Some of the greatest movies in history all seem to have a deeper meaning for society, and caused great cultural debate. Patton was more than a biography, it was a treatment of the Vietnam War. 2001: A Space Odyssey predicted how computers would change our society. And Gone with the Wind symbolized the struggle of The Great Depression and was confiscated by Nazis because it gave hope to people under their rule. Today we can add Disney's Wall-E to the list of cultural lightning rods.
Don't take my word for it - according to Ben Crair in The New Republic, Wall-E has been labeled as "leftist propaganda" and a "90-minute lecture" about how corporations are ruining our society. Shannen Coffin in The National Review called Wall-E an animated version of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, and that Disney is making "mega-millions off telling us just how greedy, lazy, and destructive we all are."
In case you haven't seen the movie, (SPOILER ALERT) the synopsis is that in the future, humans have left Earth because it filled up with trash, Wall-E is a robot charged with cleaning it up. He eventually finds that humans have been growing fat and lazy on a spaceship for 700 years. Ee helps them return to Earth and their humanity. It's a cute film and my family and I loved it.
And I love Wall-E because it reflect where our society has been going, and it challenges us to consider the choices we make next. In fact, this is what all great artwork does. Art is a product of our society, that at its best makes us realize something about ourselves. Through a slightly-skewed self-reflection, we may see what we don't like about ourselves, dangers that lie ahead, or that what we have habitually thought for years may be wrong.
Great art challenges us. It makes us think, and forces us to react. And it is not without some irony that we sit in big cushy chairs, with giant sodas in oversized cupholders, and Bluetooth headsets on our ears - and watch a movie about an eerily similar society that has lost its connection to what is real and human.