Pixar on ‘Wall-E’: Environmental Themes? What Environmental Themes?

Andrew Stanton and Wall-E. Photo: Getty Images; Courtesy of Pixar

Wall-E, Pixar's latest animated cash-cow-in-waiting, is two parts robot love story, one part cautionary Mother Earth tale. Well, unless you listen to director Andrew Stanton, who seems eager to position his movie in as neutered and apolitical a light as possible, lest GOP ticket-buyers think it's part of some secret, liberal Hollywood agenda. When asked about the environmental messages of a movie in which Earth is overrun with garbage and humans are space castaways who have atrophied into tubby, perpetually stationary blobs, yet have lost none of their voracious consumer appetites, Stanton … demurred. “Well, I hate to not be able to fuel where you want to go, but that was not where I was coming from when I did that stuff," he told us.

"I knew that I was going into territory that was basically the same stuff, but I don't have a political bent or ecological message to push. I don't mind that it supports that kind of view — it's certainly a good-citizen kind of way to be — but everything I wanted to do was based on the film's love story, the last robot on Earth, the sentence that we first came up with in 1994. I said, 'I have to get everybody off the planet, and do it in a way that audiences get it without any dialogue.' So trash did that. You look at it, you just get it. It's a dump, you've gotta move it — even a little kid understands that.”

Even little Lincoln Log Republican kids, it seems — which explains the all-things-to-all-viewers story being peddled, at least until those first weekend grosses come in. Then, just to reiterate his corporate-vetted message of inclusiveness, Stanton added: “The most I do is recycle — and sometimes I'm pretty bad at that, if you talk to my wife.” So there you have it, folks — Wall-E's makers can be trusted, since they disregard the environment just like you! —Brent Simon

Related: David Edelstein on Wall—E [NYM]