This article is about the 2008 film. For the video game based on it, see WALL-E (video game). For the film's soundtrack, see WALL-E (soundtrack).
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andrew Stanton|
|Produced by||Jim Morris|
|Screenplay by||Andrew Stanton
|Story by||Andrew Stanton
|Music by||Thomas Newman|
|Edited by||Stephen Schaffer|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$521.3 million|
After directing Finding Nemo, Stanton felt Pixar had created believable simulations of underwater physics and was willing to direct a film set largely in space. WALL-E has minimal dialogue in its early sequences; many of the characters do not have voices, but instead communicate with body language and robotic sounds, which were designed by Ben Burtt. It is also Pixar's first animated feature with segments featuring live-action characters.
WALL-E was released in the United States and Canada on June 27, 2008. It grossed $23.2 million on its opening day, and $63.1 million during its opening weekend in 3,992 theaters, ranking number one at the box office. This ranks as the fifth highest-grossing opening weekend for a Pixar film. Following Pixar tradition, WALL-E was paired with a short film, Presto, for its theatrical release.
WALL-E was met with critical acclaim, scoring an approval rating of 96% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed $521.3 million worldwide, won the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, the final Nebula Award for Best Script, the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film, and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as being nominated for five other Academy Awards at the 81st Academy Awards. WALL-E ranks first in TIME 's "Best Movies of the Decade". The film is seen as a critique on larger societal issues. It addresses consumerism, corporatism, nostalgia, environmental problems, waste management, human impact on the environment, and risks to human civilization and the planet Earth.
PlotIn 2805, Earth is covered in heaps of garbage due to decades of mass consumerism facilitated by the megacorporation Buy 'n' Large ("BnL"). In 2105, BnL evacuated Earth's population in fully automated starliners, leaving behind WALL-E trash compactor robots to clean the planet. Eventually BnL abandons its plan and shuts down the WALL-E robots, except for one which develops sentience after 700 years of life-experience. He manages to remain active by repairing himself using parts from other units.
One day, WALL-E discovers a growing seedling. Later, a spaceship lands and deploys EVE, an advanced robot probe sent from the BnL starliner Axiom to search for vegetation on Earth. WALL-E falls in love with the initially cold and hostile EVE, who gradually softens and befriends him. When WALL-E brings EVE to his home and shows her his collection, she sees the plant, automatically stores it inside herself, and goes into standby mode waiting for her ship to retrieve her. WALL-E, not understanding why EVE seems to have shut down, tries numerous methods to reactivate her. When EVE's automated ship returns and collects EVE, WALL-E clings to its hull and thus travels through space to the Axiom, which is hidden behind a nebula.
On the Axiom, the descendants of the ship's original passengers have become morbidly obese after centuries of microgravity effects and relying on the ship's automated systems for their every need. The ship's current captain, McCrea, leaves most of the ship's operations under the control of its robotic autopilot, Auto.
WALL-E follows EVE to the bridge of the Axiom, where the Captain learns that by putting the plant in the ship's holo-detector to verify Earth's habitability, the Axiom will make a hyperjump back to Earth so the passengers can recolonize it. However, Auto orders McCrea's robotic assistant GO-4 to steal the plant as part of his own no return directive "A113", which was issued to all BnL autopilots after the corporation concluded in 2110 that the planet could not be saved.
With the plant missing, EVE is considered defective and taken to the repair ward along with WALL-E (for cleaning). WALL-E mistakes the process on EVE for torture and tries to save her, accidentally releasing a horde of malfunctioning robots that had been quarantined. The on-board security systems then designate both WALL-E and EVE as "rogue robots". Fed up with WALL-E's disruptions, EVE takes him to the escape pod bay to send him home, but they witness GO-4 dispose of the missing plant by placing it inside a pod which is set to self-destruct. WALL-E enters the pod to retrieve the plant, but GO-4 jettisons the pod into space. WALL-E escapes with the plant before the pod explodes, using a fire extinguisher to propel himself back toward the Axiom, where he and EVE reconcile and celebrate with a dance in space.
