Tuesday, December 02, 2008

film review of Wall-E

Here is my latest film review, of Wall-E; mixing film, faith and U2′s Beautiful Day

WALL-E
A film review by Rev Dr Steve Taylor

“And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out
It was a beautiful day”

So sing Irish rock band, U2, in their hit single, Beautiful Day. It is a lyrical reference to the Noah story, in which, in Genesis 8, the dove returns with a olive leaf in her mouth.

So might sing WALL-E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class), the main character in the Pixar movie by the same name. However, WALL-E is a trash collecting robot. Despite being the main character in this 98 minute film, WALL-E type robots never talk, let alone sing.

This is part of the artistry of the movie. Robots communicate through body language and robotic sounds. So it is over 45 minutes before the first line of spoken dialogue occurs. Yet for all that time, my children, eight and eleven, sat spell bound, wowed by the skills of Pixar computer animation and the multiple layered narratives that hold the interest of both adult and child.

This is the ninth movie from the Pixar stable (which includes previously reviewed movies such as Ratatouille (December 2007). Once again, Pixar deserve all the critical acclaim that WALL-E has garnered. Director Andrew Stanton, take a bow.

WALL-E is a modern day interpretation of the Noah story. In Genesis 7 and 8, human action results in the earth made uninhabitable. Yet the return of a dove, with a olive leaf in her mouth, signals return and renewal.

This in essence is also the plot of WALL-E. In an imaginary future, humans have piled our planet high with junk. With the earth uninhabitable, the human race launch into outer space. Hence a commercial voiceover. “Too much garbage in your place? There is plenty of space out in space! BnL StarLiners leaving each day. We’ll clean up the mess while you’re away.”

While humans laze in outer space, slowly losing their ability to walk, probes regularly return to planet earth, checking for signs of life. Enter Eve (yes Eve!), a returning probe, who captivates WALL-E. Until, that is, she finds the first sign of earth’s renewal, and must return to outer space, the leaf from planet earth tucked in her gleaming white Applesque attire.

Driven by love, WALL-E follows her back to the space ship, unleashing a chain of events in which robots fall in love, while humans come face to face with the consequences of their past. Enter a beautiful day, and a more beautiful ending, in which humans return to earth, replanting the leaf from Eve’s mouth, willing to embark on a more sustainable lifestyle.

WALL-E is a sermon, and a better sermon you are not likely to hear. The earth is God’s good gift and should be treated as such. Humans actions have inevitable consequences. Yet, in repeated grace, humans are offered an olive branch. Best we learn from our mistakes, avoid being called a race of wally’s, rather than trust our planet to a determined robot, name of WALL-E.

514 words

Posted by steve at 10:14 PM

1 Comment

  1. Cool, Steve
    Here was my earlier attempt:
    http://www.liturgy.co.nz/blog/wall-e/140

    Comment by Bosco Peters — December 3, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

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