Blog Template Theology of the Body: WALL-E as a pro-life film

Saturday, June 28, 2008

WALL-E as a pro-life film

Warning: Some of what may follows includes what might be thought of as spoilers, though I don't think any of them are things that are not found in other reviews. Just consider yourself warned.

So my wife and I went to see Pixar's brilliant new film, WALL-E. Much has been made of the environmental themes found in the movie and the implicit critique of our consumer culture. Those themes, however, are the canvas upon which the larger love story between WALL-E and EVE is told -- and it is a wonderful love story that deals with themes of loneliness, loyalty, commitment, and healing.

And while I don't think it was necessarily the director's intent, I think there are some very interesting pro-life ideas in the movie as well. Part of the plot revolves around EVE's mission to find plant life on an Earth that has been denuded of life. WALL-E has found a little seedling, which is placed into EVE's 'womb', where it sits until the probe ship returns for EVE. In the meantime, WALL-E loyally watches over her in all kinds of weather and adverse circumstances; here I am reminded of the documentary March of the Penguins, with its themes of commitment and sacrifice in the effort to nurture life.

Once WALL-E and EVE are returned back to the human ship other robots attempt to kill the life that EVE has nurtured in her 'womb', with one robot attempting to send it into space and detonate it. Meanwhile WALL-E and EVE do everything in their power to preserve the little seedling which will bring humans back to Earth. Somehow it is these robots, who through their commitment to each other, realize that life is paramount and to be preserved at all costs. This is a decidedly pro-life message.

The other religious theme I found interesting is that of the human expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In this case, humans have to leave the world they have been blessed with due to their own selfishness. As a result, their very nature is corrupted in a way that makes them uncomfortably less than completely human -- they are incapable of standing on their own two feet. It is only through the hope of new life, a resurrection of life if you will, that the humans are restored to their previous world, though one that will now require multiple lifetimes of restorative work and a new learning of what it means to be truly human.

I haven't seen anyone else pick up these themes yet, but these are some of the messages that I think are there to be found. Great movie and I'd recommend it.