When the plant is brought to the captain, EVE's recordings of Earth are analyzed and the captain concludes that mankind must return to restore their planet. However, Auto reveals his directive and stages a mutiny. When WALL-E tries to protect the plant, Auto electrocutes him, severely damaging him. EVE realizes the only parts for repairing WALL-E are in his truck back on Earth. She helps him bring the plant to the holo-detector to activate the ship's hyperjump. McCrea opens the holo-detector and fights Auto for control of the ship. Auto partially crushes WALL-E by closing the holo-detector on him, but McCrea finally disables him. EVE places the plant in the holo-detector, freeing WALL-E and instantly setting the Axiom to hyperjump to Earth.
EVE rushes WALL-E back to his home where she repairs and reactivates him, but he no longer recognizes her, having reverted to his original programming as an emotionless waste compactor, and he begins crushing the artifacts he had collected in his truck. Heartbroken, EVE follows WALL-E outside, stops him and gives him a farewell kiss, which jolts his memory and restores his personality. WALL-E and EVE happily reunite as the humans and robots of the Axiom begin to restore Earth and its environment.
Cast and characters
- Ben Burtt produced the voice of WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth-class), the title character.
WALL-E, a robot who has developed sentience, is the only robot of his
kind shown to be still functioning on Earth. He is a small mobile
compactor box with all-terrain treads, three-fingered shovel hands,
binocular eyes, and retractable solar cells for power. He collects spare
parts for himself, which becomes pivotal to the plot, and replaces
broken and/or worn out parts on-the-fly by cannibalizing
other defunct WALL-Es. Although working diligently to fulfill his
directive to clean up the garbage (all the while accompanied by his
cockroach friend Hal and music playing from his on-board recorder) he is
distracted by his curiosity, collecting trinkets of interest. He stores
and displays these "treasures" such as a birdcage full of rubber ducks, a Rubik's Cube, Zippo lighters, disposable cups filled with plastic cutlery and a golden trophy at his home where he examines and categorizes his finds while watching video cassettes of musicals via an iPod viewed through a large Fresnel lens.
- Burtt is also credited for the voice of M-O (Microbe Obliterator), as well as most of the other robots. M-O is a tiny, obsessively clean maintenance robot with rollers for hands who keeps Axiom clean.
- Elissa Knight as EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), a sleek robot probe whose directive is to locate vegetation on Earth and verify habitability. She has a glossy white egg-shaped body and blue LED eyes. She moves using antigravity technology and is equipped with scanners, specimen storage and a plasma cannon in her arm, which she is quick to use.
- Jeff Garlin as Captain B. McCrea, the commander, and apparently only officer, on the Axiom. His duties as captain are daily routines, with the ship's autopilot handling all true command functions.
- Fred Willard as Shelby Forthright, historical CEO of the Buy n Large Corporation, shown only in videos recorded around the time of the Axiom 's initial launch. Constantly optimistic, Forthright proposed the evacuation plans, then to clean up and recolonize the planet. However, the corporation gave up after realizing how toxic Earth had become. Forthright is the only live action character with a speaking role, the first in any Pixar film.
- MacInTalk, the text-to-speech program for the Apple Macintosh, was used for the voice of Auto, the rogue autopilot artificial intelligence built into the ship. Unlike other robots in the film, Auto is not influenced by WALL-E, instead following directive A113, which is to prevent the Axiom and the humans from returning to Earth because of the toxicity, and he works to prevent anyone from deviating from it.
- John Ratzenberger and Kathy Najimy as John and Mary, respectively. John and Mary both live on the Axiom and are so dependent on their personal video screens and automatic services that they are oblivious to their surroundings, for instance not noticing that the ship features a giant swimming pool. However, they are brought out of their trances after separate encounters with WALL-E, eventually meeting face-to-face for the first time.
- Sigourney Weaver as the voice of the Axiom 's computer. Stanton joked about the role with Weaver, saying, "You realize you get to be 'Mother' now?" referring to the name of the ship's computer in the film Alien, which also starred Weaver.
