment by Mark — November 20, 2011 @ 4:01 am

  36. Somebody wasn’t loved much during their childhood huh? It’s been 4 years since Wall-e’s release and since then I still watch it to this day. I’m aware of thee “agenda” Disney co. may have but that’s like the same with any other major corporation. The US gov has agendas the public is unaware of for Christ sake (you dont think your government wouldn’t trade your life for their own sake?). One’s own arrogance, ignorance or whatever word that ends with “-ance” should not waiver or stray away from a movie viewing experience. More importantly Wall-e was a movie that evoked feeling, thought, and the pursuit of what it truly means to be “HUMAN” under the guise of a post apocalyptic world caused by the consumerism of man (which in retrospect at the time of the film’s release was possible). I haven’t been thrilled about a Disney movie with hardly any dialogue since “Fantasia,” never imagining the words “Apocalyptic” and “Beautiful” could be used in the same sentence. Wall-e is Disney and Pixar’s best and most successful film to date since Toy Story 1 and 2. And if you are unable to invoke those feelings that makes man, woman, even robot to feel humane without the use of explosions or overtly ambiguous 1 hour dialogue exchanges, then you can go F’ yourself.

    Comment by Yo Mama Dares You To Respond — July 17, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  37. I agree with Yo Mama (lol) Wall-e was about the message and feelings the movie provokes in you. Everyone has a directive in life. Wall-e’s was to pick up trash, Eve was to find life on Earth, and the Captain was to do his duties with the aid of Automatons. However they each forget about their primary directives they were destined for and chose their own directives. Wall-e didn’t want to lose his only friend after 700 years of cleaning up, Eve wanted only to save Wall-e and the Captain decided he was destined to go back to save Earth. That’s the underlying message, be yourself and go out into the world as isolation is not the key to living and will only be humanity’s bane. Make a friend, clasp their hands and never let go. Plant a seed and bring some life back into this society dictated by screens, smartphones and consumerism. As stupid as some of the scenes may be on the Axion, I for one actually know many people who are unaware of the world around them because they are busy watching TV or playing games. Even at social gatherings people sitting next to each other are texting rather than talking, hiding behind a screen for comfort. So mister Louis Proytect all I have to ask you is this, what is your TRUE DIRECTIVE?

    Comment by B — July 17, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  38. The US gov has agendas the public is unaware of for Christ sake

    I wish there would be a movie with that theme ;-)

    Comment by Harvey — July 18, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  39. i respectfully disagree, but still not a bad review, and a fantastic movie

    Comment by Angrybuffalo — October 21, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  40. I honestly read every single comment here so far and all I have to say is this: This review, sucks.
    Every single +rep 4 Movie comment here, normal
    Every single -rep 4 Movie comment here, THEY at least explained themselves and their opinions are honored
    Conclusion, please exit this ride known as life and kindly LEAVE… thank you.

    Comment by Bill Garison — August 12, 2013 @ 5:45 am

  41. I didn’t like Wall E for years but now that I’ve seen it, it’s not so bad. I just didn’t like the fact that they used footage of “The Happiest Millionaire” to save money on licensing.

    Comment by Lee — November 23, 2013 @ 6:40 pm


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