Saturday, November 22, 2008

Movie Review: Wall-E

Rating: G

Degree to which what sins there are in the movie (as defined biblically) are condemned (0 = sin is always winked at, 10 = sin is always condemned): 7

Degree to which the story has redemptive value (0 = no one saves anyone, 10 = practically the story of Christ's redemption of His people): 5

Artistry of movie (0 = completely inartistic, 10 = stunning work of art): 5

Originality (0 = copies everything from somewhere else, 10 = unique): 3

Synopsis: The people of Earth have been so neglectful of their environment that it can no longer sustain photosynthesis, and therefore life. A single robot (named Wall-E) roams the Earth, and it is his sole business to sort through trash and organize it into square bundles. The movie opens with views of whole skyscrapers built of these small squares of trash. We see him going about his daily business, when he is interrupted by a spaceship landing, and another robot getting out and starting to investigate Earth. Wall-E is immediately "smitten" by the supposedly female robot, who he finds out is named Eva. Just before Eva arrives, Wall-E finds one little plant growing, which he immediately transplants into his little hoard of treasures. When Wall-E shows the plant to Eva, she immediately goes unconscious and has a little green plant sign on her that is pulsating. She also, incidentally, pockets the plant. Wall-E starts doing romantic things for the unconscious Eva, imagining that she's actually responding to him, and in general making a fool of himself. Eventually, the spaceship returns and takes Eva with it, but not before Wall-E manages to hook himself onto the exterior of the spaceship. The spaceship takes off, and Wall-E somehow manages to survive atmospheric exit. The spaceship docks with a gigantic spaceship on which we find out the rest of the human race dwells. The rest of the story shows how Wall-E and Eva interact with each other and the humans.

Critical Review: I'm someone who believes we should be caring for animals and the environment, but why? Because man, however fallen he may be, is still the crown of creation. We are stewards of God's creation. Moreover, there are other moral principles that are, to my mind, far more important than saving the environment. For example, it is more important for men to be free to worship God than it is to take care of the environment. It is more important to save baby humans not yet born than to save the whales.

For these reasons, the movie came across as exceptionally "preachy" - in the bad sense of the word. Hollywood came across as the typical we-are-environmentalists-and-the-worst-crime-you-can-commit-is-to-degrade-the-environment-in-any-way.

There were too many references to past movies and themes. 2001, A Space Odyssey, came to mind, with the battle between the ship's captain and the auto-pilot (who even looked like the computer in 2001). There were distinct themes of Brave New World.

There were a few genuinely funny moments - I enjoyed in particular the scene where Wall-E is showing Eva his treasure collection and hands her a unsolved Rubic's Cube. The camera excludes her for a second or two, and then re-includes her holding a solved Rubic's Cube. Very geeky, that.

I didn't appreciate the typical feminist gender reversal in this movie. Wall-E is supposedly masculine, and Eva supposedly feminine. But Eva has all the firepower, does all the dragon-slaying, and has the take-charge attitude, whereas Wall-E is the lovable, caring, nurturing sort.

Overall: a mediocre movie. It might be worth watching, but it's not nearly as good as The Incredibles.

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