Wall-E Madness

Since I originally wrote this, Rachel from the f-word pointed out that I should check my dates more carefully (which is why I am a blogger and not a journalist, ho hum) and the fantastic Red No.3 released another very well written exposition on her thoughts on Wall-E. I’ve linked this second article along side the first, and encourage you all to go read!

Now I luuurve my Pixar. I had an awesome time at every film of theirs I have seen so far. I haven’t seen Cars yet, but then the idea of…Cars didn’t really appeal to me, and the reviews were lacklustre. However Pixar’s new film Wall-E is something I have been looking forward to for a while. Perhaps not as avidly as I might the Hellboy2 showing, or The Hobbit, but pretty damn avidly.

I was somewhat dismayed by the smattering of FA blogs having a not so good reaction to the film. Firstly there are a number of mothers struggling with issues of censorship when it comes to showing these films to their children. I seriously do not envy them their dilemma, although I would say that in cases like Wall-E you talk with them about the film afterwards. What is bad about films at a young age is letting them digest the message of such films alone – no matter whether you approve of the message, getting them to think logically about the message is probably more important. However I am not yet a mother, so my opinion may not be considered enough. Unfortunately I can’t find the links to these particular entries, otherwise I would add them too.

The adorable Red No.3 lambasted it, and called it out for something called ‘Enlightened Fat Bigotry’. As this blogger is of course a great writer, they make a great and convincing case for their point, which is neatly summarised as thus:

Yeah, spare me the pity. Its not kind to a fat person to view their bodies as a horrible state for which you must pity and mourn. That’s not fat positive. That’s just an effort to justify your disgust with fat people without having to blame fat people for it. The core message is STILL that our bodies are disgusting and wrong, and that’s just not something I will accept.

UPDATE: Red No.3’s second article on Wall-E is well worth the read. You can find it here

The F-Word also had some negative things to say, and urged readers to write into Pixar about Wall-E , although the writer here is outraged because the feel the film makes the ‘fatness’ the reason for all the ills in the world, it makes fat people to blame, whereas Red No.3 sees fat people as the result. Personally i think the F-Word got it wrong with the intent of these films, and for the ‘negative’ view point of Wall-E I think Red No.3 makes a much better case. At least, that is my impression being a ‘setting on the fence and waiting to see the film’ type person. Rachel of the F-word was kinda enough to point out to me that the f-word post had been made while the film is still in development. My apologies to the f-word for the misrepresentation. However I feel that the following quote illustrates the worries of some of those blogging mother’s worries.

But WALL-E specifically singles out and targets obese people as the primary cause of mankind’s demise, further perpetuating the stereotype of the gluttonous, slothful fat person. Furthermore, the film suggests that, in their exaggerated laziness, obese people disregard not only personal health, but also that of the planets, and are held up as the cause for the destruction of the environmental landscape.

Men_in_full, on the other hand, takes a much more postive view of the film, although I don’t doubt that Red No.3 would still point out that the resulting Fatness is presented as Non-Desirable. However in the world of the humans, at this stage, being fat isn’t a cause for shame or comment – the results of being big are not laughed at by other humans, they are a necessary fact of existence. The ‘fat jokes’ are only there if the audience sees them, and not as something the inhabitants of Wall-Es world could or would react to. I really recommend reading this initial review by Men_in_full, as he takes the time to look beyond the ‘obvious’ and get further into the heart of the film. I certainly feel more comfortable about seeing it after reading this particular review.

A lot has been made of Mary’s “I didn’t know we had a pool” remark, as feeding into the “fat and lazy” stereotype. It’s not like that, though. Mary didn’t know they had a pool because she has been enveloped in a virtual world. (The pool itself comes to have deeper significance later in the film.) Later, when she and John discover the pleasures of the pool together, it’s not to exercise, but to play, to splash one another, to flirt. There’s no “Oh, look at the fatties at the pool” judgmentalism, because the film brings us into their world, into their orbit. And again, in their world, everyone is fat (and relatively immobile.) It’s just how they are.

Most other blogs are mere re-iterations or links to the 2 negative articles. I really don’t think the film is going to be as bad as painted, although I also don’t think it will be perfect – but since when were movies ever perfect? Pixar has always been about the story first, and the story is that humans have ended up in space in a sedentry, low gravity lifestyle, for many many hundreds of years. This is not body hate they have for their blobulous selves, it is body apathy. The story is about growing up, not about how being fat is bad and something to be guilty about.


~ by Pewter on July 2, 2008.

5 Responses to “Wall-E Madness”

  1. Keep in mind: My post was made in the fall during WALL-E’s developmental stages. Pixar considerably reworked the film since my post.

  2. Thank you for responding 🙂 I shall put in an edit to point that out, although this was mainly a response to the patter of posts I have seen in the last week or two on the issue, many of which I recall referencing the f-word.

    However, point duly noted.

  3. If they showed the people of the future as alcoholics, would this be making fun of alcoholics? Or blaming alcoholics? Or anti-alcoholics?

    The film illustrates an idea of what future generations could be like. I don’t believe an illustration such as this is necessarily a judgement (or making fun of, blaming, etc.). This storm in a teacup shows how little people actually are able to understand the point the film is making, and prefer to imagine/create their own point (and play the victim card).

    I think it’s a sad side-effect of films since the bleak McCarthy era, and how they turned away from substance and messages (art) for fear of being attacked with the usual right-wing paranoia this film is being targeted with. This is what happens when you try to re-introduce substance… howls of derision from the no-no brigade.

    Perhaps these “anti-fat” conspiracy theorists should look on the bright side. If all the people in the future are portrayed as fat, then this means the fatties have won… right?

  4. I think you kinda missed the points they, and I, were making Neil. This particular post is not about Wall-E being Anti-Fat per se, but about how one takes a perceived message and what you do with it.

  5. Maybe i just viewed the movie all wrong. But i had recently watched a documentary on electronic wastelands in china among other countries. It shows the destruction of societies im the surrounding areas and the health risks of the leaking chemicals and metals chemical reactions seeping into the main water source of the towns around. Instead of recycling the used computers etc.. . It is just building up causing health risks. I believe it was shown on sixty minutes. Anywho the ever growing world of technology and the health risks of the lack of exercise on humanity because of will be the destruction of civilization. The human race needs to find a new place to inhabit thus the space ship. The video of the president saying do not return to earth until life is restored to the earth. Or until the earth can regenerate or repopulate it self. Wall-e is created before the end of the earth to clean it up. Enter the cockroach and the twinkie lol. Clever additive. Are the only normal survivors and wall-e. Ok sum it up technology seems good like it makes life easier but this is the what if side of technology. Technology may not always be good. Living im a virtual world will fatten humanity make us helpless to where we depend on the age of computers to survive. Also the wastelands that really are out there will spill over everywhere and be the demise of civilization as we know it. If i had not seen the documentary i would not have analyzed it this same way. Check it out. The sixty minute documentary.

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