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I've seen WALL-E too many times.

Our sons have lately been watching two Pixar movies obsessively and repeatedly: Cars and WALL-E. And though my husband and I keep reminding each other *not* to analyze and nitpick the plots of these movies, which aren't really supposed to make huge amounts of sense, we keep finding ourselves doing it and making observations to one another anyway. We can't help it.

WALL-E in particular brings out the pointless musings in us--maybe because Cars makes no sense in its initial concept (cars are the only living things on Earth? And they're...living?), so you kind of forgive the rest of its oddities as minor points in comparison. But WALL-E seems like honest-to-gosh science fiction, so you try to take it seriously; but as such, it has big silly plot holes. Examples:

If humans have managed to keep themselves alive and well on a spaceship for 700 years, including somehow creating food out of who knows what, surely they have the technology to go back to Earth and clean it up?

What is the Axiom doing out there in space, anyway? They appear to be just floating around aimlessly. Aren't they at least conducting some astronomical research? Looking for another habitable planet? It would seem not, which is really odd.

Of all the robots, why did they give the vegetation probe (EVE) the most lethal firepower? Wouldn't the power-hungry robots on the Axiom find a way to program in some similar firepower for themselves?

If said power-hungry robots (Auto and his cronies) didn't want the captain ever to return to Earth, why did they let him see the plant and the "time to return to Earth" message in the first place? Why didn't they steal the plant off EVE the second she arrived, and incinerate it, and never tell him?

By the way, the first plant that grows again on a barren Earth, what's that really going to be? Kudzu? Dandelion? Knotweed? I suppose it's still potentially edible, but quite unlikely to be the tidy little bean sprout they illustrate.

Also there are a couple of common sci-fi errors. For example, there shouldn't be any sounds in space (like the fire extinguisher's whoosh when WALL-E is using it to jet around). And the Axiom's gravity field would surely orient gravity toward the floor of the ship, no matter which way the ship was pointing, so spinning the steering wheel shouldn't make all the passengers go sliding to one end of the room as if they were on a boat in the ocean.

But, honestly, despite all those points, I think it's a delightful, clever movie. We still grin and giggle at certain lines and scenes. (The first time through, I couldn't stop laughing at WALL-E getting attacked by shopping carts.) The animation and artwork is astonishingly cool, the sound effects fun and creative. (I heard in a radio interview that for MO, the frenetic clean-up robot, they recorded the buzz of an electric razor.) I sympathize fully with EVE's fiery temper, as it's quite a lot like mine. (As my family acknowledges. Good thing no one equipped me with a laser arm.)

And I may never want to eat a Twinkie again after watching that cockroach burrow into it twenty or thirty times now. So that's probably just as well, as far as my health is concerned.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
naill_renfro
Jun. 11th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
Silly Molly. Everyone knows explosions are louder in space because there's no air to get in the way.

We've also watched Cars about six million times in the last six months, giving me time to reflect on the functioning of its ecosystem:

1. There are plants, but no animal life of any sort. Even the insects are tiny cars.

2. There's only one indication that animal life ever existed on Carsworld: The Dinoco logo, which bears the silhouette of an actual, apparently non-mechanical dinosaur. Does this mean Carsworld is our own world in the future, when we are as extinct as Dinoco's dinosaur and the mountains of Arizona have been resculpted to look like the Cadillac Ranch?

3. The sentient cars (and, presumably, other sentient creatures, like the helicopter) have a religion: "Thank the Manufacturer you're alive!" Either there is an actual Manufacturer somewhere that builds all these motor vehicles, or they reproduce in some quasi-biological form that I'd rather not think about but undoubtedly has been Rule-34ed by someone. The existence of romance suggests the latter.
mollyringle
Jun. 11th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
Hey, you and I could sit in a cafe and recite the entire movie to each other, swapping lines back and forth! (My favorite, at which I still grin, is "I fell in love." "Oh. Corvette?" Mainly because of Owen Wilson's grudging, depressed delivery. Or do I like Guido and Luigi best? Hmm. Anyway...)

