WALL-E: Commentary on Theme Parks, Consumer Goods

1 Jul

Just because he’s not a fan of theme parks, don’t go thinking that Mr. Broke Hoedown doesn’t like Disney movies. In fact, a couple Disney/Pixar films make it into his list of all-time animated movies. And WALL-E just joined the crew. Here’s a snippet from his review:

WALL*E is tells a fine, simple (not obvious) story superbly. (I’m going to stay away from plot synopsis. Go see it. We’ll talk.) It is essentially a silent movie, a great and bold decision (and something it shares with Triplets). In addition to being a fine filet of consumer culture, W also includes an extended comment on the sterility of life in a controlled environment designed for nothing but amusement. That would be the bread and butter of Pixar’s life-partner Disney. Is this:

  1. a cynical comment by a company that makes its money from these parks; or
  2. a truly subversive effort to sway the people who make The Land of Mouse so profitable?

Not sure. But I do know it’s great.

I must say, it was an amusing moment to notice the brief “people mover” sign flashing above the sedentary, cupcake-in-a-cup drinking masses when we first see them spinning along on their lounges. Will I be able to get breakfast-in-a-cup next time I’m in Tomorrowland? Can I take it with me on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority?

WALL-E is a genius movie. The storytelling is superb, the animation beyond question, the main characters charming and appealing. Its cautionary tale is far from subtle, yet never wanders into the preachy. And as usual, the animated short which preceded the movie was itself a masterpiece of storytelling and technology.

After seeing the film, I’m no longer surprised that I didn’t see heaps and tons of WALL-E merchandise in the parks. At first I thought Disney had missed the boat…but now I imagine how hypocritical and ironic it would have seemed to have WALL-E plastered all over disposable, non-biodegradable consumer goods. Let’s see how long this lasts though; will the aisles at Target soon overflow with WALL-E action figures, juvenile bedding, t-shirts?

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