WritingAndrew Stanton conceived WALL-E during a lunch with fellow writers John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft in 1994. Toy Story was nearing completion and the writers brainstormed ideas for their next projects – A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo – at this lunch. Stanton asked, "What if mankind had to leave Earth and somebody forgot to turn off the last robot?" Having struggled for many years with making the characters in Toy Story appealing, Stanton found his simple Robinson Crusoe-esque idea of a lonely robot on a deserted planet strong. Stanton made WALL-E a waste collector as the idea was instantly understandable, and because it was a low-status menial job that made him sympathetic. Stanton also liked the imagery of stacked cubes of garbage. He did not find the idea dark because having a planet covered in garbage was for him a childish imagining of disaster.
Stanton and Pete Docter developed the film under the title of Trash Planet for two months in 1995, but they did not know how to develop the story and Docter chose to direct Monsters, Inc. instead. Stanton came up with the idea of WALL-E finding a plant, because his life as the sole inhabitant on a deserted world reminded Stanton of a plant growing among pavements. Before they turned their attention to other projects, Stanton and Lasseter thought about having WALL-E fall in love, as it was the necessary progression away from loneliness. Stanton started writing WALL-E again in 2002 while completing Finding Nemo. Stanton formatted his script in a manner reminiscent of Dan O'Bannon's Alien. O'Bannon wrote his script in a manner Stanton found reminded him of haiku, where visual descriptions were done in continuous lines of a few words. Stanton wrote his robot dialogue conventionally, but placed them in brackets. In late 2003, Stanton and a few others created a story reel of the first twenty minutes of the film. Lasseter and Steve Jobs were impressed and officially began development, though Jobs stated he did not like the title, originally spelled "W.A.L.-E."
While the first act of WALL-E "fell out of the sky" for Stanton, he had originally wanted aliens to plant EVE to explore Earth and the rest of the film was different. When WALL-E comes to the Axiom, he incites a Spartacus-style rebellion by the robots against the remnants of the human race, which were cruel alien Gels (completely devolved, gelatinous, boneless, legless, see-through, green creatures that resemble Jell-O). James Hicks, a physiologist, mentioned to Stanton the concept of atrophy and the effects prolonged weightlessness would have on humans living in space for an inordinately extended time period. Therefore, this was the inspiration of the humans degenerating into the alien Gels, and their ancestry would have been revealed in a Planet of the Apes-style ending. The Gels also spoke a made-up gibberish language, but Stanton scrapped this idea because he thought it would be too complicated for the audience to understand and they could easily be driven off from the storyline. The Gels had a royal family, who host a dance in a castle on a lake in the back of the ship, and the Axiom curled up into a ball when returning to Earth in this incarnation of the story. Stanton decided this was too bizarre and unengaging, and conceived humanity as "big babies". Stanton developed the metaphorical theme of the humans learning to stand again and "grow[ing] up", wanting WALL-E and EVE's relationship to inspire humanity because he felt few films explore how utopian societies come to exist. The process of depicting the descendants of humanity as the way they appear in the movie was slow. Stanton first decided to put a nose and ears on the Gels so the audience could recognize them. Eventually, fingers, legs, clothes, and other characteristics were added until they arrived at the concept of being fetus-like to allow the audience to see themselves in the characters.
In a later version of the film, Auto comes to the docking bay to retrieve EVE's plant. The film would have its first cutaway to the captain, but Stanton moved that as he found it too early to begin moving away from WALL-E's point-of-view. As an homage to Get Smart, Auto takes the plant and goes into the bowels of the ship into a room resembling a brain where he watches videos of Buy n Large's scheme to clean up the Earth falling apart through the years. Stanton removed this to keep some mystery as to why the plant is taken from EVE. The captain appears to be unintelligent, but Stanton wanted him to just be unchallenged; otherwise he would have been unempathetic. One example of how unintelligent the captain was depicted initially is that he was seen to wear his hat upside-down, only to fix it before he challenges Auto. In the finished film, he merely wears it casually atop his head, tightening it when he assumes real command of the Axiom.
