the grape nuts and grape nuts flakes program

So one of my favorite things about WALL-E is how, even though it takes place in a future where humans have screwed up the Earth big-time, and we’re living in this impersonal complacency dystopia and everything, all the human characters (or at least the ones we meet at the time of the narrative) are good people.

And like, in that vein, I love Captain McCrea’s arc—his sense of wonder at discovering the vast, complicated beauty of our Earth; his shift, when his romantic notions are shattered, not to despair but to heroism; the way he takes on the true meaning of what has been a cushy figurehead position, and becomes a real decision-maker and leader.

But another thing that always really catches my attention is the little scenes when WALL-E meets John and Mary.  WALL-E doesn’t look or act like the Axiom robots, so they both react to him with some confusion—but at the same time, they automatically return his politeness.  Just by the simple act of exchanging names, they accept WALL-E’s invitation to engage with him, and they begin to count him as a friend.  John and Mary don’t do anything big to impact the main conflict or anything.  But it means a lot that when their routines are interrupted by a strange robot, their first impulse isn’t to be annoyed or suspicious, but to be friendly and nice without a second thought.

And these positive qualities aren’t limited to the humans that have been directly touched by WALL-E’s eccentricity.  When the deck tilts in the climactic scene, everyone reaches out and tries to help each other.  Everyone cheers for the captain when he stands up to AUTO; everyone feels for WALL-E and EVE in their moment of tragedy.  And everyone seems excited and hopeful about the prospect of returning to Earth and starting something new.

I just really love the optimism in this movie.  I love how the story posits that being kind and caring and curious and brave really is the natural state of humanity, and it’s just that sometimes we need a little push to remind us of that.

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