And regarding cars falling in love: LOL at "Rule 34." I wasn't familiar with the term, and Googled it, and learned. Wow, it is so true. How did I get through all that slash fandom without hearing it till now? I'll be using it from now on, I'm sure. Not, like, for actual Cars fanfic (eeek), but in discussion.

(Least favorite line delivery, because it's so overdone and somehow squicky: "Is that what I think it is?" "I don't know, Flo. I haven't had a chance to find out. but I am going. To. Find. Out. Helllll-o.")

We only realized the possible implications of the dinosaur logo the other week--that it signified actual animal life--and it kind of shook our world. We had of course figured out long before that it was meant to symbolize fossil fuels. As to fuels, what are Frank and his herd of tractors harvesting? Grain for biofuel is all we could figure.

I had assumed the premise was a no-deep-thought-required fun idea for kids--"what if the world was all cars?"--but your remarks are making me wonder if it could also be sci-fi. Maybe human minds/souls have been injected into machines (mainly cars and other transportation devices, for ease of getting around) and this is the future! Now it almost does make sense, which is the weirdest thought yet.

I'll be answering your email soon too. Regards to the family!
naill_renfro
Oct. 9th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC)
Another clue to the mystery:

This morning I was watching Cars yet again, with my son and youngest daughter, when my daughter pointed out something I'd never noticed before:

"Why does Radiator Springs have sidewalks?"

Mind-boggling, isn't it? Either the transfer of everyone's consciousness into sentient cars (perhaps because theor world, like WALL-E's, had become uninhabitable) was a fairly recent historical event (less likely, I think) or roads continue to be built with sidewalks out of respect for tradition or for religious reasons. The cars themselves may no longer remember why - only that it's always been done this way.

Also, another hint of a biological life-form: When Mater makes chicken sounds at Lightning, the latter insists that he's not chicken. Are there (or were there in recent memory) actual chickens, or little chicken-cars, or is this just another word whose origin is lost in the mists of time?

Why yes, I have seen this movie too many times. Why do you ask?
mollyringle
Oct. 10th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Good clues! I never thought of the chicken-noise hint, nor the sidewalks, though I did notice the buildings in Radiator Springs seem better sized for humans than for cars. (Sort of. They're all basically garages...and what else do cars need buildings to be, really?)

Another mystery I noticed: "Respect the classics, man. It's Hendrix!" So did Jimi Hendrix, the human, exist at some point in car-world history? Or is this Hendrix a car? If so, how does a car play guitar?

What do you mean we need lives? How is this not an important use of our intelligence?
mollyringle
Nov. 28th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Two more notes for the always-open Cars thread:

1) The minivan that passes Mack near the beginning is carrying a mattress on top. Why?? Why would a car need a mattress??

2) Wow, how much did Cars 2 suck? I tell you, it made the first one look deep and well-thought-out.
naill_renfro
Sep. 14th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
My take on WALL-E (the movie) was that WALL-E (the character) is a catalyst. He's the first self-aware robot. All of the other self-aware robots, Auto included, become self-aware after their encounters with WALL-E. (Although those self-aware robots should be able to trigger self-awareness in others - a spreading plague of sentience. So perhaps it's Auto's exposure to EVE that does it.) Auto's early actions are dictated by his programming, and thus not always consistent with his self-interest; it's only after he becomes self-aware that he becomes capable of deliberate wrongdoing. After he gets the plant from, um, EVE... perhaps an apple tree?
mollyringle
Sep. 19th, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Hmm, this is true--he brings out the emotion and new motivations in all the other robots (turning many into "rogue robots" along the way). And in the humans, for that matter. Curiously, he might therefore be the character who changes the least in that movie from beginning to end--except in terms of location and activity.

An apple tree would be most appropriate. :)
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