Originally, EVE would have been electrocuted by Auto, and then be quickly saved from ejection at the hands of the WALL-A robots by WALL-E. He would have then revived her by replacing her power unit with a cigarette lighter he brought from Earth. Stanton reversed this following a 2007 test screening, as he wanted to show EVE replacing her directive of bringing the plant to the captain with repairing WALL-E, and it made WALL-E even more heroic if he held the holo-detector open despite being badly hurt. Stanton also moved the moment where WALL-E reveals his plant (which he had snatched from the self-destructing escape pod) from producing it from a closet to immediately after his escape, as it made EVE happier and gave them stronger motivation to dance around the ship. Stanton felt half the audience at the screening believed the humans would be unable to cope with living on Earth and would have died out after the film's end. Jim Capobianco, director of the short film Your Friend the Rat, created an end credits animation that continued the story – and stylized in different artistic movements throughout history – to clarify an optimistic tone.
DesignWALL-E was the most complex Pixar production since Monsters, Inc. because of the world and the history that had to be conveyed. Whereas most Pixar films have up to 75,000 storyboards, WALL-E required 125,000. Production designer Ralph Eggleston wanted the lighting of the first act on Earth to be romantic, and that of the second act on the Axiom to be cold and sterile. During the third act, the romantic lighting is slowly introduced into the Axiom environment. Pixar studied Chernobyl and the city of Sofia to create the ruined world; art director Anthony Christov was from Bulgaria and recalled Sofia used to have problems storing its garbage. Eggleston bleached out the whites on Earth to make WALL-E feel vulnerable. The overexposed light makes the location look more vast. Because of the haziness, the cubes making up the towers of garbage had to be large, otherwise they would have lost shape (in turn, this helped save rendering time). The dull tans of Earth subtly become soft pinks and blues when EVE arrives. When WALL-E shows EVE all his collected items, all the lights he has collected light up to give an inviting atmosphere, like a Christmas tree. Eggleston tried to avoid the colors yellow and green so WALL-E – who was made yellow to emulate a tractor – would not blend into the deserted Earth, and to make the plant more prominent.
Stanton wanted the Axiom 's interior to resemble Shanghai and Dubai. Eggleston studied 1960s NASA paintings and the original concept art for Tomorrowland for the Axiom, to reflect that era's sense of optimism. Stanton remarked "We are all probably very similar in our backgrounds here [at Pixar] in that we all miss the Tomorrowland that was promised us from the heyday of Disneyland," and wanted a "jet pack" feel. Pixar also studied the Disney Cruise Line and visited Las Vegas, which was helpful in understanding artificial lighting. Eggleston based his Axiom designs on the futuristic architecture of Santiago Calatrava. Eggleston divided the inside of the ship into three sections; the rear's economy class has a basic gray concrete texture with graphics keeping to the red, blue and white of the BnL logo. The coach class with living/shopping spaces has 'S' shapes as people are always looking for "what's around the corner". Stanton intended to have many colorful signs, but he realized this would overwhelm the audience and went with Eggleston's original idea of a small number of larger signs. The premier class is a large Zen-like spa with colors limited to turquoise, cream and tan, and leads on to the captain's warm carpeted and wooded quarters and the sleek dark bridge. In keeping with the artificial Axiom, camera movements were modeled after those of the steadicam.
The use of live action was a stepping stone for Pixar, as Stanton was planning to make John Carter of Mars his next project. Storyboarder Derek Thompson noted introducing live action meant they had to make the rest of the film look even more realistic. Eggleston added that if the historical humans had been animated and slightly caricaturized, then the audience would not have recognized how serious their devolution was. Stanton cast Fred Willard as the historical Buy n Large CEO because "He's the most friendly and insincere car salesman I could think of." The CEO says "stay the course," which Stanton used because he thought it was funny. Industrial Light & Magic did the visual effects for these shots.
