Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #24

Re: WALL•E (2008)

Funny, how different Wall-E appears to the people who are its target. Fat people are not “symbols of ultimate decadence” — we’re real, live, human beings worthy of respect. For most of us, Wall-E functions at the same level as a minstrel show, or some vaudeville about “piccaninnies.” The most overwhelming factor in the film is its bigotry and hatred-inducing propaganda directed at a minority group. And, yet, how few reviewers even seem to notice how devastatingly we’re hated and slandered. Your “ethics” score was a +1; mine’s -10.

A friend who is a self-proclaimed fat person writes:

As a fat person, I am shocked to find out that a movie I found thoughtful, fun, entertaining, filled with heroic people who looked a bit like me was, in fact, a vicious attack on fatties like me. How did I miss that? Funny how the closest thing to a human villain is skinny, and no one is told they are ugly in the film, yet supposedly, there is a “fat people suck” message. In fact, fatness, in the context of the film just “is.” No actual judgment is ever past on body size. And the jokes have less to do with weight and more to do with inactivity. They don’t have trouble sitting up because they are fat. They have trouble sitting up because they don’t use their muscles much. You could do the same jokes with skinny people — but honestly, that would take away from the effect of “adult infants.” Babies are more often chubby. A skinny baby looks sickly to people.

The “target” of Wall-E is consumerism, sedentary behavior and screen addiction. Not fat people. In fact, there’s a science-fiction explanation for the physical condition of the humans in Wall-E: They’re shapeless blobs because of generations of bone loss in the low gravity of space.

The rhetoric of “hate” is overused in our society today, and certainly there’s no “hatred” in Wall-E for the humans on the Axiom. They are completely sympathetic, because they are all of us. They aren’t bad, they just need to be wakened from their somnolence and inspired to engage the world.

If you missed that — if you thought the baby-like humans in Wall-E were meant as a vicious, hurtful satire, that viewers were supposed to despise them — you missed the movie, friend.

Link to this entry

Coming Soon

Recently Added

In Theaters – Latest

In Theaters – All