WALL-E director Andrew Stanton discusses the future predictions of the Pixar film and how upset he is that some of them are coming true. Released in 2008, WALL-E is one of Pixar’s most acclaimed and beloved films, it tells the story of a small, garbage-collecting robot in the distant future who slowly works to clean up an abandoned, garbage-infested Earth. WALL-E eventually meets EVE, a sleek new probe, and the two embark on an adventure across the galaxy. The film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards and went on to win Best Animated Film.
As part of the special function in WALL-E‘s recent release of Criterion Collection, shared courtesy of SlashFilm, director Andrew Stanton reveals that the film’s accurate predictions for the future actually upset him a bit. He explains that much of his vision of Earth’s future is primarily designed to serve WALL-E’s character arc and to create empathy for the movie’s lone little robot, while still feeling believable for public. Watch Stanton’s full commentary below:
“I said it in the doc: I don’t like being right about so many of those issues. I wasn’t trying to predict the future. It’s science fiction, not science fact. I was just trying to predict a believable future that you would buy so we could accept that maybe humanity left and this character was alone. It was very selfish, just for character investment, but you want to go with things that don’t distract you, like, “I’m not buying that,” because if the audience so they don’t invest in the main character. You go with as much logic as you can.’
How WALL-E also offers hope for the future
A lot of WALL-EThe first act establishes Stanton’s post-apocalyptic Earth, long ago abandoned by humans after environmental neglect and rampant consumerism, rendering the planet uninhabitable. The film later introduces future humans who have become so heavy that they rely on floating gravity chairs to traverse their new spaceship homes. Despite the Pixar film’s dark vision of the future, the film ends on a hopeful note: humans return to Earth to take their first steps unaided. Jeff Garlin’s Captain character even starts discussing what types of plants they should grow in the soil.
While the film doesn’t go into details about what’s next for humanity and the Earth in the story’s world, the ending of WALL-E suggests that it is not too late to turn things around when it comes to environmental issues and humanity’s attitude to the natural world. Like all Pixar movies, including Inside out, Soul, find nemo, coco, turn red, and most recently, light year, WALL-E is an adventure intended for all ages, meaning a happy, positive ending is a must. Real world climate change and environmental neglect have certainly had some lasting effects, but as the film suggests, it’s never too late to work towards a better world.
Of course, Stanton’s movie takes place far in the future and presents a vision of the earth that has not yet come true. While the specific plot points and world building in WALL-E may seem far-fetched now, it really is the film’s underlying themes that continue to resonate so powerfully. Pixar is known for tapping into universal emotions from audiences of all ages, and WALL-E remains one of the best examples of this, with the film’s themes becoming more relevant every day.
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