AnimationWALL-E went undeveloped during the 1990s partly because Stanton and Pixar were not confident enough yet to have a feature length film with a main character that behaved like Luxo Jr. or R2-D2. Stanton explained there are two types of robots in cinema: "human[s] with metal skin", like the Tin Man, or "machine[s] with function" like Luxo and R2. He found the latter idea "powerful" because it allowed the audience to project personalities onto the characters, as they do with babies and pets: "You're compelled ... you almost can't stop yourself from finishing the sentence 'Oh, I think it likes me! I think it's hungry! I think it wants to go for a walk!'" He added, "We wanted the audience to believe they were witnessing a machine that has come to life." The animators visited recycling stations to study machinery, and also met robot designers, visited NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to study robots, watched a recording of a Mars rover, and borrowed a bomb detecting robot from the San Francisco Police Department. Simplicity was preferred in their performances as giving them too many movements would make them feel human.
Stanton wanted WALL-E to be a box and EVE to be like an egg. WALL-E's eyes were inspired by a pair of binoculars Stanton was given when watching the Oakland Athletics play against the Boston Red Sox. He "missed the entire inning" because he was distracted by them. The director was reminded of Buster Keaton and decided the robot would not need a nose or mouth. Stanton added a zoom lens to make WALL-E more sympathetic. Ralph Eggleston noted this feature gave the animators more to work with and gave the robot a childlike quality. Pixar's studies of trash compactors during their visits to recycling stations inspired his body. His tank treads were inspired by a wheelchair someone had developed that used treads instead of wheels. The animators wanted him to have elbows, but realized this was unrealistic because he is only designed to pull garbage into his body. His arms also looked flimsy when they did a test of him waving. Animation director Angus MacLane suggested they attach his arms to a track on the sides of his body to move them around, based on the inkjet printers his father designed. This arm design contributed to creating the character's posture, so if they wanted him to be nervous, they would lower them. Stanton was unaware of the similarities between WALL-E and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit until others pointed it out to him.
To animate their robots, the film's story crew and animation crew watched a Keaton and a Charlie Chaplin film every day for almost a year, and occasionally a Harold Lloyd picture. Afterwards, the filmmakers knew all emotions could be conveyed silently. Stanton cited Keaton's "great stone face" as giving them perseverance in animating a character with an unchanging expression. As he rewatched these, Stanton felt that filmmakers – since the advent of sound – relied on dialogue too much to convey exposition. The filmmakers dubbed the cockroach WALL-E keeps as a pet "Hal", in reference to silent film producer Hal Roach (as well as being an additional reference to HAL 9000). They also watched 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Black Stallion and Never Cry Wolf, films that had sound but were not reliant on dialogue. Stanton acknowledged Silent Running as an influence because its silent robots were a forerunner to the likes of R2-D2, and that the "hopeless romantic" Woody Allen also inspired WALL-E.
SoundProducer Jim Morris recommended Ben Burtt as sound designer for WALL-E because Stanton kept using R2-D2 as the benchmark for the robots. Burtt had completed Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and told his wife he would no longer work on films with robots, but found WALL-E and its substitution of voices with sound "fresh and exciting". He recorded 2500 sounds for the film, which was twice the average number for a Star Wars film, and a record in his career. Burtt began work in 2005, and experimented with filtering his voice for two years. Burtt described the robot voices as "like a toddler [...] universal language of intonation. 'Oh', 'Hm?', 'Huh!', you know?"
During production Burtt had the opportunity to look at the items used by Jimmy MacDonald, Disney's in-house sound designer for many of their classic films. Burtt used many of MacDonald's items on WALL-E. Because Burtt was not simply adding sound effects in post-production, the animators were always evaluating his new creations and ideas, which Burtt found an unusual experience. He worked in sync with the animators, returning their animation after adding the sounds to give them more ideas. Burtt would choose scientifically accurate sounds for each character, but if he could not find one that worked, he would choose a dramatic if unrealistic noise. Burtt would find hundreds of sounds by looking at concept art of characters, before he and Stanton pared it down to a distinct few for each robot.
