WALL-E

WALL-E won both the 2009 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, and the last ever Nebula Award for Best Script (it’s now the Ray Bradbury Award). I watched it soon after it came out (on DVD, I think). In both cases it beat The Dark Knight, which actually got my first preference for the Hugo; the other Nebula contender was a TV episode, and the other Hugo contenders were Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Iron Man and an audio anthology, METAtropolis. WALL-E was comfortably ahead of the field at nominations stage, and blew away the opposition in the final ballot.

I must say that re-watching WALL-E, I am a bit ashamed that my cynical curmudgeonly heart did not incline me to go with the majority in 2009. Having said that, IMDB users put The Dark Knight ahead of it on both rankings of 2008 films, WALL-E ending up second on one list and 21st on the other (ahead of Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire in both cases), so my 2009 vote was aligned with today’s critical consensus.

It’s not a flawless film. To have a cute robot with droopy sad eyes, and its even cuter insect buddy, is of course hugely manipulative.

I also noticed that although the humans are somewhat diverse, only the white ones get to speak; and there is a lot of fat-shaming going on.

But the depiction of a devastated, polluted and abandoned Earth is tremendous. It’s an old sf trope, of course, and I was particularly reminded of Brian Aldiss’s “Who Can Replace a Man?

And the humour of WALL-E as fish out of water, trying to understand the ways of humanity and also trying to share his enthusiasms with his new friend once EVE appears, is very nicely done; especially as his hobby is humanity on Earth – and now we’re getting into the territory of another favourite story of mine, Roger Zelazny’s “For a Breath I Tarry”.

It’s also always good to show humans as we might appear to others, even if the others are cute anthropomorphic robots…

And yet, on reflection I think I have argued myself around to my first viewpoint, that this is a cute and sweet and funny film, with moments of greatness, but I think I stand by my 2009 vote.

I’m going to take the next two Oscar Winners before I get to the following year’s Hug and Bradbury films, which are respectively Moon and District 9.

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1 Response to WALL-E

  1. RF99 says:

    Moon, if you’ve not seen it yet, is one of my favourites.

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