Honestly, I’m not even sure why people wouldn’t love WALL-E. When “WALL-E” came out in 2008, the critics loved it. It was hailed as masterpiece, won an Academy Award, and was Time magazine’s best movie of the decade. However I knew a lot of people who just didn’t like it. It was depressing. It was too heavy-handed and preachy. The main characters didn’t talk. It was boring. I heard a lot of complaints, the most common of which was ‘My kids didn’t like it.’ I didn’t understand. I still don’t.
It is my favorite Pixar movie and I would argue (and possibly might in a future blog) that is it the best of all the Pixar movies. I fell in love with WALL-E: his optimism, his need for connection, his self-sacrifice. He has more depth with little dialogue than many other characters in film animated or otherwise. There is no dialogue in the first 22 minutes of the movie which frustrated a lot of viewers. But for me, watching WALL-E go through his life, faithfully carrying out his duties in spite of his loneliness, was very engaging. The little robot doesn’t give up on his impossible task even though he is working alone. He rescues ‘treasures’ from the garbage dump that the planet has become. He loves the detritus of humanity and through humanity’s trash comes to love humanity itself. He doesn’t give up, even when he could or should. He never loses his optimism and sacrifices himself for the good of the community. I cry every time I watch it.
Those of us who love WALL-E love him because of all those things. We love him because a small and insignificant as he seems, he makes a difference to each person (or robot) he meets. He views the world with wonder and it is contagious. Unknowingly, unintentionally, amazingly he moves through the community making it just a little bit better as he goes. Eventually the differences he has made expands outward encompassing the wider community. With nothing more than hope and an open heart, WALL-E changes the world. Honestly, what’s not to love?