Burtt saw a hand-cranked electrical generator while watching Island in the Sky, and bought an identical, unpacked device from 1950 on eBay to use for WALL-E moving around. Burtt also used an automobile self starter for when WALL-E goes fast, and the sound of cars being wrecked at a demolition derby provided for WALL-E's compressing trash in his body. The Macintosh computer chime was used to signify when WALL-E has fully recharged his battery. For EVE, Burtt wanted her humming to have a musical quality. Burtt was only able to provide neutral or masculine voices, so Pixar employee Elissa Knight was asked to provide her voice for Burtt to electronically modify. Stanton deemed the sound effect good enough to properly cast her in the role. Burtt recorded a flying 10-foot-long (3.0 m) radio-controlled jet plane for EVE's flying, and for her plasma cannon, Burtt hit a slinky hung from a ladder with a timpani stick. He described it as a "cousin" to the blaster noise from Star Wars.
MacInTalk was used because Stanton "wanted Auto to be the epitome of a robot, cold, zeros & ones, calculating, and soulless [and] Stephen Hawking's kind of voice I thought was perfect." Additional sounds for the character were meant to give him a clockwork feel, to show he is always thinking and calculating.
Burtt had visited Niagara Falls in 1987 and used his recordings from his trip for the sounds of wind. He ran around a hall with a canvas bag up to record the sandstorm though. For the scene where WALL-E runs from falling shopping carts, Burtt and his daughter went to a supermarket and placed a recorder in their cart. They crashed it around the parking lot and then let it tumble down a hill. To create Hal (WALL-E's pet cockroach)'s skittering, he recorded the clicking caused by taking apart and reassembling handcuffs.
See also: WALL-E (soundtrack)Thomas Newman recollaborated with Stanton on WALL-E since the two got along well on Nemo, which gave Newman the Annie Award for Best Music in an Animated Feature. He began writing the score in 2005, in the hope that starting this task early would make him more involved with the finished film. But, Newman remarked that animation is so dependent on scheduling he should have begun work earlier on when Stanton and Reardon were writing the script. EVE's theme was arranged for the first time in October 2007. Her theme when played as she first flies around Earth originally used more orchestral elements, and Newman was encouraged to make it sound more feminine. Newman said Stanton had thought up many ideas for how he wanted the music to sound, and he generally followed them as he found scoring a partially silent film difficult. Stanton wanted the whole score to be orchestral, but Newman felt limited by this idea especially in scenes aboard the Axiom, and used electronics too.
Newman travelled to London to compose the end credits song "Down to Earth" with Peter Gabriel, who was one of Stanton's favorite musicians. Afterwards, Newman rescored some of the film to include the song's composition, so it would not sound intrusive when played. Louis Armstrong's rendition of "La Vie en rose" was used for a montage where WALL-E does not get EVE's attention on Earth. The script also specified using Bing Crosby's "Stardust" for when the two robots dance around the Axiom, but Newman asked if he could score the scene himself. A similar switch occurred for the sequence in which WALL-E attempts to wake EVE up through various means; originally, the montage would play with the instrumental version of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", but Newman wanted to challenge himself and scored an original piece for the sequence.
ThemesThis movie is widely recognized as a critique on society. It brings up real issues that the world, and especially densely populated areas, are dealing with today and even more so in the future. Katherine Ellison asserts that “Americans produce nearly 400 million tons of solid waste per year but recycle less than a third of it, according to a recent Columbia University study.” Landfills are filling up so quickly that the UK may run out of landfill space by the year 2017.
Environment and wasteBecause WALL-E overtly critiques consumerism, it also critiques Disney's production values and aesthetic, without being too obvious. In the DVD commentary, Stanton said that he has been asked if it was his intention to make a movie about consumerism. His answer was it was not; it was a way to answer the question of how would the Earth get to the state where one robot would be left to continue the cleanup by itself.
In "WALL-E: from environmental adaption to sentimental nostalgia," Robin Murray and Joseph Heuman explain the important theme of nostalgia in this film. Nostalgia is clearly represented by human artifacts, left behind, that WALL-E collects and cherishes, i.e. Zippo lighters, hubcaps, and plastic sporks. These modern items that we use out of necessity, are made sentimental through the lens of the bleak future of Earth. Nostalgia is also expressed through the musical score, as the film opens with a camera shot of outer space that slowly zooms in to a waste filled Earth while playing "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," reflecting on simpler and happier times in human history. This film also expresses nostalgia through the longing of nature and the natural world, as it is the sight and feeling of soil, and the plant brought back to the space ship by EVE, that make the captain decide it is time for humans to move back to Earth. WALL-E expresses nostalgia also, by reflecting on romantic themes of older Disney and silent films.
Stanton describes the theme of the film as "irrational love defeats life's programming":
I realized the point I was trying to push with these two programmed robots was the desire for them to try and figure out what the point of living was ... It took these really irrational acts of love to sort of discover them against how they were built ... I realized that that's a perfect metaphor for real life. We all fall into our habits, our routines and our ruts, consciously or unconsciously to avoid living. To avoid having to do the messy part. To avoid having relationships with other people or dealing with the person next to us. That's why we can all get on our cell phones and not have to deal with one another. I thought, 'That's a perfect amplification of the whole point of the movie.' I wanted to run with science in a way that would sort of logically project that.
TechnologyStanton noted many commentators placed emphasis on the environmental aspect of humanity's complacency in the film, because "that disconnection is going to be the cause, indirectly, of anything that happens in life that's bad for humanity or the planet". Stanton said that by taking away effort to work, the robots also take away humanity's need to put effort into relationships. Christian journalist Rod Dreher saw technology as the complicated villain of the film. The humans' artificial lifestyle on the Axiom has separated them from nature, making them "slaves of both technology and their own base appetites, and have lost what makes them human". Dreher contrasted the hardworking, dirt covered WALL-E with the sleek clean robots on the ship. However, it is the humans and not the robots who make themselves redundant, and during the end credits humans and robots are shown working alongside each other to renew the Earth. "WALL-E is not a Luddite film," he said. "It doesn't demonize technology. It only argues that technology is properly used to help humans cultivate their true nature – that it must be subordinate to human flourishing, and help move that along."
ReligionStanton, who is a Christian, named EVE after the Biblical character because WALL-E's loneliness reminded him of Adam, before God created his wife. Dreher noted EVE's biblical namesake and saw her directive as an inversion of that story; EVE uses the plant to tell humanity to return to Earth and move away from the "false god" of BnL and the lazy lifestyle it offers. Dreher also noted this departure from classical Christian viewpoints, where Adam is cursed to labor, in that WALL-E argues hard work is what makes humans human. Dreher emphasized the false god parallels to BnL in a scene where a robot teaches infants "B is for Buy n Large, your very best friend", which he compared to modern corporations such as McDonald's creating brand loyalty in children. Megan Basham of World magazine felt the film criticizes the pursuit of leisure, whereas WALL-E in his stewardship learns to truly appreciate God's creation.
During writing, a Pixar employee noted to Jim Reardon that EVE was reminiscent of the dove with the olive branch from the story of Noah's Ark, and the story was reworked with EVE finding a plant to return humanity from its voyage. WALL-E himself has been compared to Prometheus, Sisyphus, and Butades: in an essay discussing WALL-E as representative of the artistic strive of Pixar itself, Hrag Vartanian compared WALL-E to Butades in a scene where the robot expresses his love for EVE by making a sculpture of her from spare parts. "The Ancient Greek tradition associates the birth of art with a Corinthian maiden who longing to preserve her lover’s shadow traces it on the wall before he departed for war. The myth reminds us that art was born out of longing and often means more for the creator than the muse. In the same way Stanton and his Pixar team have told us a deeply personal story about their love of cinema and their vision for animation through the prism of all types of relationships."